By Joe Guzzardi
April 10, 2015
Stealth Syrian refugee resettlement into the United States is escalating. Little publicized, the effort to bring refugees from terrorist Syria with its ties to ISIS and al-Shabab into mainstream America is a top priority for many international aid groups and a goal President Obama endorses. Last year, Obama issued an executive memorandum announcing the establishment of a White House task force that includes his cabinet and is designed to facilitate refugee integration. Obama referred to the refugees as “new Americans.”
Earlier this week, David Miliband, the International Rescue Committee’s president and chief executive officer, demanded that the U.S. accept 65,000 Syrian refugees before the end of 2016. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard is on board and promised that the U.S. will bring between 1,000 and 2,000 by September and several thousand more in 2016. Richards insisted that Americans don’t need to worry about terrorists possibly working their way into America under the guise of being refugees. Instead, Richards promised that they would be economically strapped widows, children, and elderly with debilitating medical conditions. Given the Obama administration’s duplicity on immigration, Richards’ statement defies credibility and is, on its face, farcical.
The refugees’ final destination once they arrive in the U.S. is always shrouded in mystery. Scant information is distributed to local municipal governments until the refugees have gotten to whichever town one of the resettlement agencies has chosen for them. Spartanburg, S.C., for example, just learned that World Relief plans to open an office in its city, a sure sign that refugees are on the way. But the resettlement process is so swift that residents don’t have an opportunity to hold public hearings, or conduct impact studies on how the refugees’ presence will effect local schools, medical care, housing or law enforcement.
World Relief is one of nine for-profit agencies that work under contract and in concert with the federal government. The money involved is considerable. A 2014 audit of Lutheran Social Services in Minnesota, another resettlement agency, showed total revenue of $103 million including $92 million which came from taxpayers to fund the arrival of mostly Somalis. Somali integration into the Minneapolis area has been troubled. Last week, more than 100 Somalis stormed a St. Cloud technical school and instigated a brawl after a student posted a social media image of an alleged ISIS member. And, according to Minnesota Public Radio, 15 Somalis have left their Minnesota homes to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS.
Typically, once refugees settle in a certain American city, more refugees are sent to the same destination. Consider Buffalo which is now home to more than one third of New York’s 3,700 refugees. Among the other expenses Buffalo residents must suddenly absorb is costly, culturally-engaged physical and psychological health care.
Over the last three decades, U.S refugee policy has been turned on its head. Until 1980, private entities bore resettlement’s expense. Since then, the federal government funds resettlement with taxpayer dollars, a lucrative enterprise for the placing agency that nets about $1,800 per refugee.
In 1995, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees decreed that resettlement should be temporary, and that voluntary repatriation should be the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, refugees quickly become accustomed to the host of benefits their legal immigrant status provides them: social security numbers, work permits, multiple welfare programs, and eventual citizenship.
While the administration welcomes Iraqis, Syrians and Somalis, it also recently embarked on another refugee program which will fly Central Americans minors from their Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran homes to the U.S.
Compassionate Americans accept more refugees than all other nations combined. But Obama’s current open door policy isn’t sustainable. Refugee admissions should be governed by the U.S.’s obvious limits to provide for the worlds needy.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]