When President Trump took office in January, he inherited his predecessor’s hand when it came to refugee resettlement, as President Obama had put the United States on the hook for 110,000 displaced persons gathered in United Nations camps – every one of them destined for an American city.
In his executive orders, Trump tried to pause refugee resettlement for 120 days along with his 90-day travel ban from six mostly Muslim countries, all of which were shot down by the courts.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Trump’s executive order and won’t release a decision until sometime next year.
But that decision should have little to no impact on Trump’s control over refugee numbers in the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1. He can set the cap at zero if he wants or end the most potentially destructive resettlements, which are from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Burma and Afghanistan.
In short, Trump never “owned” the refugee program. He inherited it from Obama and when he tried to alter it, he encountered a ferocious backlash from the courts, the media, the federal bureaucracy and the private contractors that resettle refugees with money almost exclusively collected from the U.S. taxpayer.
That all ends on Oct. 1. Now, in the weeks leading up to that date, Trump, in accordance with the Refugee Act of 1980, must send a presidential-determination letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee informing Congress of the annual cap on refugees. This cap or “ceiling” is the maximum number of refugees the Trump administration wants to allow into the U.S. in fiscal 2018.
Trump will no longer be able to blame Obama or the courts. He will officially own the refugee program. If he sets the cap at zero, he will be in full compliance with federal law, according to experts on the Refugee Act of 1980.
WND asked several well-known conservatives familiar with the refugee program how they would advise Trump on this issue if they were in his administration.
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, said Trump should make good on his promise.
“Follow through on his campaign promises, and stop the refugee influx entirely until such time, even if it never comes, when we can distinguish jihad terrorists from peaceful refugees,” Spencer said.
Trump famously said during his campaign he would suspend the program entirely “until we can figure out what the hell is going on” with regard to rising Islamic terrorism across the globe.
Ann Corcoran, who has followed refugee resettlement for more than a decade, said Trump has plenty of reason to do just that and still come across as a great humanitarian by focusing on needy Americans.
“The public should be outraged to learn that in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which have left tens of thousands of Americans homeless, that we are poised to take in thousands of impoverished refugees when we now have our own refugees, struggling people who have lost their homes, lost everything, with their lives shattered, living in tents, shelters and RVs,” Corcoran said. “To bring in more from other countries in a time like this would be the ultimate insanity.”
The U.S. has resettled more than 800,000 refugees since fiscal 2004. According to the State Department’s refugee database, America has admitted roughly 160,000 Iraqi refugees since 2007 and more than 140,000 Somalis over the past two decades, 24 years after that country’s civil war started.
More than 1 percent of Somalia’s total population has been transferred to Western democracies in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States over the past 30 years.
There has never been a compelling case made to the American people as to why they should continue this transfer of population from the Third World to America other than the fact that some nations such as Somali are embroiled in never-ending tribal wars.
The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement spends more than $2 billion annually to resettle foreign refugees into American cities, but that doesn’t include welfare benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing and educating refugee children. All told, the program has been estimated at up to $10 billion per year.
Daniel Horowitz, author of the book “Stolen Sovereignty,” says Trump’s job is actually quite simple.
“Obama used [his authority under the Refugee Act] to the detriment of the country to bring in over 100,000 refugees in his last year in office; Trump can use it to protect our security by setting the cap at zero,” Horowitz writes Monday in the Conservative Review.
The Refugee Act was sold to the public in 1980 as a way of granting Congress and the states more input, but “it left the door open for a president who doesn’t respect his nation’s concerns to unilaterally bring in as many refugees as he desires,” Horowitz adds. “This has been a source of much consternation for conservatives, because over the past two decades, this has allowed the presidents to flood the country with hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, Iraq, and other places that do not fit the description of religious or ethnic persecution.”
But now the shoe is on the other foot, he says.
“The president most certainly may bring in as few as he wants. There is no mandatory minimum. Now that he is no longer working off Obama’s FY 2017 determination, he can chart his own course, without Congress and without the meddling courts.”
Well-heeled resettlement agencies such as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the International Rescue Committee and their equivalents in the Lutheran, Catholic and Episcopal churches certainly will file lawsuits against any Trump plan that drastically reduces or eliminates the number of refugees flowing into U.S. cities, but Horowitz says they won’t have a legal leg to stand on.
That’s because Trump won’t be using any executive order to try to undo something already set in motion by Obama. He will be able to chart his own course.
Moreover, as Christians and Jews in the Middle East are becoming extinct, much of the resettlement program has become a fundamental transformation of America by bringing in thousands of non-assimilating Muslims. The cost to Americans in terms of welfare, security, and culture is staggering [D1] — and it all enriches self-promoting and parasitic refugee contractors.
We’ve brought in close to one million refugees since FY 2004. According to the State Department’s refugee database, America has admitted roughly 160,000 Iraqi refugees since FY 2007. We have admitted over 143,000 Somalis over the past two decades, 24 years after the civil war commenced. Why should we actively bring in more?
According to a Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society conference call last Thursday, current funding levels are enough to support an influx of 75,000 new refugees per year.
Here are some other nuggets gleaned from the call by Corcoran:
- Seventy-five thousand is their minimum target number for FY2018 in order to not “undermine [their] infrastructure” (code for keeping the federal money coming so they can pay salaries and rent, but of course they never admitted that to listeners on the call). Less than 50,000 would mean “long lasting erosion” of the program.
- Everything is very confused this year they say. No Presidential Determination (PD) letter yet.
- They say the Report to Congress (in advance of the PD) has come in June or July in some previous years. It usually is mid-September because until the last couple of years,
- Congress didn’t care what the president sent up. Other than a few diligent staffers, it is likely no members actually ever looked at the report.
- They admit they have a stable of lawyers ready and waiting for all possibilities from this White House.
- They even suggested there is a possibility that Trump would make no presidential determination on refugees. One of their people remarked that Bush delayed his PD immediately after 9/11, but that was understandable they admitted (implying the Trump situation is not).
- A caller asked if there was any way Congress could ‘punish’ the President if he simply doesn’t make a ‘determination’ or initiate a consultation in the coming three weeks. No, there isn’t, said one of the HIAS experts. But, their stable of lawyers is looking at all the legal angles.
- Until Trump was elected, they, the refugee contractors, were in “expansion mode” opening new offices in new towns. Bringing in more refugee communities now is impossible.
- There was a lot of discussion about what refugee advocates could do. Top of the list was to tell their congressmen and senators that they want to “welcome” more refugees. Interestingly, Hetfield admitted the president sets the number not Congress, but important to try to get Congress to pressure the president.
- They asked listeners to set up meetings with their Washington reps in their own districts. But, surprisingly, could not give a caller the names of specific reps to target.
- Some other action ideas included getting rabbis to sign their letter in support of more refugees. They have 48 states represented but no one from North and South Dakota.
- They want people to show up to demonstrate on the steps of the Supreme Court when it hears the so-called ‘travel ban’ case on Oct. 10. A caller asked how the timing of the case and the decision announcement (could be May or June) would affect refugee admissions, and the experts on the call could not say.
- They want people to plan demonstrations and to use social media to get the pro-more-refugees message out. And, they want donations.