From The Atlantic:
What Trump and Cruz Should Learn From BelgiumThis is the kind of logic that gets 2nd graders beat up by bullies. You’re getting punched by a bully, and it occurs to you to strike back, but then you worry that that would make your tormenter really mad.
In calling for policies that alienate Muslims, the Republican candidates are trying to make America more like Europe.
Right after the attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, Donald Trump did something bizarre. He spoke the truth. Appearing on Fox and Friends, the GOP presidential frontrunner declared that, “This all happened because frankly there is no assimilation.”
… Which is why the proposals that he and Ted Cruz offered in response to it are so idiotic. Soon after decrying Belgium’s lack of “assimilation,” Trump reiterated his call for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. It’s hard to think of a proposal more likely to push America in Belgium’s direction. Today, American Muslims are far more integrated than Muslims in Europe. According to a 2011 Pew Research poll, only 20 percent of American Muslims surveyed would prefer to “be distinct” than to “adopt American customs.” … Compared to countries like Belgium, the degree of acceptance that American Muslims enjoy represents a form of American exceptionalism.
Banning Muslim immigration would almost certainly undermine this. A 2014 study found that Muslim immigrants in states that experienced more anti-Muslim hate crimes were less likely to intermarry with non-Muslims and learn English. Trump’s demonization of Muslims has already fostered more of these anti-Muslim attacks, and were he to try to implement his ban on Muslim immigration, Islamophobia would likely spike even higher, undermining the very integration of American Muslims that helps keep America safe.
Eventually, most schoolchildren grow out of this conceptual trap, but not the American establishment when it comes to immigration policy.