Secretary of State John F. Kerry briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the new goal, which is an increase from 85,000 in fiscal 2016 and 70,000 in the previous three years. It represents a 57 percent increase in refugee arrivals since 2015, as ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have spurred an exodus of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, Canada and other regions.
“That does represent a substantial increase in our commitment to addressing the refugee problem around the world,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, adding the U.S. is the world’s largest humanitarian donor when it comes to refugees. “But I think what we need to see around the world is a greater commitment to not just shunting this burden off to a handful of countries.”
Mr Obama would have liked to increase it even more, but was constrained by resources available and a Congress which was not interested in such.
The increase comes even as the question of refugees has emerged as an issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump initially called for a halt to Muslims seeking to enter the United States but later modified that stand to say the ban should apply to any applicants coming from a country with a history of terrorism. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has called for the United States to accept more refugees from Syria, which has been embroiled in conflict for more than five years.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had previously said that the United States should increase from 10,000 to 65,000 refugees accepted from Syria alone.
We had, in effect, two major party candidates, one of whom campaigned on increasing the number of refugees accepted, and the other who campaigned on lowering that number. Guess which one won.
The globalists are appalled. From The Economist, a British publication:
A former Liberian refugee running for the Senate shows the promise of asylum
December 5, 2019
Helena, Montana — America did not settle a single refugee in October. In November it admitted under 1,500, the lowest total for that month since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. A new federal cap imposes a limit of 18,000 to be resettled next year, down from 85,000 in 2016. Canada now welcomes more refugees than its more populous neighbour.
The decades-long period in which America resettled more refugees than the rest of the rich world combined has come to an end. The country long abided by an international convention that individuals who feared persecution because of their political opinions or their membership of particular social groups should get asylum. During the cold war, refugees were overwhelmingly perceived as democrats fleeing communist repression.
Definitions have since expanded. That is partly due to changes in attitudes and domestic laws. In 1994 the first asylum-seeker won sanctuary on the basis of fearing persecution over sexual orientation. The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled in 2014 that Guatemalan women with repressive male companions could count as a group deserving refugee status. In 2016 it added a similar ruling to cover Salvadorean women who are abused. But the Trump administration is trying to curtail the broadening of who can count as a “persecuted group”. The recent dip in resettlement numbers mostly reflects the shrinking federal cap on them (see chart). A narrower definition of who may claim asylum would also keep numbers low.
As one might have expected, the article then turns to a sob story:
Stricter resettlement policies come with a cost. They run the risk of shutting out people like Wilmot Collins. As a young man ensnared in Liberia’s civil war in 1990, Mr Collins cheated death. Trapped in gun battles in Monrovia, the capital, he was twice almost killed by government soldiers. Seized by a rebel while he foraged for food, he narrowly avoided execution. Elsewhere, rebels beheaded his brother. Half-starved and sick with malaria, he fled with his wife aboard a cargo ship.
Four years later—and only after lengthy vetting by un and American officials while in Ghana—he reached Helena, Montana’s sleepy capital. He and his wife left, he recalls, with “nothing but the clothes on our backs”, arriving in an alien, snow-flecked place. They stand out. Barely 0.6% of Montanans are African-American. Explore Helena’s dainty streets, cafés or offices and almost only white faces appear.
The article continues to tell us what a great guy Mr Collins is, and how he has been well-accepted in almost lily-white Montana. In 2017, he was elected Mayor of Helena, and now plans on challenging Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) in 2020. America, the article tells is, is richer for having more refugees.
But America is also a country in which candidates campaign for office while making promises as to what they plan to do while in office, and President Trump is doing what he said he would do. If the United States settled zero refugees in October, that is pretty much what the people who voted for Mr Trump wanted. White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller reportedly suggested setting the cap at zero for 2020, and it was eventually settled at 18,000.
That’s 18,000 too many.
In FY 2019, the ballooning federal budget deficit just barely missed the trillion dollar mark, coming in at $986 billion. When we are borrowing at such prodigious rates, the last thing we need to be doing is importing destitute refugees. Stories abound concerning the homeless in America, and the s(tuff) being dumped¹ on city streets in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Portland (Oregon) Planning and Sustainability Commission proposed that new city buildings “be required to include spaces where houseless Portlanders can “rest,” which could include sleeping and pitching tents.”
We are not taking care of all of our own people; why should we bring in more? In good, liberal California housing costs have become so inflated that a three bedroom, one bath, 1,174 ft² fixer-upper house on a 6,098 ft² lot in a not-that-desirable city can list for $349,950, resulting in that large population of people who are homeless because they can’t afford even the fixer-uppers. In the Appalachians, the prices are much lower, but we still have millions of people living in what could be best described as shacks, because the job market here is so poor.
It simply makes no sense to admit refugees with little money and frequently no decent understanding of English. When we admit a minor child refugee who speaks little English, the public schools become burdened with having to spend tax dollars to accommodate educating such a student. When we ‘settle’ dirt-poor refugees somewhere, we are having to spend tax dollars to feed, clothe and house them, even though some of our own citizens are sleeping under bridges and out on the streets.
Americans who voted for President Trump were voting for an America First policy, and that is what we ought to have.
¹ – Pun very much intended.
Please visit my Red State story archive for more of my articles.
My personal website, The First Street Journal, includes articles not necessarily in Red State’s paradigm.
You can follow me on Twitter.