By Joe Guzzardi
February 6, 2017
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President Donald J. Trump has a strategy so brilliant that it’s tied his many naysayers up in knots. By signing within mere days a series of executive actions that will restore order to an out-of-control immigration system, Trump dizzied his most outspoken opponents.
About a week ago, Trump ordered construction to begin on his long-promised Southwest border wall. Trump’s executive order sparked outrage in the pro-immigration lobby. But just days later, anger over the wall has been dwarfed by Trump’s other executive actions, including his promise to defund sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws, and his temporary restrictions on travel to the U.S. from seven nations with ties to terrorism.
Trump’s proposal to implement a 90-day pause in refugee admissions and a 120-day pause in refugee resettlement has sparked cries of outrage, nationwide demonstrations and unfounded claims that briefly delaying resettlement is unconstitutional and anti-American. Senator Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi provided the requisite theatrics.
Here are a few facts about resettlement that the reactionaries may not know. Refugees are selected for admission based on decisions made by the United Nations, the State Department and implemented by nine major federal contractors. Resettlement is a multi-billion dollar industry. Each refugee means money to the contractors.
David Robinson, a former acting director of the State Department’s refugee bureau, stated that taxpayer money provides about 90 percent of contractors’ collective budget, and added that the lobbying arm wields enormous influence over refugee admissions policy. To the deep-pocketed contractors, every refugee crisis has the same solution: admit more refugees regardless of local communities’ ability to absorb them. Yet taxpayers have no say in how many refugees are admitted or where they’ll ultimately be settled.
To help put Trump’s refugee moratorium in perspective, begin with reality. The goal, as written, is “to protect the United States and its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States,” hardly anti-American. ISIS has declared that it will infiltrate its fighters into the refugee stream, a claim that FBI Director James Comey and other security experts confirmed. No one wants the U.S. to become like Angela Merkel’s Germany where this week 1,100 counter-terrorist police carried out 54 raids and arrested more than a dozen suspected jihadists.
Despite insistence from the pro-refugee camp, Trump’s executive order is on firm legal ground. The president has the authority, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212 (f), to suspend the entry of any class of aliens, immigrants or non-immigrants for as long as he deems necessary. Syria, who Trump indefinitely suspended, has been on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list since 1979.
As for the visa holders that Trump’s executive order may have inconvenienced, the State Department notes in response to frequently asked questions posted to its website that a visa allows a foreign national to travel to a port-of-entry, but does not guarantee his admission to the U.S. On denying admission, Trump is also within his statutory authority.
Individual anti-Trump protestors, among them professional agitators, are beyond reasoning with. But Democratic leadership shouldn’t be. Crying over each and every Trump statement or appointment isn’t going to win over middle-of-the-road Americans, the voters Democrats need in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Right now, when Democratic congressional leaders appear on television, moderates change the channel. Someone should tell Schumer.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization.