The Explosion of Immigrants in the United States

Immigration has become a significant topic in the United States and Europe due to comments made by US presidential hopefuls about illegal immigrants and the flight of people from the Middle East due to turmoil in that region. Here is a review of some statistics from past decades and the recent unusual dramatic increase in immigrants while the general population has slowed down.

United States 1880-1930s

The population of the United States grew dramatically over a 50 year-period from 1880 to about 1924 (a period of mass migration, “MM”), at which time the US passed the Immigration Act capping the number of people from any country. From 1880 until 1930, the population of the country grew from 50 million to over 123 million. In each decade over that time, the population grew between 15% and 26%.

Immigrants accounted for a large percentage of the growth. Over that MM time period, foreign born-residents accounted for anywhere from 12% to 15% of the US population. Almost all of these immigrants came from Europe (over 83% in each decade) and a smaller portion from Latin America (from 1 to 6%) and Asia (1 to 2%). While the 1880s had immigrants principally from Germany, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Ireland, the following decades had immigrants principally from Italy, Russia and the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

Security: The 1880s and the 1900-1909 decade witnessed particularly large number of immigrants. In those decades, immigrants accounted for 20% of the growth in the country’s population (with natural growth accounting for 80%). However, with the outbreak of World War I and enactment of the Immigration Act, the number of immigrants was curtailed, with only 3% and 2% of the population growth stemming from immigrants in the 1910s and 1920s, respectively. Interestingly, while the war raged in Europe, the percentage of immigrants from Europe declined over this period by 4% while the percentage from Latin America grew by 4%.

One would imagine that the number of people trying to emigrate from Europe to the US would have increased during WWI, and the percentage of immigrants would have spiked above the historic 87% European figure. Instead, there was a drop-off. Were Americans concerned about the safety and security of the US? Was it fearful of importing a conflict to its shores? The severe drop-off in immigration and coinciding change of place of origin suggest that may be a factor. Another was the economy.

Economy: The decades of the 1910s and 1920s saw relatively weak average GDP per capita growth rates compared to prior decades: 1.28% and 1.27% for 1910s and 1920s, respectively. These anemic figures compared to prior decades of 1.65%, 2.04% and 2.13% in the 1880s, 1890s and 1900s, respectively. The subsequent stock market crash of 1929 and depression of the 1930s severely hurt the economy. This was probably the principle factor in the US population only growing at 7% compared to prior decades of 15% to 26% growth. Fewer jobs and a weaker economy led to fewer births and a stricter immigration policy set in place in 1924.

Decade Total Population Growth Immigrants % of Growth % Foreign-Born Americans
1880s 26% 20% 15%
1890s 21 8 14
1900s 21 20 15
1910s 15 3 13
1920s 16 2 12
1930s 7%
     
 
 
 

 

 United States 1960 – 2010

The 50 years from 1960 to 2010 saw an inversion of some of the immigration and population trends from the 1880-1930 period.

With the exception of the 1950s, every decade had a population growth that was less than from the MM period (10%-14% growth versus 15-26% in MM). Foreign-born people in the US became a rarity from the 1950s through the 1970s when they accounted for only 5-6% of the population (compared to 12-15% during the MM period).

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 removed the former quota system that capped immigration from each country.  As such the 1970s and 1980s started to see a dramatic change in the make-up of the US population. While very few immigrants came to the US in the 1960s, the 1970s and 1980s had 17% and 26% of the total population growth come from immigrants, respectively.  The 1965 Act also resulted in a dramatic change in the ethnic origins of new immigrants: they were no longer coming from Europe, but from Latin America and Asia.

Source of US Immigrants (from US Census Bureau)

Decade Europe Asia Latin America
1950s 75% 5% 9%
1960s 62 9 19
1970s 39 19 33
1980s 23 26 44

Economy: The economy in the 1960s and 1980s were the best in US history. The average per capita GDP grew 2.88% and 2.26% each year, on average, during the 1960s and 1980s, respectively. As such, the growth in the immigrant population and the changing origin of those people did not generate considerable debate or concern from Americans or politicians.

That situation changed dramatically in the 2000-2009 decade.

Security and Economy: The US population growth in the 2000-2009 decade was the slowest in American history, growing by only 6% (even lower than the 1930s). That decade witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001, stock market internet bubble collapse of 2000, and a large scale economic meltdown and financial crisis in 2008.

