In the current election cycle, Donald Trump is poised to become the Republican Party presidential nominee, as he is the only candidate who can realistically secure the number of delegates required to avoid a contested convention in July. Even with Senator Cruz’s victory in Utah, the momentum is still clearly on Trump’s side. With national polls putting Trump at over 40% of likely Republican voters, and with most having him ahead by double-digits, he is the indisputable leader of the Republican race. Now, with a majority of Republican voters saying that Trump should get the nomination even if he falls short of having enough delegates for a first-ballot victory, the prospect of him facing the Democratic nominee has become a foregone conclusion.
In light of Trump’s victories, anti-Trump politicians, protesters, and pundits have resorted to increasingly desperate tactics to attempt to arrest his success. In New York, an anti-Trump demonstration that expected thousands of people turned out to have only a few hundred, and some protesters even admitted that they were being paid to protest. On the same day, protesters in Arizona violently shut down highways in response to Trump’s rally there, while the week before, various left-wing advocacy groups took credit for Trump cancelling a rally in Chicago due to safety concerns. With no sense of irony, President Obama has blamed Trump for “vulgar and divisive” rhetoric, even though the President has a record of similarly divisive rhetoric himself. Trump’s Republican rivals have also blamed Trump for the protesters’ violence (even though Americans don’t agree), while Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate who praised Trump during his 2012 campaign, begged the party to stop Trump at all costs.
Self-appointed political experts of both the left and the right have also tried to dismiss and discredit Trump and have increasingly turned their ire on his supporters. Repeatedly, pundits have claimed that the voters would “come to their senses” and pick more “serious” candidates as the Republican field thinned. The same people who called Trump a clown have transitioned to calling his voters “mindless zombies.” These sneeringly condescending wise men tell us that Trump’s supporters are “low-information” and that they’ll fail to vote for him if he becomes the nominee. Other detractors have been less generous, calling Trump supporters racists, bigots, and the like.
Unfortunately, I found myself at the receiving end of this sort of vitriol after I was interviewed for the Vanderbilt Hustler’s article on the presidential election as a Trump supporter. Although I hadn’t really anticipated that I would be subjected to abuse on social media by anti-Trump detractors for my political views, I probably should have expected it, given the fact that some students want the University to suspend Professor Carol Swain for an article she wrote in the Tennessean. It is a common irony that the students who like to lecture others about tolerance and diversity are never the last to respond with bigotry when someone disagrees with them. If I had written the Hustler piece myself, it probably would have been written differently, but I don’t blame the Hustler staff for the intolerance of some in the Vanderbilt community.
I can’t speak for Mr. Trump, Professor Swain, or the millions of Americans who agree with Trump or others like him, but I can and will speak for myself. And so, to be perfectly clear, I refuse to apologize for what was published in the Hustler. I don’t believe that the truth requires any apology. I could make arguments for free speech, as other Vanderbilt students have done in response to the “tolerant” petitioners who tried to fire a professor for disagreeing with them. But those have become tired arguments, and my opinion would contribute little value there. Rather, I unequivocally stand by what was published and what I said because I said nothing wrong.
Many of my detractors of social media have accused me of supporting a temporary ban on Muslim aliens entering the United States, but I never actually expressed approval for the implementation of such a ban. I said that Trump’s positions are not as “crazy” as they might seem to be, and I also said it is “not unreasonable” to suggest a ban on Muslim immigration. In other words, the next President of the United States should entertain the idea of a temporary ban if such a policy serves the interests of U.S. national security and is within the bounds of law and morality. As a matter of law, that policy is already on the table. 8 U.S. Code Section 1182(f) states “whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate” (emphasis mine). Many constitutional scholars have said that Trump’s proposed restriction is or could be considered constitutional. A ruling in favor of a ban would not be unprecedented. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1972 case Kleindienst v. Mandel that the government could withhold a tourist visa from a Marxist professor who was planning to give lectures on his theories in the United States. The Court ruled that the attorney general’s refusal to allow Professor Mandel to get a visa was “facially legitimate” and “bona fide,” despite the application of the 1st Amendment.
I suspect, however, that Trump’s proposed ban is a political “first offer.” Trump himself has said that “when you negotiate, you want to go in from strength.” Don’t allow yourself to forget that Obama’s initial position on healthcare reform was “probably [going] ahead with a single-payer system.” Of course, as a result of negotiation and compromise, the final bill resulted in a system in between a single-payer system and the previous regulatory regime. Trump’s extreme position openings are also part of his strategy to dominate media coverage, and this strategy has been devilishly successful, with Trump garnering almost two billion dollars’ worth of free media coverage. He wrote in his autobiography, The Art of the Deal, that “the more sensational the better” in regards to getting media attention, and in a 2013 meeting with political consultants, he said that “I’m going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I’m going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that they will never take the lights off of me.” Trump has always had the media exactly where he wanted them.
Let’s go back and look at the policy reasons why one would consider a ban, and let me explain the other claims I made in the Hustler that drew controversy. On the issue of Muslim immigration into Europe, the populations in question include migrants who have been continuously coming into Europe for the past half-century, and the newer wave of refugees whose primary impetus for moving has been the destabilization of countries like Libya and Syria. My main point in the Hustler piece was that crime rates among people who immigrate (specifically, the migrants and refugees which happen to be Muslim) are higher than the native population. I mentioned Somali immigrants as an example, particularly for the country of Sweden, and I never alleged, as some of my detractors claimed, that Somalians were the only group or even the largest group of new immigrants into that country.
