Two days ago, I reportedon the total number of refugees being rushed in to the US right now presumably to beat an expected cut-off of resettlement from at least some countries (terror-producing) of the world after Donald Trump becomes President on January 20th.
And, although we reported new proposed sites have been placed on hold (see Bloomington, IN), there are still plenty of existing sites where refugees are being placed at the highest rate in recent memory.
Here is a map from Wrapsnet.orgshowing the numbers and placement of Syrians admitted to the US in the first ten weeks of this fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2016 to Dec. 10, 2016). 2,671 have been placed, and at this rate we would expect 13,889 by September 30th, 2017, if Donald Trump doesn’t do what he promised.
Here are the top ten states so far in FY2017 receiving Syrians.
Data from Wrapsnetputs the percentage of Muslims at 98% and the vast majority of those are Sunnis (remember it is the UN choosing our refugees!).
Just a reminder, this is only data for resettled refugees and does not take in to account Syrians getting in to the US through other means.
We have a lot of experience with the word “temporary” and how it doesn’t mean what it means when it comes to immigration programs! Therefore when we saw what initially looked like a news report at The Hillalarm bells began to ring.
However, note that this story about a newly introduced bill is actually an opinion piece written by the college professor whose idea this is.
And, before you go crazy, know that any bill introduced now is dead in the water and its sponsor is only doing it for brownie points. Congress has adjourned and all bills die with the Congress and must be reintroduced in the new Congress in January. So hereis the op-ed by Dr. Amitai Etzioni at The Hill:
Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) added to his long list of credits when, in the dying hours of the 114th Congress, he introduced a bill that should cheered everyone’s holidays—HR 6510: The Save the Children Act of 2016.
The act authorizes granting temporary visas to 25,000 Syrian refugee children, ages three to 10, to live in the U.S. until the civil war in their country ends. These children, to be chosen by their families or orphaned, will be able to live in the homes of American families who will volunteer to host them. The costs of their care will be covered by the host families themselves or by charitable organizations.
These visas will expire six months after our government determines that hostilities have ceased and a durable peace process has begun. [So what if it is decades before peace returns to Syria?—ed] The grace period will allow time for the families of the children to re-establish their households in Syria before the children return.
The Department of State, together with Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services will coordinate the inflow and return of these children.
The bill grew out of a policy proposal formulated by Dr. Amitai Etzioni of The George Washington University. It was drafted by Layth Elhassani at Covington and Burling LLP as part of his pro bono work.
Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor and Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University.
“We in Bloomington and groups all throughout the United States are waiting for the new budget to come out. Like a lot of vulnerable populations, we will have to see how much funding will be allocated.”
(Refugee promoterDiane Legomsky)
This is the first in what I expect to be many reports from controversial potential refugee resettlement sites that the Obama State Department was attempting to get open quickly. Why? Because actions by Congress to limit funding in the appropriations process are causing the DOS and the ORR to start pulling in the reins on new sites.
Elections have consequences and the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)may be changed beginning January 21, 2017 (the day after inauguration day).
We expect the present political appointees, Anne Richard at the Dept. of State and Bob Carey at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS) to be job hunting soon if they aren’t already. Indeed, they could go back (revolving door!) to the ‘non-profit’ resettlement contractor they both came from—the International Rescue Committee.
Showing once again the impact that federal funding (or the lack of it!) has on local resettlement offices, the announcement that the planned program is now on hold for Bloomington, IN was reported yesterday at the Herald Times (emphasis is mine):
The effort to resettle refugees in Bloomington has been put on hold as local and national aid organizations await details of the incoming presidential administration’s 2017 budget plans.
The announcement came Saturday from Bloomington Refugee Support Network chairwoman Diane Legomsky, who said while the organization is no longer expecting refugees to arrive this spring, she is confident this is just a delay of the inevitable.
“We in Bloomington and groups all throughout the United States are waiting for the new budget to come out. Like a lot of vulnerable populations, we will have to see how much funding will be allocated. However, this is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’” Legomsky said. “We certainly anticipate that resettlement will be happening here; it just might be in late 2017 or in 2018.”
The State Department has been clear that it considers Bloomington an ideal resettlement city: In addition to being extremely welcoming, it is an exceptionally well-resourced city, able to resettle and give support to refugees in a very cost-effective way. Any budgeting decisions about resettlement are based on national, rather than state or local, considerations, Legomsky said.
Local efforts to welcome refugees to Bloomington have sparked opposition from the Grassroots Conservative political group, which has raised concerns at public forums about safety and potential cost to host communities.
Earlier this month, Congress passed a continuing spending resolution to fund the federal government through April 28, providing an opportunity for the new administration to put its imprint on the 2017 budget. [Will Trump severely restrict federal funding in the second half of FY2017?—ed]
President-elect Donald Trump was critical of the Syrian resettlement program, in particular, during his recent presidential campaign, and he called for suspension of immigration from areas of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism until “extreme vetting” measures could be put in place.
The law is very clear on this last point, the President of the United States can stop immigration from any region of the world he wishes. More here (but warning this requires a paid subscription).
One commenter said that local millionaire developers (who have empty apartments) will be disappointed! Remember refugee resettlement is big business! Federal dollars (your money) grease the skids.
Look for more from me going forward about the federal Budget and Appropriations process in the new year.