Decade Total Population Growth Immigrants % of Growth % Foreign-Born Americans
1950s 19% 5%
1960s 13 5
1970s 11 17% 6
1980s 10 26 8
1990s 13 37 11
2000s 6 41 13
     
 
   

Yet, against this backdrop, the foreign-born population in the United States in 2010 grew to 13% – the same percentage as existed during the peaceful growth mode of the mass migration.  This percentage is over twice the level that existed in the country just 30 years earlier, in 1980. Astonishingly, almost half of the growth in the US is now from immigrants – a rate not realized since the founding of the country hundreds of years ago.

Consider further, that most of the new immigrants are coming from Latin America that principally speaks a single language (Spanish) in comparison to immigration from Europe or Asia that brought a diverse number of languages. Such an enormous influx of a single language could create a bilingual country.

Conclusion

In the 50 years of the mass migration 1880-1930, the country took steps to curtail immigration as the economy slowed and from World War I. Today, the US has an aggressive immigration policy during a weak economy and has significant security concerns.

It is natural for a country that focuses on its quality-of-life and feels insecure about its safety and economy to see the population have fewer children and urge for curtailing immigration.

While the US economy improved from the 2008 financial meltdown to 2015, consumer sentiment remained weak, as many Americans remained unemployed and under-employed. In addition to the weak economy, Americans watched the collapse of the Middle East through videos of the horror on their smartphones. The fear of terror coming back to the US is real.

One could argue that America had the “benefit” of slowing GDP growth in the 1910s and 1920s which pushed the country to accept many fewer immigrants. By the time the depression of the 1930s hit, there was already a 1924 immigration law in place and the reality of a slowdown in accepting new “foreigners” for a couple of decades. However, in the US today, the number of foreigners are growing at an accelerated rate for the last few decades, just as the country experienced incredible turmoil.


When a person sees the plight of refugees in the Middle East, the human and moral reaction is to extend a hand. Indeed, President Obama decided to increase the quota of Syrian immigrants from that region to 10,000 in 2016. On top of humanitarian concerns, the Democratic president scored big with Hispanics (71% to 27% in the 2012 presidential election). These facts make Obama look very in favor of accelerating immigration.

However, it is unfair to paint all people who argue for a limit on refugees and immigrants at this time as xenophobic and racist. There is a natural ebb-and-flow to immigration, which often follows the status of the economy and perceived safety concerns. Considering the current double-impact of the economy and security, and the dramatic increase in immigration over the past three decades, a review of immigration policy would appear warranted.

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The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

On September 17, 2015, acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called out to Arabs who were fighting against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest place for Judaism, on Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar:

We bless you, we bless the Murabitin (those who carry out religious war for land declared to be Islamic), we bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah.  Allah willing, every martyr will reach paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.

The Al Aqsa is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours, and they have no right to defile them with their filthy feet.  We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

abbas video
Acting PA President Abbas called for Arabs to defend Jerusalem
September 17, 2015

These Arabs that Abbas was referring to, had brought stones to protest Jews visiting the Temple Mount and the ban on religious extremist who taunted and prevented Jews from visiting their holy sites.

The United Nations Response

The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued the following statement about the situation:

The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern regarding escalating tensions in Jerusalem, especially surrounding the Haram al-Sharif compound, including recent clashes in and around the site.

The members of the Security Council called for the exercise of restraint, refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric and upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif — in word and in practice.  The members of the Security Council called for full respect for international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as may be applicable in Jerusalem.

The members of the Security Council urged all sides to work cooperatively together to lower tensions and discourage violence at holy sites in Jerusalem.

The members of the Security Council appealed for the restoration of calm and called for full respect for the sanctity of the Haram al-Sharif, noting the importance of the special role of Jordan, as confirmed in the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, and encouraged increased coordination between Israel and Jordan’s Awqaf department.  The members of the Security Council underscored that Muslim worshippers at the Haram al-Sharif must be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocations.  The members of the Security Council further underscored that visitors and worshippers must demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area and for maintaining the historic status quo at the holy sites.  The members of the Security Council urged that the status quo of the Haram al-Sharif should be maintained and visitors should be without fear of violence or intimidation.

The members of the Security Council called for the immediate cessation of violence and for all appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, that provocative actions are avoided and that the situation returns to normality in a way which promotes the prospects for Middle East peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

The response is outrageous and emblematic of Israel’s treatment at the United Nations:

  1. “Haram al-Sharif”, not Temple Mount.  The UNSC claims that it cares about the sanctity of the “holy sites in Jerusalem”, but it does not even mention the name of the platform, built 2000 years ago to ease access to Jews at the Temple. The platform is the “Temple Mount”- not mentioned once – while the Muslim name for the location is mentioned four times.
  2. Ignoring Arab incitement and Israel’s calls for peace. As noted above, PA’s Abbas called for Arabs to fight for Al Aqsa, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for maintained the status quo of banning Jewish prayer on the Mount. Yet no specific UNSC rebuke of Abbas’s rhetoric was made in their call for calm, nor appreciation for Netanyahu’s call for calm.
  3. Special role of Jordan” mentioned, but what of the role of Israel? The 1994 Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan called for the Jordanian Waqf to be the trustee of the Temple Mount, but security remained with Israel.  Why did the UNSC deliberately omit that Israel is in control of the security of the site and was deploying troops to stop Muslim extremists from attacking visiting Jews?
  4. “Muslim worshippers”, but not Jews. In case any of the language was not clear, the UNSC is solely concerned with Muslims on the Temple Mount. The constant attack on Jewish visitors gets no mention at all, even after mentioning the Jordanian-Israel 1994 Peace Treaty which specifically states that “Each party (Jordan and Israel) will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.

The UNSC voice of concern for: only Muslims and not Jews; using the Islamic name for the holy site, not Jewish; and referring to Jordan’s role at the site and not Israel’s, was clearly and specifically meant as a rebuke and warning to Israel and Jews. The most powerful global body told Israel on the Jewish New Year: do not mess with this Islamic site. Judaism is foreign. Jews are intruders.

Jews may protest that: the Temple Mount is its holiest site; that international law and treaties state that Jews have complete access to the site; and that Israel controls security on the site. Those facts are irrelevant to the UNSC.

The inversion of history past and present; provocation and reaction; rights and absence of rights has always been rife at the United Nations when it comes to Israel.  These days, as the world watches extremist Islam rampage throughout the Middle East, the UN will seemingly further prioritize placating Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic extremists over the fundamental rights of Jews in Israel.

One can expect to see much more in the coming weeks when the UN circus comes to town.


Related First One Through articles:

The United Nations “Provocation”

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

On September 14, 2015, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby gave a daily press briefing in which he said: “The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount. We strongly condemn all acts of violence. It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount in word and in practice.”

The comment came after a clash between Arab rock throwers and Israeli police on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as Arabs sought to prevent Jews from visiting the site.

Kirby
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby

State Department Status Quo it Favors

The “status quo” that the State Department presumably sought to maintain was the ban on Jewish prayer on the entire 35 acre Temple Mount platform, the Jews’ holiest place on earth.  That ban was put in place by Muslims in the middle of the 16th century, and Israel has allowed the Islamic Waqf to maintain the ban, even after it captured the Old City from Jordan and reunified the city in 1967.

State Department Status Quo it Seeks to Change

Later in this same briefing, Kirby responded to a question as to whether the Oslo Agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians should be scrapped since no Palestinian state was on the horizon: “Secretary Kerry is committed to pursuing a two-state solution, and I think you’re going to see him continue to do that throughout his tenure here at the department. I don’t think anybody’s – certainly not here – willing to give up on that ultimate goal.”

Kerry is “committed” to changing current reality and creating an Arab-led sovereign state in the holy land for the first time in history.

What makes one status quo worth keeping while the other is not? Does the State Department only endorse a status quo which Muslims desire (banning Jews from the Temple Mount) even though it is clearly anti-Semitic? Is it less a matter of favoring Muslim demands over American integrity and principle, but rather a function of seeking the support of 57 Arab countries versus a single Jewish State?

A more proper – and consistent – response would have been that Israel and the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs will determine any changes to the status of Jerusalem and the holy sites as part of a final peace agreement. Those changes to the status quo will include matters of sovereignty and rights of access and prayer.


