I reported this morning that the Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), the lobbying arm of the refugee industry, was sounding pretty cocky about going for their 75,000 refugee cap for Fiscal Year 2019 which begins less than two weeks from now in spite of the President’s proposed 30,000 cap.
It is abundantly clear that the President has the power to set the cap (aka ceiling) under the Refugee Act of 1980.
(Indeed, it is also the case that there is no requirement in the law to admit any refugees.)
So what might make the contractors and their lobbyists make what sounds like a threatening statement:
We still have the desire, capacity, and resources to welcome at least 75,000 refugees to the United States in the coming year. And we will spend every waking moment looking for ways to do just that…
Admittedly they are desperate because they stand to lose millions of federal dollars if fewer refugees are admitted.
Could they be planning to get a friendly Senator or Congressman to use the upcoming Appropriations process and plant language in the State Department funding bill that would direct the President to bring in 75,000 refugees?
The strategy may be to use that upcoming State Department Appropriations Act to override the President’s determination under the Refugee Act. For this to occur properly, Congress would likely have to include in the Appropriations Act a specific line item of funding for 75,000 refugees accompanied by a statement that the funding was being provided despite the provisions of the Refugee Act. In other words, the Appropriations language would supersede existing law!
When you have a look at the legal principles, based on a Supreme Court decision, note that if they think they can do it with simple report language they are mistaken. It must be actually language in the bill itself.
Hopefully, Mike Pompeo’s legal team will be on the look-out for any attempt by the contractors and their lobbyists to use the appropriations process to usurp the President’s authority!
(But can we trust a legal team that might be comprised of Obama leftovers to find the sleeper provision in time?)
We will be watching!
If the contractors, who have millions of dollars at stake, and their Democrat pals pull off a dirty trick like this, it is just one more example of why American citizens are so sick of Washington and why we elected Donald Trump.
I’m going to try to be brief because faithful readers have heard this all before.
The President was going to be vilified if he had come in anywhere under the 75,000 the ‘humanitarian’ refugee industry was pushing for anyway. (See Pompeo announces 30,000 cap here yesterday.)
He should have, in my opinion, halted the entire program until it was completely reformed. *
Simply cutting the numbers for a few years will do NOTHING. If the basic flawed structure is left in place the big contractors will simply hold out until Trump is no longer in office. They have already said so!
Yes, one or two of the contractors might go belly-up with a paying client number of 30,000 or less to be divvied up by the present nine contractors, but the giants, like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the International Rescue Committee, will survive.
Why do political activists who want to see lower immigration numbers always play small-ball?
If the President said no refugees will be admitted until the program is reformed that would be the hammer to get the job done because those in Congress who want the cheap labor and those who want more Democrat voters would have been forced to cooperate with the White House.
Here are some of the reforms I want to see (assuming there is a demand for a refugee admissions program at all!):
~The present contracting system must go. For non-profit groups to be paid by the head for each refugee they place is an insane system that only encourages them to beg for more refugees each year whether our towns and cities are already in overload or not!
And, it sets up an advocacy (read political agitation) system potentially using taxpayer dollars to promote policies and candidates.
~States must have a larger role (the largest role!) in determining the number of refugees placed in their states since the federal government is at present burdening states by requiring state taxpayers to carry much of the load for refugee care (medical, schooling, housing, translation services, criminal justice and so forth).
In the present system the US State Department and the contractors sit down every week and determine which refugees will be your new neighbors without any input from state and local governments (LOL! Unless those governments have been determined to be friendly in advance!).
~The program must be reformed to promote transparency. Local citizens have a right to know who is coming to their towns. When President Trump first came in to office, his early executive orders on refugees actually mentioned that the Administration was going to visit refugee placement towns and cities to hear testimony and ascertain the impact the refugees are having in those locations. What happened to that idea?
In fact, right now, we can’t even find out which towns are targets. At least during the Obama years we could find which contractors and subcontractors were working in each location. That list maintained by the Refugee Processing Center is no longer available under the Trump Administration. Why?
Continuing on reforms that would promote transparency—for many prior years (although Obama cut this off toward the end of his Presidency) there were “scoping meetings” held by the US State Department in May or June of each year where people like me (us!) could at least voice our opinions about admissions for the coming fiscal year. They are no longer held even by Trump’s State Department.
