I have no time to say much about this sob story in South Carolina’s The State newspaper about Muslim refugees resettled in the Carolinas (mostly in North Carolina) because I have to dash to jury duty again today. But, I can’t not mention this little blip from Jason Lee. We wrote about him on many occasions when he was chosen to work for a refugee contractor, World Relief, in Spartanburg, SC in 2015.
That was a resettlement plan that resulted in a heated controversy. Spartanburg is also in Rep. Trey Gowdy’s district and despite efforts by the Immigration Subcommittee chairman (Gowdy!) to question the choice of Spartanburg as a new resettlement site (he wrote a letter to Sec. of State Kerry), it went ahead as planned.
Jason Lee is wrong. Congress does not approve the level of resettlement for the coming year (it is not an act of Congress).
The President of the United States proposes the level in September preceding the fiscal year and sends his determination to Congress for “consultation,” but there is no legal requirement for Congress to agree to whatever number the President has chosen. Of course, if they give the President money to admit a certain number of refugees through the Appropriations process, then that is tantamount agreement to the numbers.
That said, Donald Trump can and should, because he has the power to do it, limit the number set by Obama on day one of his Presidency. He can halt immigration from certain regions of the world, or pause the refugee program altogether. In fact, he would not be the first to pause the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program. In 2002, the program was almost ground to a halt as fear grew in the wake of the 9/11 attack.
Here is what Lee told The State:
Congress has approved admitting 110,000 refugees in fiscal 2017.
It will be difficult for President Trump to cut that number, said Jason Lee, former director of the refugee assistance group World Relief Spartanburg. [As you know, World Relief is one of nine major federal refugee resettlement contractors, paid by the head to place refugees in your towns—ed]
“A number of questions won’t be answered until President Trump takes office,” Lee said. “(But) he’s already backed off not allowing Muslim immigrants into the country.”
Read it all here.
See our archive on Spartanburg by clicking here. (I warn you there are many posts there!)
It is through the Spartanburg controversy that I formed my opinion of SC Governor Nikki Haley (Trump’s nominee to be Ambassador to the UN).