Related First One Through articles:

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The Battle for Jerusalem

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

temple mount protest
(Muslim and Israeli police confront each other at The Temple Mount,
September 13, 2015. Source: AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

On September 13, 2015, CNN reported on a confrontation between “Arab youths and Israeli police” in the Old City of Jerusalem using language that inverted the facts. The news discussed:

  • Palestinian protestors,” but of what? Jews visiting the Temple Mount which they had every legal and moral right to do? Perhaps they were protesting new Israeli laws meant to keep Muslim groups from attacking Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. The report made it appear that the “protestors” were just seeking a right to pray.
  • The “Al Aqsa Complex” that CNN mentioned gives an Islamic name to the entire 35 acre compound, even though the Al Aqsa Mosque is located on just the southern tip of the platform. This entire platform was built for the Second Jewish Temple and is therefore historically known as the Temple Mount. Using an Islamic name as the official name and only stating that “Jews… call it the Temple Mount” divorces history, reality and Jews from the site. It is more accurate to use the default name “The Temple Mount” to the entire location and state that ‘Muslims call it the Al Aqsa Complex”.
  • “…Is one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims” The mosque itself is the third holiest site, not the entire Temple Mount platform. The story does not clarify that Jews had no interest in visiting the mosque itself, but the other parts of the platform.
  • Stating that “the clashes ended when Muslim worshippers were allowed in the complex for prayers” makes the entire event seem like all the Arab protestors sought was a right to pray (which they had already completed doing), as oppose to stopping Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on their Jewish New Year. This was another inversion of the narrative.
  • CNN’s report that “Jordan, which is in charge of the complex” is incomplete. Jordan’s Islamic Waqf has religious oversight of the Temple Mount, but it is Israel that is in charge of security on the Mount. Article 9 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty clearly states that “Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.” That is why the Israeli police legally deployed personnel to prevent Arab rock-throwers from attacking visiting Jews on the Mount.

Overall, CNN failed to report that Israel was legally trying to protect Jews visiting the Temple Mount, their holiest spot on one of their holiest days of the year. Instead they painted a picture of Israeli police blocking Arab youths from praying at the Al Aqsa Complex, one of their holiest places.

DSC00357
Al Aqsa Mosque at the very southern tip of the Temple Mount Platform
(Source: First One Through)


Related First One Through articles:

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

“Extremist” or “Courageous”

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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The Touch of the Sound of the Shofar

This year I am fortunate to return to my childhood home for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In addition to the good food and the company of my family, parents, siblings and even a nephew with a new baby, I will get to hear my father blow shofar at shul, as he has done for many decades.

My memories of Rosh Hashanah extend beyond the dining room table and synagogue. As a child, my father and I would walk around the neighborhood after prayers visiting people who were too ill to attend services. I carried the shofar and my father took a machzor, as we visited people before running home to have lunch with the rest of the family. I recall elderly and sick individuals who were so happy to see my father, to recite the prayer of listening to the sound of the shofar, and to be able to appreciate the beautiful deep blasts from my father’s impeccable blows. For many of those elderly people, it would be the last shofar blasts that they would ever hear.

Decades later, with my own household and community, I have continued that tradition of blowing shofar for people who could not make it to synagogue. Of those many visits, two episodes stand out.

Quiet

A few months after moving with my family to our new community, I volunteered to blow shofar for homebound people. The rabbi gave me the name and address of a woman that I met some years earlier, but did not know that well. I had heard that she suffered from multiple sclerosis which became extremely complicated after she gave birth to her only daughter. She found it difficult to leave her house as she suffered from intense migraines.

I walked to her house after shul services concluded. I knocked on the front door and heard a voice yell from upstairs that I should come in. She was home alone as her husband and daughter prayed at a different synagogue that ended later than my shul. Upon entering the home I saw that the house was going through major renovations. She called for me to go upstairs, so I moved past the various building materials and climbed the steps to the bedroom.

The woman was fully dressed in everyday clothes, sitting upright in her bed under her covers. I had the sense that she had been in that same position for a very long time. On the covers was essentially everything one could imagine: books; newspapers; food; tissues; a dog…. The scene was not of a woman with a cold, but of someone who was homebound. When I wished her a happy new year and asked how she was doing, she replied that her migraines were incessant and not improving. She and her husband decided it was time to renovate the garage and convert it into a bedroom to make it easier for her. This young woman, who was not even 40, was creating a first floor suite not for parents or in-laws, but for herself.

