Refugee-resettlement agencies are scrambling to cut staff and, in some cases, close entire offices as they prepare for a reduction in refugee arrivals to the U.S. under President Donald Trump’s unfolding policy.
A pro-refugee group leaked an “official guidance” from the U.S. State Department to NPR Wednesday that said refugee arrivals will begin to dry up after March 3.
As WND reported last week, the one part of Trump’s embattled executive order that was not blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court, was his reduction of the fiscal-2017 cap on refugees from 110,000 set by Barack Obama to 50,000. The fiscal year ends Oct. 1.
Since 35,000 refugees have already arrived, that would mean another 15,000 would be allowed in by Oct. 1. The fact that the State Department is now saying new arrivals will end by March 3 means Trump could be planning to lower the ceiling further since it would be nearly impossible to hit the 50,000 cap in a little over two weeks.
“I guess it could be done, but they would have to ramp up from about 300 or 400 a day to 2,000 a day, and that’s a monumental task,” noted Ann Corcoran, who runs the watchdog website Refugee Resettlement Watch.
The court also did not rule on a provision of Trump’s executive order that would make it easier for states and cities to veto refugee placements.
After the jihadist attack on Paris in November 2015, more than 24 U.S. governors, most of them Republicans, notified the Obama administration that they did not want to receive any refugees from Syria, since two refugees from that country were implicated in the coordinated attacks that killed 130 and wounded more than 300.
But Secretary of State John Kerry quickly informed the governors that they had no authority under the Refugee Act of 1980 to block the placements of refugees in their states. Trump wants to give them that authority, which would mean the refugees would continue to arrive at “welcoming cities” but not those putting up barriers.
Of the 85,000 refugees resettled in U.S cities and towns last year, a record 40,000, or nearly half, were Muslims.
260,000 Muslims per year entering U.S.
Of course, the refugee program is not the only avenue through which Muslims migrate to the U.S.
Muslims also come to the U.S. on various other visa and green-card programs. According to Center for Immigration Studies, about 130,000 Muslims come to the United States every year on green cards, which offers them permanent lawful status. At least that many more come on temporary visas, including student visas, work visas, entrepreneurial visas, religious visas for imams, fiancé visas, the diversity visa lottery and family related visas. That makes for a grand total of about 260,000 foreign nationals entering the U.S. from Muslim-majority nations every year.
So refugee resettlement is a fairly modest but still important slice of the overall pie, especially for people from Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan who come from illiterate backgrounds and have no job skills, meaning they can’t get to the U.S. on a student or work-related visa.
The average annual number of refugees entering the U.S. has been around 60,000, so the 50,000 target set by Trump is not far from the historic norm. Corcoran has suggested he cut it further, down to 35,000 this year, and even lower for fiscal 2018, which starts Oct. 1.
Closing offices, cutting staff
Meanwhile, the nine volunteer agencies, or VOLAGs, which get paid by the State Department to resettle refugees in more than 300 U.S. cities and towns, often without the knowledge of local officials, are scrambling to downsize before the funds run dry.
World Relief, a division of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the nine primary resettlement agencies that contract with the U.S. State Department, announced it is closing five offices, including the one in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has been a hotbed of Somali refugee resettlement for years, building up the second-largest enclave of Somali refugees after Minneapolis.
The private resettlement agencies told NPR they can’t absorb such a drastic decrease, even if the numbers were to go back up again next year after new vetting procedures are put into place.
“It’s crushing,” Kay Lipovsky, office director of World Relief Columbus, told the Columbus Dispatch. “I fear the entire refugee program is at risk.”
Catholic Charities USA, an arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the single largest government-funded resettlement agency serving about 25 percent of the total refugees brought to the U.S. every year, is also rushing to fill the funding gaps. The agency’s refugee budget was funded 97 percent by the federal government, according to its IRS form 990 for 2014, the latest year available.
But last week, Catholic Charities started an $8-million fundraising campaign to bridge any gap created by the refugee program’s uncertain future, the Dispatch reports. The agency said an estimated 700 of its 54,000 jobs nationwide “might be at risk because of Trump’s executive order.”
