Babylon’s City Limits

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)
Copyright: Public Domain


The point of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel is not to explain the diversity as effect.  The cause was not that humans attempted to build a way to God or the ancient Mesopotamian deities.  The point is humans cannot seek out God and if they try chaos results. God, the uncaused cause, seeks out humanity, not vice versa.  Words matter and much of current philosophy involve the meaning of words. The current dustup over migrant children reflects a much larger problem in Western political philosophy and religion, especially Christianity.  All, including the laws affecting immigration, are being abused in this case. As usual the American political left is mostly to blame, but the right is not entirely righteous either.

Let me make two points.  First, make no mistake, this uproar is a leftist Democrat distraction meant to minimize the strong accomplishments of the Trump Administration’s past 16 months, especially the start of negotiations with North Korea and the enormous step back from the brink of war that represents.  Second, the following argument is drawn from Mr. Jared Walczak, an attorney and one of my former students at Grove City College. This is a case of the student being smarter than the professor, something not unusual at Grove City College.

Leftist Democrats claim Trump is lying about the separation of migrant children being mandated by law.  Under the 1997 consent decree in the Flores case, unaccompanied children can be held for a maximum of 20 days.  The Ninth Circuit Court later held this applies to children who come as part of a family unit. In cases where a determination of asylum can be made within 20 days the family either stays or goes home.  If the adult files an asylum claim it takes longer to resolve, therefore after 20 days the child goes into the care of Health and Human Services. No problem—or less of one if the child has relatives legally in the United States.  If not, the child goes to a temporary shelter while parents remain in a detention facility. Courts have rule children cannot be in the same facility as their parents or guardians.

Asylum is legally reserved for refugees.  Claimants must prove that going home poses serious threat of prosecution.  Usually this would issue from the government or a government indifferent to persecution or one unwilling or unable to provide protection.  Historically, asylum has not been for people whose suffering could be addressed by their own country either through political means or, if necessary, by revolutionary action.  For example, the US routinely accorded asylum to Cubans who made it to these shores based on the Castro’s regime record of imprisoning or shooting political opponents. The water muddy a bit when considering rogue states (North Korea and Iran) or failed states like Yemen and Somalia where chaos reigns. Central American states and Mexico, from whence the majority of the migrants are flowing, mired in poverty or beset by criminal elements are new to these exceptions.

Problem is that in December 2016 the Board of Immigration Appeals granted asylum to an El Salvadoran victim of domestic violence who alleged unique circumstances. That decision opened the door for thousands of migrants who, after being detained, claimed they were fleeing domestic violence and should be granted asylum. Such claims take longer to process. Current asylum seekers are, for the most part, trying to take advantage of a legal loophole.  Republicans want to change the law. Democrats, claiming a moral high ground based on the sanctity of the relationship between parents and children (and sensing a good political issue going into November’s election) do not want it changed.

A return to a more traditional view of asylum would reduce the number of asylum seekers.  Walczak recommends Congress make provisions for families to be housed together until cases are resolved.  This seems fair. He also contends such provisions are part of a package being prepared by Republican Representatives.  It is unlikely Democrats will support any bill that does not provide citizenship for millions of illegal aliens they see as potential Democratic voters.  Republicans who support reform legislation risk being dubbed “Nazis” by critics ignorant of history and insensitive to the “sanctity of familial relationships between parent and child.”

The Nazi argument is flawed.  Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden posted a photo of Auschwitz indicating selection involved separating children from parents. Selection involved separating males and male children able to work from older women unable to work, pregnant mothers, small children and infirm or elderly men.  Often mothers were allowed to remain with children as a matter of maintain order. The selected were then directed to showers and oblivion.

If Democrats are so focused on the notion that “Ripping a child from its mother’s arms is inhumane,” how is it any less “humane” to rip a child from its mother’s womb?  Their answer, “It’s her womb” doesn’t wash because it’s still a child. Their answer, “It’s a fetus and not yet a child” doesn’t wash either.  No fetus ever came out as anything other than a human being.  The cause of a child is two human beings acting to produce another. At the time of abortion, the child can feel pain as forceps rip them apart, or the head is crushed after emerging from the birth canal, or they are washed over by a solution turning flesh and bones into “tissue.”  The premeditated taking of innocent life is murder…in the first degree.  That’s what Nazis did.  Stating this is what the Democrats call “changing the argument.”  It is not. Rather it is the ultimate conclusion of their argument.

Cut the rhetorical crap.  Congress must do something radical to include securing the borders and passing workable emigration laws allowing for true asylum seekers to enter the country.  For good measure, put Christians in Syria, Iraq, and Iran at the head of the list.

This nation has been hurling headlong into Babylon for a long time.  It’s time to put that behind us because we can make America Great Again.

Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Dr. Earl H. Tilford, is a military historian and Fellow for the Middle East & Terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism.

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Used with the permission of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

The views and opinions expressed herein may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views of Grove City College.