My detractors don’t want to hear this, but there have been numerous reports of horrendous crimes committed against European residents by Muslim immigrants. For example, police in the United Kingdom confirmed that Trump was right about no-go zones, Muslim neighborhoods in major European cities where police are no longer able to enforce the law. In the town of Rotherham, politicians from the Labour party tried to cover up the sexual exploitation of 1,400 young girls by “Asian” (read: Pakistani Muslim) men over a period of sixteen years. Media in Germany were reluctant to report on the more than 500 violent crimes that were committed by “Arab and North African men” on New Year’s Eve celebrations in several major cities. In Cologne, a so-called “sex mob” attacked crowds of women; “more than 100 women filed criminal complaints of sexual assault and robbery, including two accounts of rape.” The mayor of Cologne was later accused of focusing “on the victims rather than the perpetrators” after she suggested that women follow a “code of conduct” to prevent themselves from being victims of sexual assault. Officials in Russia detained a Muslim nanny after she set fire to the home of two children she was looking after; the older child died in the fire and the younger was decapitated, his severed head brandished in the streets. We ought to keep in mind, however, that these horrific incidents obviously don’t represent all Muslim immigrants, just like anecdotes of racially-motivated acts of police brutality don’t by themselves represent widespread racial motivations among police.
Some immigration proponents refer to studies which claim that increased immigration is correlated with lower crime. However, one reason it is misleading to focus on those studies is due to the fact that crime rates among second-generation immigrants tend to rise to match native crime rates. It is most certainly true that there are many incidences where first-generation immigrants have lower crime rates than native populations, particularly in the United States, but there is no reason to think that this generalization applies equally to all immigrant groups. To examine the link between immigration and crime, we have to look at the statistics on the particular groups of people now coming into Europe. If the general consensus among studies focusing on the United States is that immigrants as a whole are associated with lower crime, that association isn’t found in a variety of European countries experiencing relatively high amounts of immigration.
According to the Swedish government’s National Council for Crime Prevention, “persons born outside Sweden have higher levels of registered crime than persons born within the country.” Specifically, “it is two and a half times as likely for persons born abroad to be registered as crime suspects as it is for Swedish born persons with both parents born in Sweden.” More recent data found that the influx of Muslim immigrants in the past 40 years has led to an increase in violent crime by 300%, and a surge of rape by 1,472%. Immigrants in Sweden are also ten times as likely compared to native Swedes to be dependent on welfare, and the migrant crisis is predicted to cost the Swedish government over $70 billion (the equivalent of 14 years of the country’s defense spending). In light of the appalling statistics, Sweden’s foreign minister now says that the country is “facing collapse.”
Sweden is perhaps one of the countries most afflicted with the problem of unrestrained immigration, but the statistics from other countries reflect a similarly grim trend. In Denmark, the ten most frequent first names for convicted criminals were of Middle Eastern origin. In Germany last year, “over 20% of newly arrived [refugees] had committed a crime less than a year of their arrival,” bringing up the crime rate by 79%. While some media outlets choose to highlight stories of Syrian engineers and doctors, they’ve failed to see the forest for the trees: experts estimate that two-thirds of Syrian migrants “can barely read or write,” and most of them are poorly-skilled and generally unemployable. In France, it’s estimated that 70% of prison inmates are Muslim, even though Muslims only make up about 10% of the country’s population.
Note that, in pointing out the costs of Muslim immigration, I haven’t even addressed the national security risks caused by the Islamic State. Even ignoring the fact that one of the attackers in Paris posed as a Syrian refugee, and ignoring calls from people like Piers Morgan asking others to seriously consider Trump’s stances in the wake of the attack on Brussels, porous immigration policies have come at tremendous costs to the European people. Although there are some commentators (such as Bill Maher) who point out widespread radical views among Muslims, I will, at least for now, suspend any judgments on those risks, and leave that for future discussion. There are many other considerations that would influence support for a temporary ban, but they fall outside of the purview of the statements about immigrant crime that I had made in the Hustler.
This article is in no way an exhaustive set of reasons to support or be sympathetic to Trump’s proposal. It is not even meant to be a defense of freedom of speech on campus. Rather, all I have endeavored to do is to engage in a systematic representation of the facts more complete than what was in the Hustler article, so that an open-minded reader can see what I believe and make up his own mind.
I found it sad and pathetic that some Vanderbilt students, in shock that there was someone expressing a belief not their own, reflexively called me a bigot as they behaved like fools and bigots themselves. That they would call me ignorant while in turn being ignorant of the data on immigration, not wanting to be exposed to bad news. I find it incredible that I would be branded an Islamophobe when my views are based on a rational analysis of the facts. I don’t condone violence towards Muslim immigrants for the same reasons that I don’t tolerate violence from them. While I have faith that many of the immigrants crossing into Europe are genuinely good people seeking a safer and more prosperous future, that’s obviously not the case for all of them. I believe we can help those refugees victimized by war, and that we should consider implementing safe zones and otherwise engage diplomatically and militarily to bring about an end to the civil wars in the Middle East. But maintaining the same old crumbling policies on Muslim immigration is not a solution.
I believe that Western governments should follow republican principles of governance, and act in the interests of the people they represent. That means the people already living in a country should have the right to choose whom they invite to live in their land. I don’t think there’s anything hateful about nations wanting to preserve their safety, sovereignty, or way of life. I believe that if a majority of adherents of a major political party support a particular policy, then their view not be dismissed with reflexive epithets, as mine was by certain Vanderbilt students. Also, I believe that media should honestly report on the situations in their countries, even if the truth is difficult to hear. Finally, I believe that politicians should sincerely weigh the benefits of a policy to the costs that their country’s people will have to bear. Right now, the costs of unrestrained immigration are simply too high.