Syrian immigrants in SerbiaJudicial Watch has released documents showing a conspiracy between the Mayor of Rutland, Vermont, and the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program to conceal plans to bring Syrian refugees to the town. Unfortunately, stealth resettlement has become the standard tactic whenever concerned citizens raise questions about the impact large numbers of foreign arrivals may have on their communities.

The authorities in Rutland, however, went a step beyond abandoning their constituents in favor of political correctness. The papers obtained by Judicial Watch also show an attempt to blunt public safety concerns by arguing that refugees inevitably bring “new ideas and delicious food.”  Apart from insulting the intelligence of Rutland’s citizens, this type of official condescension shows a woeful ignorance of the very real problems that often accompany resettling people in an utterly alien culture.

In addition to ethnic food and cultural activities, increasing numbers of immigrants have also contributed to the spread of many behaviors and practices contrary to American values. While the food can be delicious, the “new ideas” are often malicious.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a practice associated mainly with African and Middle Eastern countries that made its way here with immigrant groups. It constitutes a criminal act in all 50 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a report estimating that 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. have undergone FGM or are now at risk of being subjected to it.

Forced marriage is a growing problem among immigrant groups in the United States. Estimates vary widely but it appears that thousands of immigrant women and girls are forced to marry every year. Syrian refugee communities appear to have a particularly high incidence of forced marriages involving child brides.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “honor killing” as “the traditional practice in some countries of killing a family member who is believed to have brought shame on the family.” Closely linked to forced marriage, honor killing is prevalent in tribal cultures where weddings are viewed as a means to gain social standing or cement family relationships. Honor killings are on the rise in the United States, particularly among ultra-orthodox Muslims.

Warmly welcoming foreigners and absorbing them into our communities is an established American tradition. Forced marriage, FGM and honor killings aren’t. Perhaps the elected officials and government bureaucrats in Vermont should spend less time worrying about new ideas and more time focusing on legitimate concerns raised by their constituents.