There is a reason that I love and admire dogs which is summed up in the statement, “Dogs never bite the hand that feeds them.” That is a minimalist statement about the quality which dogs generally exhibit but suggests that they’re at the least smart enough not to kill the golden goose. I would say that dogs are the most loyal and dedicated creatures with whom I have spent my time. In fact, in terms of honesty they far exceed most of the people I’ve encountered over a lifetime.
Now our friends the French are happily notorious in their love of their canine companions. It’s unusual to be at a cafe in Paris and not see dogs of several breeds enjoying a bite to eat together with their companion people. And I can’t help but wonder if this is one of the reasons that ISIS carried out its destructive mission on Friday the 13th. You see, dogs are considered “unclean” animals in Islam (not radical Islam – just your plain, ordinary vanilla variety). A devout Muslim is required to wash his clothes three times should a dog lick them or himself if the same tragic fate befell his hand or face.
We currently see that, owing to the civil war in Syria, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees, most of whom are Muslim as one would expect, who have been displaced from their homes. That is tragic. And Europe and the western world is being called to step up to the plate and provide them refuge. Americans have demonstrated their generosity throughout our history and, on the surface, it would seem reasonable to expect us to accommodate some of these. In fact, President Obama has committed to at least ten thousand of them with talk of that number increasing to a quarter of a million.
As of this writing, there are thirty governors who have said flat out that they will not accept any of these refugees in their states. Why are these fiends so hard hearted? Or are they merely fulfilling the duties of their office for which they were elected by attempting to protect the citizens of their states?
It is clear that, despite the objections of these governors, that they have no supportable legal basis for their positions. The fact that federal law trumps laws that states pass is a long established principle. Certainly the governors must know that. But perhaps they’re relying on the fact that this administration has chosen to ignore this Constitutional principle more than three hundred times by declining to intervene and enforce the law when it comes to the subject of “sanctuary cities” which have been established in clear violation of the laws passed by Congress and signed by the president.
It is perhaps telling that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they first turned their attention to the responsibilities and duties of the legislative branch in Article 1. Only after they had delineated what they considered to be the most important function of government did they turn their attention to the executive branch in Article 2. And there are few duties that are enumerated in that Article but one of the most important is that, the president must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
It is clear what the rationale of the Founders was in the way in which they wrote the Constitution. They had just participated in a revolution which overthrew a king who could impose law at will. As a matter of personal and national self-interest, the Founders wanted the law to be made by people who represented the people and wanted to preclude any president from assuming the role that the king had previously held in dictating their affairs. That seems to be a lesson that our current president either never learned, has forgotten or has purposely chosen to ignore.
While Obama clearly has the authority to bring in an unlimited number of refugees under a 2005 law, if there is anything that will preclude him from doing so will not be the law but his analysis of the political implications of what is a tide of rising public sentiment and even some opposition in his own party. Those dissident voices come not from a hardness of heart or a lack of concern for the fate of these people but from what might be a well-founded concern that among those are affiliates of ISIS whose stated goal is to do harm to as many of us as possible.
If we have an obligation to accept refugees as we have in the past, it comes from a national sense of charity but there is no legality for us to do so. Below is a link which is the statement of the UN Human Rights Commission which delineates the responsibilities of its signatory members.
The document is lengthy but well worth reading as it contains some useful historical information as to the reasons it was written as it is.
But there is more to be said on this subject. And tomorrow is another day in which we shall continue coverage on this important topic.