By Joe Guzzardi
December 29, 2016
When the 23-year-old Tunisian refugee Anis Amri plowed his truck into a group of innocent Berlin Christmas market shoppers, killing 12 and injuring more than 50, I was traveling through Munich.
In many subsequent conversations I had with my German friends about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s destructive refugee resettlement program, two things became immediately clear. First, Germans strongly oppose Merkel’s brazen embrace of Islamic refugees – her so-called “welcome culture” – that has overwhelmed the nation’s social system and created an unsafe, often deadly atmosphere for its citizens. Second, Germans admire President-elect Donald Trump for his unwavering commitment to bar Muslim refugees from entering the United States until a failsafe system is developed to vet them.
Asked last week what effect the Berlin Christmas market slaughter might have on Muslim refugee resettlement opinion, Trump was unbending. Inferring that no change is in sight, Trump said: “I’ve been proven to be right.”
If anything, German immigration officials are more bungling than their U.S. peers. Amri was arrested multiple times in Tunisia for low-level street crimes, including petty theft. Then, Amri was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for stealing a car. While serving a four-year arson sentence, he assaulted fellow prisoners. Once inside Germany, he sold drugs in a Berlin park. Nevertheless, Amri moved freely about Germany without authorities taking action. Surveillance on Amri ended in September.
German officials’ ineptitude is so staggering that a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union said Amri was like many other recent Middle Eastern arrivals to Germany. They are not from a war zone; they hide their true identities, countries of origin, age and status, and they do not qualify for social services or asylum. Amri had used six different aliases and claimed four different nationalities.
Here at home, President Obama – an avowed Merkel supporter – presses on with his dangerous, under-the-radar resettlement agenda. Because of his open embrace of an expansive refugee policy, Obama has left the U.S. vulnerable to the same type of terrorist attacks carried out in Berlin, accepting soaring asylum claims and cursory screening, a policy approach supported by ham-fisted, see-no-evil refugee advocacy harped on by political leaders.
While most of the recent concern regarding resettlement has focused on Iraq and Syria, the biggest admissions spike to the U.S. comes from jihadi hot spot Somalia, which is 99 percent Muslim. Since Obama’s 2009 inauguration, admissions have increased 250 percent. Obama’s critics view his accelerated resettlement stance as a cynical effort to admit as many refugees as possible before Trump takes office. Once here, refugees rarely lose their permanent residency status.
Trump pledged, in his first 100 days, to suspend immigration from terror-prone regions. He has not wavered from the stance that all vetting of people coming into our country will be “extreme.”
The U.S. needs a thoughtful refugee policy, not one that’s been on autopilot since the 1980 Refugee Act. Under §212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Trump will have the unilateral authority to shut down any form of immigration at any time. Furthermore, §207 gives the president the authority to set the total number of refugees in a particular year. Until a process is in place that guarantees Americans’ safety, Trump, on his first day as president, can and should shut down refugee admissions.
A Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow, Joe’s email is [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.