President Obama and Congress have agreed to fund the permanent resettlement of 10,000 Syrian refugees, but the number of Syrians entering the U.S. over the next three years will end up being much larger.
Possibly up to 10 times larger, says one analyst who follows the global refugee movement. And it’s all about to be done under the radar of Congress with nearly zero media coverage.
Fresh evidence to that effect has come from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees Filippo Grande and a statement by the U.S. State Department. Together, those statements indicate the U.N. has many more Syrians in store for the U.S. than what Obama has publicly acknowledged.
“Often when they talk about numbers it’s a bit opaque,” says Nayla Rush, senior researcher for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. “They want to permanently resettle 480,000 (into countries outside of Syria), but that’s not enough. There will be resettlements but then other routes, ‘alternative safe pathways,’ as stated by the U.N. high commissioner, who is using a new word, ‘pathways.’
“To me this kind of resembles the ‘pathway to citizenship’ (made famous by the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill), and they’re applying that now to refugees.”
WND reported earlier this month that the Obama administration has approved a “surge” of Syrian refugees into the U.S., slicing the vetting period from at least 18 months down to just three months.
Rush says, by speeding up the process and diffusing the Syrian entries though a myriad of different immigration programs, the administration hopes to take some of the heat off the refugee resettlement industry while still accomplishing the same mission – bringing more and more Syrian refugees to the U.S.
“So what they’re going to do is speed up the process, let’s bring them fast but let’s also bring them in different ways because states and cities are starting to say, ‘We don’t want all these refugees, the FBI says they’re not safe, and who knows how they will integrate,'” Rush told WND. “People need to integrate, and you can’t force them into neighborhoods. Yet Congress is not even discussing it.”
The original lobbying push more than a year ago by the refugee resettlement industry called on Obama to allow 100,000 Syrian refugees into the country by the end of his term in office.
But with mounting criticism of the program in Congress following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Obama only agreed to admit 10,000 Syrians, which have consisted of 98 percent Sunni Muslims coming out of U.N. camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. The pro-refugee lobbyists in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the International Rescue Committee and others seemingly were dealt a setback in their plans to get 100,000 Syrians permanently resettled in U.S. cities and towns.
But now word has leaked that the U.N. has another, more secretive plan to get Syrians, possibly up to 100,000 of them, admitted to the U.S. over the next few years.
The new stealth plan has leaked out of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Both the UNCHR and the State Department have issued statements recently calling for “alternative safe pathways” and “new ways” of transferring Syrians to the U.S. and other Western democracies.
On March 30 the United Nations held a “high-level meeting” in Geneva to address the refugee crisis. The question at hand was how to relieve the mounting stress on a few countries in the Middle East and Europe by spreading the refugee burden “more equitably” among nations.
A synopsis of the meeting posted on the U.N. refugee agency’s website suggests the U.N. is cooking up a plan to send increasing numbers of Syrian refugees into the United States without calling them “refugees.”
U.N. officials are now speaking of “safe alternative pathways” and “alternative avenues” for Syrians into the U.S. and other countries.
The UNCHR website states:
“The purpose of the meeting was to explore mechanisms for the admission of Syrian refugees that could be adopted by States to relieve the pressure on countries currently hosting large numbers. Such mechanisms could include resettlement, which is an important protection tool targeting the most vulnerable individuals, as well as other pathways, such as humanitarian admission or transfer, family reunification, labor mobility schemes and scholarships.”
“Labor mobility” is U.N. code for the free flow of “guest workers” across open borders, while “scholarships” is a clear signal that education-based programs will be used to bring young Syrians to the United States.
“Using ‘pathways’ for citizenship, it seems, may be a little less scary than ‘refugees,'” says Rush.
Ann Corcoran, another refugee expert who has been following the issue closely since 2007, also sees a significant pivot in the language being used as open-borders advocates have run into stiff resistance in more than a dozen states following the attacks on Paris that killed 130 people on Dec. 2, 2015, when it was discovered that two of the eight attackers were “refugees” carrying Syrian passports.
“‘Refugees’ has become a dirty word,” said Corcoran, author of the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch. “When I first started following the refugee issue back in 2007, it was a warm and fuzzy kind of thing. They’ve spent years building up the word ‘refugee’ to mean something positive, but they haven’t been successful, and now it’s sort of like dirt. It’s backfired.”
So instead of just “refugee resettlement,” the U.N. and its open-borders supporters will be talking about “alternative pathways” for displaced persons.
The end result, says Rush, will be the same.
More migrants from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia will end up living in American cities earmarked for resettlements.
The legitimacy and transparency of these new “pathways” for refugees to the West remain to be seen, said Rush, who addressed the topic in her April 25 blog post.
The U.N.’s goal for resettlement is 480,000 Syrian refugee placements in more than a dozen Western nations over the next three years.
But it concedes that 480,000 is a drop in the bucket when compared to the 4.6 million refugees who have allegedly been chased out of Syria by the 5-year-old civil war.
In his opening statement at the March 30 meeting in Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande indicated that nations should get more creative in the way they admit Syrian refugees:
“These pathways can take many forms: not only resettlement, but also more flexible mechanisms for family reunification, including extended family members, labor mobility schemes, student visas and scholarships, as well as visas for medical reasons.”
There simply are not enough places willing to accept resettled refugees, Grande said, so alternative methods must be found.
“Resettlement needs vastly outstrip the places that have been made available so far,” he said. “But humanitarian and student visa, job permits and family reunification would represent safe avenues of admission for many other refugees as well.”
Since the U.S. refugee program already allows for family reunification of spouses and children under age 21, the U.N. plan can only be referring to an expansion of this privilege.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what is happening.
The U.S. State Department released a media note following the Geneva meeting in which it announced the following (emphasis added):
- “The United States joins UNHCR in calling for new ways nations, civil society, the private sector and individuals can together address the global refugee challenge.”
- “Additionally, the United States has created a program to allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to file refugee applications for their Syrian family member.”
Grandi on April 20 sent out a tweet that again used the phrase “safe pathways.”
Grandi seized on the tragic loss of about 500 refugee lives when their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea to tweet the following message:
“It just shows you, 500 people died crossing the Mediterranean, and he tweeted the new talking points, and the policy now is to use these words: ‘safe pathways,'” Rush said.
In a panel discussion on the Global Refugee Crisis: Moral Dimensions and Practical Solutions organized by the Brookings Institution earlier this year, Elizabeth Ferris, research professor at Georgetown University and adviser to the U.N. Secretary General on humanitarian refugee policy, talked about the need to find different solutions to the ongoing humanitarian Syrian crisis.
The refugee resettlement program was no longer sufficient to admit Syrian refugees, she said. “alternative safe pathways” are needed.
“She’s suggesting, and the U.S. is agreeing, that we find new pathways, with aunts and grandmothers, and uncles, scholarships and the private sponsorship means maybe neighbors too,” Rush said. “It’s not just your wife and children under 21 anymore who will be welcomed. So you might be resettling 10,000 a year, but with these schemes it could easily 10 times more I believe, and this is something we need to pay attention to, especially with Obama hosting the global refugee summit in September and him finishing his term in office. People who are on the way out are more likely to do desperate measures.”
Rush said “safe pathways” is “a term we’re going to hear a lot about moving forward.”
The numbers are so big and the avenues so diverse that it will become hard to track how many Syrians have entered the U.S., Rush said, until long after they’re here.
“They’re talking about work permits and labor mobility schemes, and there is no way to find out how many will enter every year,” she said. “This is happening now. We have to keep an eye out, but how do you find out? Congress agreed to accept 10,000 Syrians, but it didn’t agree to this.”