I handed her the machzor and took the shofar in my hands. As I put the shofar to my lips it occurred to me that I was in an impossible situation: how was I going to blow the shofar standing right next to a woman whose migraines were so intense that she could not even stand or leave her bed? I attempted to blow as softly as possible that the sound was barely audible. She adjusted herself in bed and whispered “it’s OK – I want to hear the shofar,” and smiled.

I had never met a person who had such a debilitating illness that noise prevented them from taking a step. Yet despite the constant pain, here was this woman requesting that I blow a horn at the edge of her bed! I tried to blow slightly louder to modest success. She again assured me that it was ok.

So I blew.

First with eyes staring into the distance, and then looking at her, I blew the shofar clearly and loudly. My lips and lungs automatically ran through the pace of tikya-shevarim-truah-tikya, while my mind thought about rabbis who commented that the sound of the shofar was meant to resemble crying. But the call of the shofar that day did not cause this woman to cry, but brought her comfort.

I had come to help someone fulfill a mitzvah of hearing the shofar, and left with a sense of marvel at a woman who chose to bring a life into this world at a tremendous personal cost, and further marveled at her desire to seek out and engage so fully into Judaism, even when the pain was so dear.

Tears

A few years later my family was back in our community for Rosh Hashanah (one has to visit the in-laws and parents after all). I once again offered my services of blowing shofar for anyone who could not attend services in shul. To my surprise, the rabbi asked if I would blow for some Jews who were in a nearby hospital that treats mental disorders. I did not mind the long walk to the facility even though it meant I would be home quite late for lunch; my concern was much more basic and childish: fear. I was fortunate to have never been in a psychiatric ward and have a deep childish fear of even visiting ordinary hospitals. But how could I refuse? I told my wife that she should have lunch without me and went on my way.

While the rabbi warned me about the security at the hospital, I nevertheless tensed every time I was buzzed through another set of locked doors as I worked my way through the large building complex. I was ultimately led to a medium sized waiting room where a woman of perhaps 20 or so sat with her parents in fine clothing. I attempted to make small conversation and only the parents engaged. I handed the father the machzor for them to recite the prayer on the shofar blowing. The three of them stood up, each parent holding a hand of their daughter as they waited for me to begin.

Blowing before an entire synagogue brings its own considerations and nervousness. However, my feelings at that moment passed nervousness towards discomfort. I was nervous about my surroundings; edgy about what affect blowing a shofar in a mental hospital might have on people on the floor. My lips were tight and the sound barely came out. The family didn’t seem to notice. They waited. Patiently. After some time, I found some calm and began to blow.

As the first tkiyah came out from the shofar, my fears became realized. The girl began to cry uncontrollably and tears flowed from both eyes like a waterfall. Her mother holding her right hand did not move and continued to stare at the floor. Her father on her left, continued to stare directly at me. Neither one moved or sought to calm their crying daughter. I stopped blowing and pulled the shofar from my lips.

The father told me it was Okay and that I should keep going. I do not know what kind of expression I wore, and covered my mouth with my left hand and returned the shofar to the right corner of my mouth and continued to blow 40 blasts.

The woman’s tears did not stop and the parents’ positions and expressions did not change. However, my mind raced to my participation in an intimate moment. Was the sound of the shofar making the woman cry? Did it cause her to reflect on why she was in this facility? Did it make her think and pray to God for a better year? And what about the parents? Why was the father fixed on staring at me and the shofar – were we tools in her cure? Was the mother’s thoughts on her daughter, on Rosh Hashanah, on her own life? I tried to stop examining these strangers at a vulnerable moment, and focus on the sound of shofar. My only role was to be an agent for the sound which may help each of them in some way.

80 Years

In just a few months, my father will turn 80 years old. In the Jewish book Pirkei Avot, it says that “eighty [years old] is for power.” In Hebrew, the number 80 is represented as a pei, which means “mouth”. Thank God, my father at 80 still has the power to bring the shofar to his lips each day of Elul and Rosh Hashanah to blow magnificently. He has passed the talent down, having taught my son how to blow shofar for his bar mitzvah just a few years ago.

This year, I am off duty from blowing shofar. I will be lucky to watch my father on the bimah surrounded by a community that he loves along with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The sound of his shofar will touch me beyond a note or the symbolism of the holy day. The sound will trigger memories of people who have long since passed away for whom my father and I visited; people who extended themselves in amazing ways for their families; and people who were deeply touched in ways I cannot fathom from the shofar blasts. For me, the sound has become an amalgam of life and death; physical sickness and determination; mental illness and hope; family and friends; and our responsibilities and roles in our community.

May we all be touched by the sound of the shofar in meaningful ways. All the best for a happy and healthy year.

DSC_0137


Related First One Through article:

Shabbat Hagadol at the Third Hurva Synagogue, 2010

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Half Standards: Gun Control and the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Deal

“Double standards” is defined as a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another.” Double Standards are typically viewed as unjust, and some countries (like the government of Israel) complain when they are held to more rigorous standards of behavior than its neighbors by political bodies like the United Nations. Curiously, in 2015, some US Democratic candidates for president have introduced a new concept of “Half Standards,” in which they actively and happily pursue policies for other countries which are much less rigorous than they expect for Americans.

Democrats on Gun Control for Americans

After the killing of two journalists on air in August 2015, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders stated that he would introduce “constructive gun control legislation which most significantly gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.” Similarly, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented that she is in favor of “reform that keeps weapons out of the hands that should not have them.

Such calls for gun control is not without controversy, as most Americans view the right to bear arms as a fundamental right laid out in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights that “shall not be infringed.” How can the government decide that there are parties that “should not have them [guns]?” Will the government take steps to block certain individuals from this right the way that it blocks felons from voting?

Who “should not have them“? Clinton called out “domestic abusers, the violently unstable” as targets who would lose the right to bear arms. Will the US courts create a system of defining such individuals?

What exactly will these “bad” people be prevented from owning?  In their call for new gun legislation, how far will the ownership limitations go? Will a domestic abuser be restricted from purchasing a new gun or will they also need to forfeit guns they currently own? What about ammunition? If a person has factories that make guns and ammo, would they be forced to sell it? If they ran a mine that sourced all of the raw materials to make guns or ammunition, would they be forced to shut it down? In short, would a “violently unstable” person be allowed to own and run an entire gun manufacturing infrastructure and warehouse even if they promised to give up having a gun in their home?

Contrast these Democrats’ positions about barring certain Americans from owning guns, with their positions on Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

Democrats Supporting the Iranian JCPOA

Clinton gave a strong defense of the nuclear agreement with Iran on September 9, 2015, even while she noted the many short-comings of the JCPOA.

Hillary Brookings
Hillary Clinton at the Brookings Institute discussing her support of the JCPOA
September 9, 2015

Iran is a “violently unstable” player: The US State Department has long considered the Islamic Republic of Iran to be a supporter of terrorism, one of only three countries with such designation. The Iranian government has been hostile to America since 1979 and continues to call for the “Death of America”.

…and will remain a “violently unstable” player: Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made clear in several interviews, that “this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime should be an integral part of a timetable of sanctions relief to the Iranians, the Obama administration made clear that such notion would not be part of any Plan Of Action.

Iran “should not have them (WMDs)”: US President Barack Obama repeatedly stated that the Iranian regime should never be armed with weapons of mass destruction. He has tried to convince Americans that the JCPOA will keep Iran from actually being in possession of such nuclear weapons, and Clinton and Sanders agree that the JCPOA would accomplish such task.

…but will maintain the entire food chain of processing WMDs: While Iran would technically not have a nuclear bomb IF it adheres to everything in the JCPOA, it will continue to have everything required to manufacture and deliver such weapons:

  • Uranium mines left untouched
  • It maintains a stockpile of uranium
  • Thousands of centrifuges (6,104 by the White House count) for enrichment left intact
  • Heavy-water nuclear plant Arak is “redesigned” but not dismantled
  • Enrichment facilities of Natanz and Fordow will both remain operational
  • Obtain new short- and long-range ballistic missiles (available in 5 to 8 years)

iran_nuclear_624
Iranian Nuclear Infrastructure
(from BBC website)

Would Clinton and Sanders enable “violently unstable” Americans that have a constitutional right to bear arms, keep an entire weapons making assembly line? Why do they promote a “half standard” for a “violently unstable” country to maintain a vast nuclear weapons infrastructure?


Related First One Through articles:

Some Ugly Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

Is the Iran Deal a Domestic Matter (NY Times) or an International Matter (Wall Street Journal)

The New Endorsed Parameters of Peaceful Nuclear Power

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