We Must Crack Down on Refugees, Except for Refugees Who Are in the News

Donald Trump, immigration warrior, three weeks ago:

Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants….We need to stop giving legal immigrant visas to people bent on causing us harm….Specific policy proposals….Increase standards for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to crack down on abuses.

Donald Trump, Syrian refugee humanitarian, yesterday:

Do you have people from ISIS in that group? You know, there’s a lot of security risks with it. But, something has to be done. It’s an unbelievable humanitarian problem….I hate the concept of [admitting refugees to the US], but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to….It’s living in hell in Syria, there’s no question about it. They’re living in hell.

This is what makes Trump the perfect Republican: magical thinking doesn’t slow him down a bit. Tax cuts and budget surpluses? Sure. Free trade and higher tariffs? Why not. Tougher rules for refugees and humanitarian relief for Syrian asylum-seekers? You bet.

Obviously this appeals to a lot of people. Policy is for wonks and eggheads. Real Americans don’t worry about that kind of stuff. We want to be free to act like horrible people and to think of ourselves as charitable Good Samaritans. Tap into that, and you’ve got a powerful message. Let the hobgoblins of consistency get in the way, and you’re a loser.

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