In a remarkable screed, New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore dismisses established reports documenting the rise of Female Genital Mutilation in the United States stemming from years of large-scale Muslim migration.
Kilgore, a self-described “veteran Democratic wonk”, took issue with a Breitbart News report detailing how Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s omnibus spending bill fully funds all visa programs utilized by Muslim migrants and, in fact, expands those programs to fund President Obama’s new Syrian refugee resettlement operation. In the piece, Breitbart News reports that by funding and expanding these visa programs, Ryan’s omnibus enables next year’s admission of nearly 300,000 Muslim migrants on autopilot visas.
Upon reading the piece, Kilgore immediately sought to make his disdain for Breitbart and its readership known. Within a just few hours of the original article’s publication, Kilgore had breathlessly typed out a rebuttal intended to discredit Breitbart’s numbers-based report in his piece entitled, “Wing Nuts Claim House Budget Bill Offers Green Light for 300,000 Muslim Migrants.”
Kilgore’s followers seemed to take notice and apparently sought to distribute his message far and wide– sharing his piece over 150 times on Facebook, perhaps in an effort to counter the circulation of the original Breitbart piece, which received more than 55,000 shares on Facebook.
Although Kilgore’s thoughts on the subject did not seem to receive much attention, his piece is significant as it seems to demonstrate a surprising turn for American liberalism: namely, Kilgore appears so committed to continuing the nation’s policy of large-scale visa dispensations that he is willing to downplay and disregard the cultural, financial, and security implications engendered by this federal policy.
Throughout his piece, not only does Kilgore fail to quote a single line from the original story, but Kilgore’s writing also betrays his profound lack of knowledge about the nation’s visa program. In his piece, Kilgore proves to be unaware of what an H-2B visa even is—incorrectly identifying the program as “visas for (typically) high-tech workers.” Kilgore similarly seems unaware of what a “migrant” is, for that matter.
Throughout the piece, Kilgore is also unable to offer a single fact to rebut Breitbart’s calculations that Ryan’s omnibus will fund the admission of nearly 300,000 Muslim migrants– a calculation, which is based on data from both the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.
As Breitbart explained in its original story:
The most recent available data published by the Department of Homeland Security shows that in 2013, around 118,000 migrants from Muslim-majority countries were permanently resettled within the United States on green cards, as well as approximately 40,000 refugees and asylees from Muslim countries. Additionally, according to data from the State Department, in 2013 the U.S. voluntarily admitted approximately 123,000 temporary migrants from Muslim countries as foreign students and foreign workers.
On top of those autopilot admissions, which will be funded throughout all of 2016, the House is also funding the President’s plan to add another 10,000 refugees from the Muslim country of Syria. As a result, Ryan’s House-passed omnibus will bring in nearly 300,000 Muslim migrants in the next 12 months alone, including roughly 170,000 who will be permanently resettled within the country.”
Kilgore does not refute Breitbart’s calculations. Nor does he refute the assessment of senior Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who earlier confirmed Breitbart’s analysis. Prior to the bill’s passage, Shelby warned that unless Ryan’s omnibus contained language restricting the nation’s autopilot visa programs, which it did not, the bill would fund “admission for hundreds of thousands of migrants from a broad range of countries with jihadist movements over the next 12 months, on top of all the other autopilot annual immigration.”
It is unclear from Kilgore’s piece whether he considers Shelby to be one of the “wing nuts” documenting how Ryan’s bill would fund the admission of hundreds of thousands Muslim migrants.
Instead, Kilgore resorts to dismissing the numbers without any contrary evidence. Kilgore then turns to belittling growing concerns over the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation, or, what he describes as, Breitbart’s “lurid warnings of the imminent spread of sharia law and genital mutilation.” Kilgore writes that Breitbart’s report, “concludes by darkly noting that the nine founding members of the House Freedom Caucus all voted for Paul Ryan as Speaker, making the exposure of America to the Muslim hordes possible. A conspiracy so immense…”
This is a perhaps a surprising tone for a self-described “Democratic wonk” to adopt given that the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) seems to violate progressives’ stated goal of defending women’s rights.
