Gutierrez: GOP ‘Pretty Good At Fear,’ Refusing Refugees ‘Feeds Into’ ISIS’ Message

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) argued “Republicans are pretty good at fear” and refusing Syrian refugees “feeds into” ISIS’ message on Wednesday’s “MSNBC Live.”

Gutierrez said, “watching the horrific scene of murder, and mayhem, and terrorism as it struck in Paris, I understand why people would be fearful. It’s a normal, logical response. But I want to say to the American people, that the armed forces of the United States, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, people in our intelligence community, these are patriots. These are people who love America, love them, and are safeguarding their safety like never before. We are taking unprecedented measures to keep you safe. I just want to put that in perspective, so that people don’t think that we’re not taking the steps to keep them safe. We have tens of thousands of Americans that are out there doing it each and every day. Having said that, Jose, this terrorist that left Syria, that may have been part of the murderous acts of terrorism in Paris, didn’t come through a resettlement program, didn’t come through — didn’t leave a vetted place, somewhere where there are refugees, as the family that arrived in Chicago just yesterday. These people are vetted once, twice, three, four times. The kind of vetting to make sure. And you know, Jose, they’re saying no one can come. Really? After the vetting that we’re doing, after the kinds of enforcement and protections that we’re putting in place, you’re saying to me that a mom who has little daughters who are going to be put into slavery, that are being — not only that, they’re being starved to death, and bombed by the Assad regime, or put into slavery by ISIS, there’s no place in America for those children, for that mother, for those weak people that need a place of refuge? I think there is a place in America for them.”

He added, “Number one, there are about 2,000 Syrians that have resettled in the United States of America. About 2% of them are men. The rest are children, seniors, people that are in a very weak condition, that have come to our country, children and moms without husbands. So, let’s understand who we’re bringing, number one. … I think if the Republicans were saying, and the governors were saying, ‘Hey, Luis, Congress, can you explain to us what you’re doing to keep us safe, as these refugees come to the United States of America? Are we doing other things to make sure that the vetting system — that is to say that they’re being screened adequately?’ I think that’s a reasonable, rational response to what’s going on.”

Gutierrez continued, “But to shut our borders down. I just want to make sure that the American public understands, this has been in place for decades. They are screened once, twice. Our homeland security officials, do you really think, an American patriot that works for the government of the United States, that is going out, and whose first concern is keeping America safe, is going to let someone from this country? Look, there are no guarantees 100%. There just aren’t. But you want to know something? I think, last year you remember — and Republicans are pretty good at fear. Remember Ebola? Shut the borders down. Everybody felt in america when you turned the TV on, that you were going to be the next victim of Ebola. They’re good at bringing fear. We regret what we did during World War II, when we didn’t let the Jews in, and they died in the Holocaust. We regret the interment of the Japanese out of fear. Let us not have a regrettable situation like that again. Because you know what? It feeds into the ISIS. It says to ISIS, do the reel, a reel where you have governors and candidates for president, one American after another American saying there is no room for Muslims, we fear you, you are dangerous people, you are unacceptable in America, because you’re not Christian. That’s the wrong message to send to the world. And it’s a message that feeds, that feeds in to this terrible, terrible idea that America isn’t a loving, and caring country. We are.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett