In a sneaky manuever last Friday night, Senator Ted Kennedy attached the “Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act” to the National Defense Authorization bill— a bill which has fast become a Christmas tree adorned with assorted and unrelated ornaments. No hearings, no discussion, no chance for the public to comment, no wonder Congress’ approval rating is at its lowest point in history.
As we have previously said, the State Department has all the authority it needs to bring Iraqi refugees to our cities and towns within its annual quota for FY 2008. In fact, just yesterday Asst. Sec. of State Ellen Sauerbrey speaking at a meeting of the UNHCR–United Nations Refugee Agency–in Geneva, Switzerland, reiterated the US position that we need to care for the refugees in the region. As for resettlement, she said the Administration was proposing a hefty number of Iraqis be admitted to the US:
…..we have a goal of resettling 12,000 [as part of the 70,000 overall resettlement quota for the year] Iraqi refugees in 2008 for whom that durable solution is most appropriate.
Senator Kennedy’s original bill (analysis here) called for 15,000 Iraqis per year for 4 years over and above the annual overall quota. I was told on Saturday night by Senator Sessions (R-AL) that they held the number to 5000 and that Kennedy promised his colleagues he would not increase the numbers in conferance committee (the House passed the bill without the Iraqi refugee amendment back in May).
Here are a few reasons among many for this late night manuever. Because of security concerns the public would go ballistic if there was any real and open discussion about bringing thousands of Muslim Iraqis to America in a crisis fashion presumably with little time to scrutinize documents in countries such as Syria and Jordan. Look out Harrisonburg, VA, Warren, MI, and Denver, CO among other cities.
As we have said before, while our brave men and women are dying for Iraq’s future are we willing to open our arms to Muslim Iraqis who didn’t have the guts to stay and fight for their own country? Kennedy and his buddies at the UN have sissified the world. How about if those “millions” of refugees who have run to Syria went back to Iraq and threw out the insurgents?
And finally, Senator Ted Kennedy is pushing this “crisis” bill to send a signal to the public that the war is lost–with help from his friends in the mainstream media. See this Time Magazine article last week with its punch line: “US lost the war in Iraq.” Really? I guess if Time and Teddy say so, it must be so.
Senator Ted Kennedy is the author of the Refugee Act of 1980 which has to date brought over 2 million refugees to live in America, more than 20,000 of those are Iraqi Muslims. Gee, I wonder how many were resettled on Nantucket? How many third-worlders are playing touch football on the lawns of Hyannisport? Guesses anyone?
We have extensively followed the Iraqi refugee issue, go here to see our entire coverage.
End note: Our buddies at Church World Service have been lobbying for Kennedy’s bill.