"This is not something I would do unless I could vet the homeless people first - ensure they hadn't ended up where they were by abusing hard drugs, check to see whether they had moral standards and weren't extremist loonies, that kind of thing."
And that's not always possible. If you want to help homeless guys and you have the money to do it, you should get them a simple apartment somewhere in town, get them cleaned up, and get them a job. You should NEVER EVER invite them into your home. You don't know these people.
It certainly isn't possible to vet Syrian refugees (not to mention that the culture they bring leaves no guarantee that their children will not be extremists which is common in European countries that have had mass Islamic immigration and where the children are actually more radical and less integrated than their parents). European countries can't even figure out that many "Syrian" refugees aren't even FROM Syria. What makes you think they can be "vetted"? Here is no extensive database you could go and check to see if someone is tied to terrorism or crime. Not even Assad has that information and he won't give you the little information he has. Why would he? Not in his interest plus the US has antagonized him.
If you want to know how poor the vetting system is, just take a look at the Tsarnaev brothers. Warnings came from Russia - went completely ignored.
"Too much empathy is indeed a bad thing. No empathy at all, however, is far worse."
I think government needs far less "empathy" (nothing but a buzz word in this case that comes at the expense of American citizens) and more standards being followed. Empathy in government has never worked out well but if you so desperately want to help Syrians, you can do so in their own homeland at a much cheaper price.
Christ, ask yourself this: how is Syria supposed to rebuild itself after the war if the west takes in most of the able bodied men? So stupid.
For that matter how it is supposed to end the war if all the military aged men leave?
You really need to figure this out because the foreign policy of the US is incoherent as fuck now. Let's hope Trump can bring some sense into this and actually be "empathetic" towards CITIZENS that elected him and to his allies, not some guys from 5000 miles away that hate the west.
"Ooh, I dunno, it's not like the really Islamist ones tend to head for other Islamic countries instead of Western lands. If they wanted to come to the First World, it's likely they have some degree of appreciation for First World values."
There's no reason to believe that. All that we have evidence of is that they have an appreciation for the results of first world values (or more specifically the high standards of living), but that doesn't mean they like first world values or even understand them.
Kind of how Elliot Rodger had an appreciation for the results of the sexual revolution but was too stupid to actually benefit from it because he didn't have the right attitude or the right values.
Kind of millennial socialists tweet about the evils of capitalism... from their capitalist built smart phones that they got from their rich capitalist parents. They sure like their smart phones but they don't like the system that enabled their creation.
"The ones who don't... well, I mentioned the vetting process, right?"
Which is unreliable.
And next time there's another attack, I'll be posting to remind you: I told you so, you didn't listen.
Sadly even if Trump stops the program, many have already arrived under Obama and it may not be as easy to legally deport them if they're already here. The damage already done is pretty much permanent.
"I can agree with that, except Americans should not get all high and mighty about their nationality: they are all without exceptions descendants of immigrants."
Some are descendants of immigrants (and by the way there's no provision in the Constitution saying that descendants of immigrants are somehow lesser citizens than non-immigrants). Some are descendants of the original founders. There's a difference. There was no USA to emigrate to.
If you create a country from scratch you're not an "immigrant", you're a founder. A settler. Just like if you were to create a country on Mars or the Moon you wouldn't be an "immigrant" you'd be a settler.
The idea that Native Americans owned the entire area that is now the USA and the Europeans that came were "immigrants" is ludicrous. Most of it was uninhabited wilderness with no infrastructure and no government. So it was largely a no-man's land, fist come first served. Just because crimes were committed against the Native American doesn't mean they owned the entire landmass, sorry that's dumb.
In case you're wondering, that wouldn't apply today since the world has changed a lot, there's infrastructure everywhere, there are clearly marked borders, and even the wilderness has rangers, satellite coverage etc. plus international treaties recognize borders.
I supposed you can still colonize the ocean floor if you want LOL. Or untapped parts of Antarctica. Good luck with that.