In his piece, Kilgore seems unaware that Breitbart News’ data on Female Genital Mutilation originates from an Equality Now report, which relies on data from the non-partisan Population Reference Bureau (PRB). The PRB’s report attributes the prevalence of FGM in the United States to immigration:
“In 2013, there were up to 507,000 U.S. women and girls who had undergone FGM/C or were at risk of the procedure… This figure is more than twice the number of women and girls estimated to be at risk in 2000… The rapid increase in women and girls at risk reflects an increase in immigration to the United States, rather than an increase in the share of women and girls at risk of being cut… about 97 percent of U.S. women and girls at risk were from African countries, while just 3 percent were from Asia (Iraq and Yemen).”
That is why the government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services website (USCIS) has put out a fact sheet on female genital mutilation in multiple languages including Amharic, Arabic, French, Somali and Swahili.
The founder of Safe Hands for Girls and FGM-survivor, Jaha Dukureh has warned that, “every year thousands of girls here in the United States go through Female Genital Mutilation.”
As The Atlantic has explained, the procedure:
“Usually involves the complete removal of the clitoris, and often the removal of some of the inner and outer labia. In its most extreme form–infibulation–almost all the external genitalia are cut away, the remaining flesh from the outer labia is sewn together, or infibulated, and the girl’s legs are bound from ankle to waist for several weeks while scar tissue closes up the vagina almost completely. A small hole, typically about the diameter of a pencil, is left for urination and menstruation. The cutting is usually done with a razor, a kitchen knife, or a pair of scissors. It is rare for any anesthesia to be used.”
It is unclear why Kilgore would go out of his way in his writing to demean and dismiss the horrific disfigurement that Dukureh and so many other women and girls are forced to endure.
However, as Dukureh has previously explained, there are many in the United States, just like Kilgore, who are misinformed about the brutal practice. “Many in the U.S. hear about FGM and think it only happens in far away lands,” Dukureh has said, “Unfortunately, this is far from reality.”
What is perhaps most remarkable about Kilgore’s reaction to Breitbart‘s report, is that rather than expressing shock or horror upon being presented with the facts of Female Genital Mutilation within the United States, Kilgore immediately took to the pages of his own publication to dismiss Breitbart’s report about the spread of a barbaric practice in a First World country.
Liberal comedian and political commentator Bill Maher has been critical of fellow-liberals who prefer to dogmatically cling to the mantle of tolerance while denying perspective. Maher has previously explained that there are many liberals, like Kilgore, who do not think seriously about their own stated positions on any meaningful philosophical level, but instead blindly adhere to political correctness, regardless of how it may violate their own espoused values.
Maher has said, “To count yourself as a liberal, you have to stand up for liberal principles. Free speech, separation of church and state, freedom to practice any religion or no religion without the threat of violence. Respect for minorities including homosexuals, equality for women. It amazes me how here in America we go nuts over the tiniest violations of these values while gross atrocities are ignored across the world.”
Maher explains that, by definition, Sharia law is anti-liberal: “This is what liberals don’t want to recognize. You may be from a country, as there are many, many Muslim countries that either have Sharia law or want Sharia law. Those values are not our value.”
Pew report notes that several of the Muslim countries to which the U.S. issues large numbers of visas have very positive views of sharia law. Pew writes, “Nearly all Muslims in Afghanistan (99%) and most in Iraq (91%) and Pakistan (84%) support sharia law as official law.”
Yet in the last five years, according to Department Homeland Security data, the U.S. issued 83,000 green cards to Iraq, 83,000 green cards to Pakistan, and 11,000 to Afghanistan.
The irony of the New Left is that, given Sharia law’s attitudes towards women and homosexuals, large-scale Muslim migration ought to be something liberals would be concerned about. Yet liberals like Kilgore seem willing to embrace these anti-liberal attitudes with open arms– and are even willing to protect Republicans like Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who support expanding Muslim migration.
What’s also remarkable is that Kilgore’s treatment of Breitbart’s reporting is so cavalier and sloppy that Kilgore accidentally reveals his own ignorance about the nation’s visa programs.
