Comment worth noting: Hey, Grover Norquist, Reagan did not sign Refugee Act into law

Norquist and Republican friends should have been praising Jimmy Carter in their recent letter!

Update March 1:  Even the head of Human Rights First accepts Grover’s rewrite of history, here.

I should have noticed this myself!

Yesterday when we wrote about Georgia and Jimmy Carter, reader ‘tomasrose’ sent us this comment (below).   ‘Tomasrose’ is referring to the letter that has the earmarks of a Grover Norquist project written all over it, signed by Norquist’s sidekick Suhail Khan and 8 other Republican open-borders agitators asking for more refugee resettlement.

We reported the story here, and here is the letter itself.

We know about Reagan’s 1986 amnesty (which must have made Norquist happy, or maybe he was behind it!), but let’s not ‘credit’ him with the Refugee Act of 1980 as well!


According to Grover Norquist, Jason Carter needn’t feel any family kinship with the 1980 refugee act since it was Ronald Reagan who signed it into law, not Jimmy Carter. The reason the Refugee industry is so robust is because of general ignorance about the program. Exhibit A of this ignorance is found in Grover’s letter to Republicans asking them to let more questionable refugees in.

In the letter he states:
“President Reagan’s belief in America’s role as a refuge for the persecuted went
beyond his words. Thirty three years ago, he signed into law the Refugee Act of 1980…”

To set the historical record straight, here is Carter’s signing statement on March 18th, 1980 (the bill had been spearheaded by Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden in the Senate):

It gives me great pleasure to sign into law S. 643, the Refugee Act of 1980, which revises provisions for refugee admissions and assistance. This legislation is an important contribution to our efforts to strengthen U.S. refugee policies and programs.

The Refugee Act reflects our long tradition as a haven for people uprooted by persecution and political turmoil. In recent years, the number of refugees has increased greatly. Their suffering touches all and challenges us to help them, often under difficult circumstances.

The Refugee Act improves procedures and coordination to respond to the often massive and rapidly changing refugee problems that have developed recently.

It establishes a new admissions policy that will permit fair and equitable treatment of refugees in the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It allows us to change annual admissions levels in response to conditions overseas, policy considerations, and resources available for resettlement. The new procedures will also ensure thorough consideration of admissions questions by both the Congress and the administration.

Moreover, the Refugee Act will help refugees in this country become self-sufficient and contributing members of society. Until now, resettlement has been done primarily by private persons and organizations. They have done an admirable job, but the large numbers of refugees arriving now create new strains and problems. Clearly, the Federal Government must play an expanded role in refugee programs.

The Refugee Act is the result of close cooperation between the administration and the Congress, with important support from those who work directly with refugees in State and local governments and private groups. Everyone who worked so long on its passage can be proud of this contribution to improved international and domestic refugee programs and to our humanitarian traditions.

Note: As enacted, S. 643 is Public Law 96-212, approved March 17.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply