Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings insisted,“We’ve got to be a new America,” during a public radio show interview Monday in which he posited “xenophobia,” the fear of outsiders, would grip the nation unless citizens welcomed Syrian refugees and Central American illegal immigrants. Recently, Rawlings told MSNBC he was “more fearful” of white males committing mass shootings than Syrian refugees in the United States, despite threats from the Islamic State to infiltrate the Syrian refugee population.
Last month, security concerns after the deadly Paris terrorist attack prompted Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to pull out of the Syrian refugee program. Federal refugee resettlement contractor, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), defied that order and placed six Syrian refugees in the North Dallas suburb of Richardson, reuniting with refugee relatives.
Appearing on the Take Away, the Democratic Dallas mayor praised local “faith-based communities” and citizens assisting with the Syrian refugee resettlement program. Guest host Todd Zwillich said, this year, Dallas took in 1,400 refugees and Texas received more than 6,600. Rawlings insisted it was the “spirit of Dallas” to help these people, asserting that the “refugees themselves do not cause us harm.” He said: “There have been no terrorist attacks since 9/11 because of refugees.”
Rawlings later acknowledged terrorist attacks as a result of Syrian refugees could happen. “Anything can happen, and there’s no question someone could slip in and two years from now we could have this situation.” During the interview, Zwillich mentioned San Bernardino, the site of this month’s Islamic terrorist attack where 14 died, in passing.
The Dallas mayor said he was “focused on things that are more problematic” and are “right here in our backyard,” referencing May’s Garland terrorist attack by American born jihadists Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson, who opened fire outside of the Curtis Culwell Center where the Muhammad Art Exhibit took place. Garland law enforcement killed the shooters. The Islamic State claimed credit for the failed attack. Although Rawlings agreed that the Islamic State is “very evil,” and “we’ve got to do everything in our power to destroy them” he said not in a way to “embolden them.” He vaguely addressed “infighting we’re having” nationally as “problematic to that degree.”
Disjointedly, Rawlings segued: “…what’s happening in the streets of Chicago and other cities as well that there is a militancy out there and a diversification that’s going on and both of these things are colliding,” not specifying what he meant. He said the end objective is “destroying ISIS” and “making sure that our community – our us-ness – isn’t destroyed at the same time.”
The mayor reminisced Dallas’ 2014 brush with Ebola, the first case of the fatal disease brought into the U.S. by Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man Rawlings called “an immigrant.” At the time when Ebola terrified Texans, immigration expert Mark Krikorian told Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon in a Breitbart News Sunday interview on Sirius XM Patriot Radio that Duncan “should never have gotten a visa even if he didn’t have Ebola.” Krikorian said: “Even if you don’t know anything about terrorism, even if you don’t know anything about immigration enforcement, even if you don’t know anything about disease, or whatever, regular strict enforcement of immigration laws is one of the most important parts of protecting the country.” He added: “Good immigration control is one of those things we should do every day. And our political class just doesn’t like that idea.”
Rawlings only described Central American illegal immigrant minors as “immigrants,” highlighting “500 of them settled now just south of Dallas.” Breitbart Texas reported the federal taxpayer funds up to $12.9 million for 21-days of shelter in the latest wave of up to 1,400 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) aged 12-17 in neighboring Ellis and Rockwall counties. Another short-term facility will open in Somervell County, housing up to 300.
Said Rawlings: “We’ve got to be ever-vigilant, and we’ve got to make sure we work with Homeland Security and all the federal agencies, but we can’t be so xenophobic that we shut ourselves off to everything else.”
The mayor shared he recently visited a section of Dallas “where we have the most refugees and [members of] the immigrant population,” to light up “holiday trees,” something new to these youths. “I met a young girl from Burma, another girl from Vietnam, another girl from Syria and another girl from Central America right here in Dallas, Texas, and I was realizing [in] the 21st century, that is going to be the face of it, and we’ve got to be a new America as we approach these issues that we face. Believe in the historical foundations, but deal with it in a more contemporary way,” he said, calling this new America a “flatter world.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.