A Texas congressman has introduced legislation that would halt the resettlement of United Nations-certified refugees in the U.S. pending a full study on the program’s impact on the nation’s economy and national security.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, introduced the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, or HR 3314, which places an “immediate suspension on allowing immigrants into the United States under the refugee resettlement program, until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) completes a thorough examination of its costs on federal, state and local governments.”
According to U.S. government data, nearly 500,000 new immigrants have come to the U.S. under the resettlement program since President Obama took office – with the state of Texas and its taxpayers taking in more than any other state.
Since 2002, a total of 69,490 refugees from more than a dozen countries have been resettled in Texas. That does not include “secondary migration,” which involves refugees moving into Texas after first being resettled elsewhere.
Texas, California lead the way
The Lone Star State absorbed 7,214 refugees in fiscal 2014, followed by California with 6,108 and New York with 4,082. Michigan received 4,006 refugees and Florida 3,519 to round out the top five. Minnesota, when secondary migration is included, also makes the top five with more than 4,000 refugees arriving every year.
The refugees pour in from Iraq, Somalia, Burma, Bhutan, Cuba, Afghanistan, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and even Syria, the world’s most active hotbed of jihadist activity.
And it’s not only major urban centers receiving refugees. Cities like Amarillo, Texas; Manchester, New Hampshire; Twin Falls, Idaho; Lewiston, Maine; Wichita, Kansas; and St. Cloud, Minnesota, have been slammed with thousands of refugees from the Third World over the past decade. Most arrive with no English or job skills, and the nine major resettlement agencies that get government cash to do the resettlement work typically only provide aid for three to five months. After that, the refugees are mainly the responsibility of state and local governments.
Almost all of America’s refugees are selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
After they are assigned to the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are responsible for screening them for connections to foreign terrorist organizations. FBI Counter-terrorism Deputy Director Michael Steinbach testified before Congress in February that it is impossible to screen refugees from a “failed state” like Syria, where the U.S. has no boots on the ground and no access to reliable law enforcement data. Somalia has similarly devolved into chaos.
‘Economic and social costs’ wearing on communities
“It is extremely unsettling that the Obama administration would continue to expand the U.S. resettlement program at such an irresponsible pace in light of our economic and national security challenges,” said Babin in a statement on his website. “While this program may be warranted in certain situations, it is continuing at an unchecked pace. For the past decade, the U.S. has been admitting roughly 70,000 new refugees a year, with little understanding of the economic and social costs on our communities.”
The costs of the resettlement program have ballooned to $1 billion a year, according to the government, and that only covers the costs of grants used to administer the program. The $1 billion figure does not include the cost of social welfare programs that refugees immediately qualify for upon entry into the country.
“Our legislation institutes a common-sense pause in the program so that we can better understand the long-term and short-term costs that this program has on local governments, states and U.S. taxpayers,” Babin said. “It also gives us an opportunity to examine potential national security issues related to entry and resettlement, particularly as federal law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about home-grown terrorists.”
Resistance growing in South Carolina, Idaho, Minnesota
A public backlash against the refugee resettlement program has sprung up in recent months in several communities, including Spartanburg, South Carolina; Twin Falls, Idaho; and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The refugee resettlement industry, which includes legions of immigrant-rights advocates, lawyers and community organizing groups funded by George Soros, the Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford foundations, among others, churned out a document in 2013 on how to deal with so-called “pockets of resistance.”
The document, authored by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one of the nine government contractors doing resettlement work, advised refugee advocates to research the backgrounds of local people who oppose resettlements and turn them over to the Southern Poverty Law Center for public shaming as “racists” and “anti-Muslim” bigots.
This strategy has already been employed to varying degrees in Spartanburg, St. Cloud and Twin Falls as residents have become organized and started demanding answers about how many refugees will be arriving, from what countries, and what the social and economic impact will be on school systems, job markets, health care, law enforcement and housing.
Shutting down First Amendment rights of resisters
In St. Cloud earlier this week, a speaker, Ron Brantsner, was scheduled to address refugees and their economic impact at a local VFW hall. Brantsner, a former Minnesota resident now living in California, spoke on the same topic earlier in Little Falls, Minnesota, attended by about 100 people. He has worked in the past with the Minutemen along the U.S.-Mexican border, and that was enough to get him branded a “racist” by a local union organizer in St. Cloud.
Jane Conrad, who has worked to organize home health-care workers for the Service Employees International Union, found out about Brantsner’s speaking engagement and announced a rally would be held Saturday, Aug. 1, on the court house square in St. Cloud, denouncing the “racists” who dared to listen to a speaker with whom she disagreed.
The VFW canceled the event at the last minute, but some local residents showed up anyway and were told by VFW staff they were welcome to come in and have dinner. A state legislator and a uniformed police officer were present, as was a friend of Conrad, the union organizer. A local resident, Bob Enos, reportedly stood up and gave a few words, described as a “pep talk,” by those in attendance, about the progress made in resisting the resettlement program on economic grounds. The union rep reported back to Conrad, who also got a professor at St. Cloud State University to send out an email denouncing the residents as guilty of bigotry.
Now, Conrad has again called for a protest rally at 12 p.m. Saturday at the County Courthouse in St. Cloud. The residents concerned about the growing refugee population overburdening their town are not backing down. They are organizing their own event and serving BBQ at the VFW Saturday. A large biker group has reportedly said it will make a showing.
“Anyone who shows the least resistance to refugee resettlement has to expect this type of aggressive agitation from the left,” said Ann Corcoran, author of Refugee Resettlement Watch and an activist who helped stop refugee resettlement in her town of Hagerstown, Maryland, about eight years ago. “You have to organize your own forces to confront the agitators and show them you won’t back down. In St. Cloud, Jane Conrad was stirring up the racial unrest, going to the Somalis and stirring them up. Our people were not the ones bringing race into the discussion.”
Branding veterans as ‘racist’
Keishia Buckentine, manager of the VFW Post 428 in St. Cloud, was present at the meeting and heard the short talk by Enos. She said he made no mention of race.
“They are accusing us of being supporters of racism, which we are not,” Buckentine told the St. Cloud Times. “I find it disgusting they would treat a group of veterans like this.”
But Corcoran is not surprised.
“This kind of trashing of the First Amendment rights of average American citizens who speak out or even question the refugee program is right out of the playbook of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s document,” Corcoran said. “St. Cloud residents have vowed not to bend to what they see as discrimination and intolerance against opposing views.”
The city of St. Cloud – in the heart of former Rep. Michele Bachmann’s district – has been swamped in recent years by Third World refugees sent by the U.S. State Department working in concert with the United Nations and its resettlement agencies, which includes Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services.
Bachmann said the refugee resettlement program has become something it was never intended to be – a steady stream of Third World population transfers to American cities and towns.
“What began as a heartfelt, caring response to a jihadist-created humanitarian crisis has morphed into an expansion of Third World immigration at U.S. taxpayer expense,” she told WND. “We now know the U.N. and U.S. State Department unilaterally foist large numbers of unvetted persons onto local communities. The state and local taxpayers, in addition to federal taxpayers pick up the tab, without the local communities’ consent.
“Destabilizing local communities often follows with concerned citizens wrongly smeared and demonized by community organizers who actively work to increase the number of immigrants.”
Corcoran also notes the irony that a union organizer would be leading the protest in Minnesota against those seeking to turn off the refugee spigot.
“We believe that Lutheran Social Services is literally acting as an employment agency for the large meat-packing companies operating in nearby towns and in need of an abundant supply of cheap labor,” Corcoran said. “Why American union workers don’t get it is beyond me.”
Babin isn’t the only Texas congressman showing concerns for the growing refugee influx into that state.
Rep. Michael McCall, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has also been critical of the refugee resettlement program. He has called two hearings on the national-security risks associated with importing refugees specifically from Syria, which has the highest concentration of jihadists of any country currently involved in the program with the possible exception of Somalia.
Yet the administration plans to take in thousands from Syria and is continuing to admit about 800 a month from Somalia.