~Citizens must be assured that the vetting process is as fool-proof as it could beand that additional steps are taken to eliminate fraud. By just reducing the numbers and not telling us—the public—about what measures are being taken to eliminate dangerous refugees and the ones committing fraud, we are still being left with great uncertainty and frankly fear!
~The United Nations should be removed from our decision-making process. We should pick our own refugees based on our own US interests and concerns. We don’t need the UN to tell us which people in the world need help.
~If big business is looking for cheap laborers, let’s have that debate. Stop talking about the refugee program as solely a humanitarian program. Have them come forward and identify themselves so citizens in communities, where the business is located, know who is coming to their towns and why.
~We must stop stretching refugee law by picking up illegal migrantsfrom places like Malta, South Africa, Israel or Australia.
More as I think of them, but this is getting too long! Simply reducing the numbers for a few years does nothing to solve the problem going forward.
The window for serious reform is rapidly closing. Does the Trump team assume the House and Senate will remain in Republican hands and they will get it done next year? Big assumption!
Or, is this (reducing numbers for a few years) it?
If so, in 2021 or 2025 it will be business as usual for the refugee industry and we might as well go lay on a sunny beach somewhere with a cool drink in hand!
*To head off the complaints from even people on the immigration restriction side, there could have been provisions made for the admission of some extreme cases.
I have no idea what they are talking about in the final paragraph of a statement put out yesterday by the Refugee Council USA(RCUSA) in response to the Secretary of State’s announcement that the CEILING (the top number that could be admitted to the US) will be 30,000 in FY19. See my post yesterday,here.
Over the years we have written extensively about RCUSA, a consortium set up under the auspices of Church World Service, of the federal refugee contractors and other assorted ‘human rights’ groups to promote refugee admissions, organize demonstrations against this President, and to lobby Congress since technically the contractors are not permitted to use their federal dollars to lobby (see ORR letter below).
Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Administration’s intention to set the refugee admissions level for Fiscal Year 2019 at 30,000, the lowest number ever in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugee Council USA, a coalition of resettlement agencies and other organizations that promote robust protections for refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable people in need of humanitarian assistance, is deeply disappointed in this retrenchment of U.S. leadership and deeply concerned about the impact of this decision on vulnerable refugees needing resettlement.
Mary Giovagnoli, RCUSA Executive Director, noted: “As a generous and compassionate country, the United States has a long, proud tradition of welcoming refugees. With today’s announcement, the United States is turning its back on thousands of vulnerable refugee families in harm’s way and abandoning its historic global leadership role in refugee protection and resettlement. The reduction in refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 is part of a systematic effort by the Trump administration to tear down humanitarian programs long afforded bipartisan support that local communities built over decades. The deliberate step-by-painful-step decimation of the resettlement program not only harms vulnerable refugee families and the communities that are ready to welcome them, but also strains the resources and threatens the stability of smaller, poorer refugee host countries left to fill the void created by the withdrawal of U.S. leadership.
But hope is not lost.
We still have the desire, capacity, and resources to welcome at least 75,000 refugees to the United States in the coming year. And we will spend every waking moment looking for ways to do just that as part of restoring the strong American tradition of welcoming refugees.
So what does that mean? Sounds downright menacing!
Are they going to hire more expensive lobbyists to try to get Congress to reverse the President? Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the President has all the power to set the cap for the coming year and they know that.
Lobbying not permitted!
Just about this time last year, the new Director of ORR reminded contractors that they could not use taxpayer money for lobbying at any level of government. But, RCUSA helps them get around lobbying restrictions as the contractors donate money to RCUSA.
Does anyone ever check to see if it is our taxpayer dollars going to RCUSA?
*** The nine major contractors (VOLAGS), all members of RCUSA, that monopolize the US Refugee Admissions Program are these:
Church World Service (CWS)
Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) (DFMS is its other name)
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
World Relief Corporation (WR)
And, the word is that a continued steep decline in the number of paying clients (aka refugees) entering the US will cause one or more of the contractors to go belly-up. You can bet the surviving contractors won’t be complaining since the nine are in constant competition with each other for more bodies to place in your towns and cities. A few less contractors won’t cause the remaining larger ones to lose sleep!
See Jim Simpson’s fantastic accounting of the billions the contractors have received from the US Treasury in the last ten years, here.