By Joe Guzzardi
August 19, 2016
August is American’s big vacation month especially for workers on Capitol Hill. With Congress away, lobbyists, lawyers and other elites head for tony beach areas where they can mingle with their peers. President Obama is on Martha’s Vineyard playing golf with NBA superstars even though a growing number in the national media have urged him to visit flood-ravaged Louisiana. Bad optics, they say, to be on the links when 13 people have died and as many as 11,000 have been temporarily housed in shelters.
The President’s stubborn unwillingness to take time away from Martha’s Vineyard to visit Louisiana is an example of the growing divide between Washington D.C. elites and everyday Americans. Apparently, thousands of displaced Louisianans aren’t reason enough for the president to interrupt his taxpayer-funded golf game to make a reassuring visit to flood victims.
Indifference to the Louisiana crisis is just the latest illustration of how the Obama administration shows disregard for Americans’ well-being. The controversial refugee resettlement program that is on target to bring 10,000 Syrian Muslims to the U.S. before September 30, a 500 percent increase from last year’s 1,600, has been a festering sore for nearly a year.
From the moment Obama announced his upwardly revised Syrian refugee goal, done without congressional approval, many states’ governors and their residents strongly objected. The latest polling, done by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, found that 64 percent of likely voters reject this refugee plan.
Americans want a sober evaluation of the risks inherent in resettling refugees from a nation that has vowed to destroy the U.S. In the last 11 months, 184 cities and towns in 38 states have received Syrians, mostly against their will. Little wonder then that citizens, whose communities have to absorb the refugees, were dismayed when Obama gave temporary protected status, actually amnesty, to Syrians already living here, including illegal visa overstays.
More than just Syrians are included in Obama’s grand scheme. According to the State Department, as of August 9, 2016, the administration has admitted 61,232 total refugees this fiscal year, of whom 8,114 are from Syria, 7,322 are from Iraq, 7,067 are from Somalia, 2,838 are from Iran, and 1,924 are from Afghanistan. Each of those nations is an enemy of America.
Adding to mainstream America’s frustration are the studies which show that a greater number of refugees could be protected if they were placed in neighboring countries. Resettling a refugee from Syria in the U.S. costs 12 times more for a five-year period than caring for that individual near his home country. Many more refugees could be provided for abroad, and at the same time, the American homeland would be more secure. Nevertheless, Obama proceeds, and insists that accepting refugees is “who we are.”
But if mass resettlement represents “who we are,” how can Obama explain that according to government data first reported by Daily Caller reporter Peter Hasson, almost all Virginia’s refugees since October have been placed in towns with low incomes and high poverty rates, far away from Washington D.C.’s wealthy suburbs. Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital while suburban Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington, among nation’s wealthiest and home to the D.C. elite, have received only nine.
The rich and powerful who embrace more refugee resettlement call themselves compassionate and caring while labeling concerned, skeptical citizens as racist and xenophobic. To look at the refugee distribution in and around D.C., however, the policy makers seem to share the same worries about inviting refugees into their neighborhoods as the rest of America.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact Joe at [email protected] Find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19