Kilgore writes that after addressing reports about the rise of Female Genital Mutilation, Breitbart “suddenly lurch[es] into a screed on the completely unrelated topic of H-2B visas for (typically) high-tech workers, which has nothing specifically to do with Muslims.” When Kilgore describes the H-2B program as “visas for (typically) high-tech workers,” it becomes apparent that he is confusing the H-2B visa program with an entirely separate program. H-2B visas are not “for (typically) high-tech workers.” Rather, H-2B foreign guest workers typically fill blue-collar jobs such as truck drivers or hospitality workers. As immigration attorney Ian Smith has explained, Ryan’s expansion to the H-2B program would disproportionately “hurt America’s most vulnerable workers” such as black workers, single women, the elderly, and first-generation immigrants.
Again, Kilgore’s apparent openness to the program’s expansion is interesting as it seems to contradict his liberal values of protecting the jobs and wages of minority workers. As American Federation of Labor founder and president Samuel Gompers once said, “Those who favor unrestricted immigration care nothing for the people.” As Breitbart News reported in the original piece, data suggests that these blue-collar fields do not require additional labor, as these areas of employment already suffer high unemployment levels and stagnating wages.
As of publication, Kilgore’s factual error about the H-2B visa program had not been corrected.
Moreover, throughout the piece, Kilgore does not even seem aware of what the definition of a “migrant” is. Kilgore explains that one of his complaints with Breitbart‘s report is that many of the hundreds of thousands Muslim foreign nationals who will be admitted on visas as a result of Ryan’s omnibus, “are students and people working here legally, not ‘migrants,’” Kilgore writes.
It is unclear from his writing what Kilgore believes a “migrant” is. Kilgore seems to suggest that migrants are somehow different and distinct from guest workers, foreign students and permanent residents who enter legally. Yet the Department of Homeland Security’s website defines a “migrant” as “a person who leaves his/her country of origin to seek residence in another country.” That’s why the Economic Policy Institute is able to write a report entitled, “H-2B Wage Rule Loophole Lets Employers Exploit Migrant Workers” in which the author writes about, what Kilgore describes as, “people working here legally.”
That’s also why in a piece praising the omnibus’ expansions of the H-2B program, the CATO Institute, a think-tank that supports immigration expansions, can write a sentence that reads: “There has been a tremendous rise in the number of temporary migrants on E, H, O, P, and L visas along with their derivative family members.” It’s also the reason why the Chairman of the Senate Immigration and National Interest Subcommittee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) can declare that the “omnibus year-end funding bill that would set the U.S. on an autopilot path to approve green cards, asylee, and refugee status to approximately 170,000 migrants from Muslim countries during the next fiscal year.”
Kilgore is perhaps unaware– although it was addressed in Breitbart’s original report– of how the nation’s immigration levels are set. The historic flow of immigration into the United States is primarily the product of a Sen. Ted Kennedy-supported immigration law enacted in 1965, which lifted immigration caps that had been put into place during the President Calvin Coolidge’s administration, and opened immigration to predominantly poor and developing countries. In 1970, fewer than 1 in 21 Americans were foreign-born. Today, nearly 1 in 7 U.S. residents was born in a foreign country.
The criticism of Ryan’s omnibus raised by Sens. Sessions, Cruz, Shelby and others is that because many of the Muslim migrants entering the country are coming on visas, their entrance represents a voluntary admission policy. In essence, the government is choosing to issue visas to regions of the world, which are creating security and public safety risk for the United States, as well as all of the attending social and cultural implications that their legal admission entails. As the Senators explain, all it would take to prevent such entry would be to pause or curb the visa issuances.
Polls overwhelmingly show that the American people do not want to see immigration levels increased. According to Pew, 83 percent of all American voters — and 92 percent of Republicans — want to see future immigration growth curbed.
As the late Democratic Congresswoman and Civil Rights champion Barbara Jordan famously said in arguing for lower immigration: “Immigration, like foreign policy, ought to be a place where the national interest comes first, last, and always.”