Another government contractor, the International Rescue Committee, hopes to raise $5 million in what it called its “first-ever emergency appeal” to help its 29 offices nationwide “continue to support refugees” already in the United States.
Letting cities, states veto refugee placements
Trump has also directed the Homeland Security secretary to “devise a proposal” to give state and local governments “great involvement in the process of determining the placement of refugees in their jurisdictions.”
Mark Hetfield, CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, another of the nine primary resettlement contractors, told NPR he worries that giving governors the power to veto arrivals, one of the things Trump wants to do that the 9th Circuit ruling did not address, could unravel the resettlement program.
“The contractors are scared to death that state and local elected officials will play a greater role in the future, thus possibly messing up their cozy relationship with the feds,” Corcoran says. “They say they do extensive coordination with local officials but that’s only for the friendly ones.”
Mayors like Paul Harpole of Amarillo, Texas, and Ted Gatsas of Manchester, New Hampshire, have literally begged the federal government to slow down the influx of refugees into their cities, but to no avail.
‘Fake charity’ used to transform communities
All but three of the nine resettlement contractors are faith-based groups. “Together, they form a nationwide bureaucracy for resettlement,” NPR reports.
But Corcoran calls them “faux religious charities.”
“True religious charities would be sacrificing their own private money to help the stranger, not reaching in to taxpayers’ wallets,” she said.
Last week, WND reported that a longtime State Department insider, Mary Doetsch, penned an open letter in the Chicago Tribune blowing whistle on a refugee resettlement bureaucracy that is “laden with fraud and abuse.”
Doetsch, who recently retired, confirmed earlier reports by WND that it is not uncommon to have refugees approved for entry into the U.S. based simply on their personal testimony. She said illegal African asylum seekers land on the European island of Malta, where they are given refugee status by the United Nations and shipped to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, when, in fact, the identities of these migrants often cannot be verified.
But for now, it appears the resettlement offices will have to do something they never had to do under Obama – start downsizing their infrastructure. The State Department funds these agencies based on the number of refugees each organization resettles, a fact that Corcoran and others have long cited as the reason they are continuously lobbying for more refugees, which allows them to expand the nationwide resettlement bureaucracy.
Hetfield, in his comments to NPR, confirmed that such criticisms – tying federal dollars to refugee resettlement numbers – are justified.
“We have people that are hired specifically as refugee case workers,” said Hetfield. “If no refugees are arriving and if we are not getting funding to employ them, then we have to let them go and we lose our infrastructure to resettle refugees. That’s a huge issue.”
Corcoran told WND there is no incentive to slow the influx of refugees to any overburdened resettlement city – places like Amarillo and Manchester – because the resettlement agencies get paid by the head for every refugee they bring in.
“I have no sympathy for them because they should have long ago been doing this with private funds for their religious charitable work,” Corcoran said. “If they had, this would not be happening to them. It’s like a Ponzi scheme. The whole house of cards is now falling in.”
Poll: Hispanics Support Trump’s Deportations & Defunding Sanctuary Cities
The voters have spoken.
Well, well, well.
According to a new poll from Secure America Now, Hispanic voters support President Trump taking action on deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records and punishing the approximately 300 sanctuary cities for protecting undocumented criminals.
The Washington Examiner reports that the survey revealed that 56 percent of Hispanic voters approve of deporting criminal illegals; a bare 31 percent disapprove.
They also support President Trump’s executive order to end the Obama administration’s “catch and release” policy at the border.
46 percent of Hispanic voters favor cutting off federal grants to sanctuary cities, with 43 percent opposed — a narrower margin. But overall among voters, the difference was a whopping 59 percent who support it to 29 percent opposed.
69 percent of all voters back the President’s illegal immigration plans.
The Examiner had more:
“Trump voters approved 93 percent to 4 percent, but Clinton voters also approved 53 percent to 35 percent. Republicans gave near unanimous support 92 percent to 6 percent; independents 66 percent to 18 percent, and Democrats approved 50 percent to 37 percent. The majority of Hispanic voters also approved the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants 56 percent to 31 percent.”
