Mike Huckabee has been expressing his concerns about the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States. In his latest warnings, he expresses a new and unlikely fear: that American women may soon have to choose between a burka and becoming a rape victim.
Huckabee, along with a number of other presidential hopefuls and political figures, has been quite vocal lately about the risk of terrorists arriving disguised as refugees. A Saturday social media warning from Huckabee declared
In fact, Huckabee’s social media was on a roll Saturday, as he warned voters that both the current president and Hillary Clinton are focused on a pro-Islam agenda, and are not concerned enough about American women being raped.
Notably, Huckabee’s own position on rape and sexual abuse has been called into question twice over the past year, though the perpetrators in question were not refugees seeking a place in America. In one case, Time reports that Mike Huckabee spoke in agreement with officials in Paraguay, when they denied a 10-year-old rape victim access to an abortion. In another case, Huckabee was criticized for speaking in support of Josh Duggar and his parents after the admission that Josh had molested five underage females and his parents had helped to cover up the crime.
Neither the denial of an abortion to a child rape victim who might not survive her pregnancy nor the defense of someone accused of child molestation (and who currently faces further accusations of sexual violence) are quite consistent with Huckabee’s accusing others of not having enough concern for rape victims.
On Twitter, Mike Huckabee went on to declare that women in America shouldn’t have to wear burka to avoid being raped — certainly a true statement, but not one that appears to reflect any current risks in the U.S.
The former Arkansas governor is clearly referring to a series of sexual assaults that took place in Germany on New Year’s Eve, and Huckabee appears to be suggesting that the same can be expected in America. ABC reported earlier this week that at least 90 criminal offenses had been reported, including rapes, sexual assaults, and robberies.
Though some of the suspects arrested in these incidents were carrying papers that appeared to identify them as asylum seekers, BBC reports that the area around Cologne Cathedral is notorious for pickpocketing and other theft at Christmas and New Year’s. Though the reports of rape and sexual assault are horrifying, the other criminal activity appears to be consistent with what might be expected in a busy venue at the holiday and, in fact, with what is routinely experienced in this specific venue at this time of the year — in other words, not something new with the influx of immigrants.
Though none of this excuses even a single rape, it does suggest that the link between refugees and crime, not only by Mike Huckabee but by many who have opposed admitting Muslim immigrants, is not as strong as implied.
As far as risk to Americans, contrary to what some political groups have suggested, the process for vetting refugees is neither quick nor simple.
Mike Huckabee posted about this on Saturday, too, insinuating that there is no process for vetting immigrants.
Newsweek detailed the process a refugee must go through to enter the U.S. back in November.
Contrary to Huckabee’s suggestion, it involves all names and phone numbers associated with the applicant being run through multiple databases for criminal backgrounds or associations. Fingerprints and other biometric data are also checked against those collected in Iraq and Afghanistan, and immigrants cannot enter the U.S. without completing a course in cultural orientation. The process typically takes between 18 months and two years. While it’s possible for an immigrant to become radicalized after arrival in the United States, there are far easier ways to enter than as a refugee, if a terror-minded individual was so inclined.
How frequently do refugees who enter the United States turn to terror attacks? Alternet reports that out of nearly three-quarters of a million refugees admitted since 9/11, only two have been charged with terror-related crimes.
Mike Huckabee is certainly right when he declares that women should not be at risk for rape, but there isn’t any data to back up insinuations that admission of refugees would contribute to that risk. Furthermore, Huckabee’s own record of defending child molestation as a “mistake” “sensationalized,” and of supporting the further endangerment of a child rape victim, hardly paint him as a protector against that particular offense.
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