The Examiner reports that “more weight was given in the poll to Democrats, 36 percent to 33 percent Republican,” so Trump’s numbers overall might even be better.
Powell: Travel from Countries Harboring Terrorists Should be Restricted
The vast majority of terror cases since 9/11 involve foreign-born parties.
President Trump has been working at breakneck speed since inauguration, and perhaps more care should have been exercised in drafting the executive order imposing a temporary halt on admittance of refugees and a 90-day travel ban from seven designated countries known for lawlessness and harboring terrorists.
Were it redrafted, the travel ban could stop the potential bad guys, but provide entry for existing green card holders and those with prior visa documentation. Nevertheless, the President had full and proper authority to issue such an order under the powers vested by the Constitution and the provisions of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Additionally, it was Barack Obama who had originally flagged these seven nations as “countries of particular concern,” and it goes without saying that the vast majority of Americans want appropriate steps taken to prevent terrorists’ entry into the United States.
So why didn’t the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals do its job and recommend modifications rather than simply upholding Seattle Judge James Robart’s restraint of President Trump’s executive order—the spirit and intent of which was to protect American citizens? The answer is politics, and specifically the politics of the Left, which has long had sympathy for many who would do harm to the U.S. A significant number of the American Left take the position that “an enemy of the United States is our friend” for they share the common goal of breaking down the traditional values and institutions in America as a precursor to their establishing a new socialist order.
The Left is now ascendant in the Democrat Party and it has the most megaphones in the so-called mainstream media. The Left not only dominates popular culture, but it’s also making new inroads into business and sports. Just ask Macy’s, Target and the NFL. In the end, the main bulwark against the Left’s efforts to transform America is the U.S. Constitution, the judiciary committed to upholding the rule of law, and law enforcement itself. Is it any wonder why the Black Lives Matter movement was more animated by discrediting and undermining the police and law enforcement than it was concerned about racial injustice?
The decision of the 9th Circuit serves as reminder that there are a significant number of men and women in black serving in the judiciary whose progressive judicial philosophy guides their decisions. Just as many of the professors, reporters and commentators in the universities and the media now feel their mission is to indoctrinate rather than to inform and teach, many of the judges appointed to the Federal Bench in the last 25 years also feel inclined to work around the law and the Constitution to advance the progressive political agenda—even giving favor to enemies of the United States over the security interests of American citizens.
For most Americans paying attention, the obvious was stated in Trump’s executive order:
Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.
Yet Judge Robart refuted this assertion in making his ruling against President Trump’s executive order, explicitly stating that “there had been no arrest of foreign nationals in the United States” from any of the seven countries—Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yeman, Somalia, Sudan and Libya–since 9/11. The 9th Circuit Court upheld Judge Robart’s order, also stating that there was “no evidence” that of any of those nations had produced a terror threat to the U.S. What?
Robart may not have had the resources or felt it appropriate to perform research for either side before making his ruling. But one might expect that during the five or six days that the 9th Circuit was deliberating, court clerks and staff would corroborate the assertion in Trump’s executive order that “numerous foreign-born individuals [from these seven countries] have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since 9/11.”
It should be common knowledge that the vast majority of terror cases since 9/11 involve foreign-born parties. In fact, a June 2016 report from the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and National Interest documents the crimes and arrests of 72 individuals whose country of origin was explicitly among every one of the seven terrorist-haven countries named in the Trump executive order— with the greatest number coming from Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
President Trump will undoubtedly prevail in overturning the stay of this executive order. While a minor setback, it’s also a wake-up call for his administration to anticipate opposition—even sabotage—at every turn and to be nuanced and fully prepared to overcome obstructionism and prevail in and against the Left’s theatres of political warfare—whether made-for-TV rent-a-mob demonstrations, fake news from the mainstream media, federal bureaucracies peppered with progressive holdovers, or stepped-up legal battles behind courtroom doors.
Scott Powell is a senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Starnes: Trump’s wall might have saved the life of this good man
Feb 16, 2017 by Todd Starnes
By all accounts David Kriehn, of Noblesville, Ind., was a good person. He was a gentle and caring man.
“A good person,” Harry Straut told television station WTHR. “They guy you liked to hang out with as well as work with.”
Kriehn was a former missionary – who managed Famous Dave’s, a popular barbecue joint near Indianapolis.
“Dave was an inspirational leader,” Straut told the television station.”
He was the kind of leader who put others ahead of himself – a great American.
On Feb. 12, Kriehn was driving home from work in the wee hours of the morning when he was hit from behind on Interstate 465. The force of the impact flipped over his car – he was ejected. Kriehn – a father and grandfather – died at a nearby hospital.
Police identified the motorist who struck Kriehn as Elizabeth Vargas Hernandez – a Mexican national. They say she did not have a driver’s license. They also say she was drunk.
And the Marion County Sheriff’s Office tells me Immigration Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on Hernandez.
She is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2015, she was accused of driving without a license – but she was not arrested. That’s according to the reporting of IndyChannel.com.
And WTHR reports a state police investigation “uncovered evidence that the woman entered the country illegally and has never held a driver’s license.”
How many more American citizens must die before our elected leaders take action?
Liberals want to protect people like the woman who killed Kriehn. They want to provide sanctuary to those who live among us illegally – those who would do us harm.
The cold hard reality is that David Kriehn, a father and grandfather, would still be alive today if only somebody had bothered to secure our borders.
Build that wall, Mr. President. Build it for people like David Kriehn.
Texas AG Defends Trump Travel Ban as Legal, Files Brief
Feb 16, 2017 by Sandy Fitzgerald
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton came to the defense of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying Thursday that the judges in two federal courts that ruled against it didn’t take a statute granting presidential authority into consideration.
“We’re saying basically the court didn’t consider the law as written,” Paxton told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” program.
“There’s a statute giving the president authority to block any class of aliens that might be detrimental to the United States, put restrictions on them, and do it as long as he wants. And so we want the court to actually consider the law as written instead of extraneous information.”
On Wednesday, the state of Texas and Paxton urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, through an amicus brief to reconsider its decision on the travel ban, reports The Washington Post.
In his court filing, he argued that Trump was within his presidential authority to issue an order that temporarily bans certain people from entering the country.
“Like every other State in the Union, [Texas] has a significant interest in protecting its residents’ safety,” Paxton wrote. “But the State itself possesses no authority to set the terms and conditions of entry for aliens seeking to enter the United States, or to restrict the entry of such aliens for foreign-affairs, public-safety, or national-security reasons. Instead, the State relies on the federal Executive Branch to carry out that function, pursuant to the laws of Congress.”
The law is based on nationality, not religion, Paxton said, as “88 percent of the Muslim people are still eligible to come to this country.”
“It only relates to seven of the so-called 50 Muslim countries,” Paxton told Fox News Thursday, “so, you know, that’s a red herring. The real issue here is the safety and security of our citizens.”
Paxton further said the court’s ruling in the Ninth Circuit was based on “giving due process to nonresident aliens, which we’ve never seen before…this was a three-judge panel. We’re hoping the entire court will hear this and consider the law as written.”
In addition, there were noncitizens who were not in the country considered, and “they have no constitutional rights…this court said they had due process rights. That’s pretty unheard of for people who are not even in this country,” Paxton said.
During the Obama administration, he continued, refugees “weren’t vetted, and we had serious concerns about the safety and security of our citizens, concluded Paxton . “I’m happy the president took this stance.”
Later Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” program, commenting that the Ninth Circuit court, in San Francisco, is “completely liberal and they have refused to follow the law in this case.”
“It is clear that the president of the United States has the discretion to protect the American people and I want to show you the nexus with Texas with regard to this travel ban,” said Abbott.”Remember the attack on Ohio State University just a couple of months ago by a Somali refugee? He came through the state of Texas on his way up to Ohio State.
“Remember last year an Iraqi refugee was arrested in Houston, Texas, because he tried to blow up a huge mall in? So these refugees from the countries that were identified by the president have proven to be a danger.”