What if I told you that President Trump could unilaterally shut off the stream of refugees for the remainder of his presidency and force long-term reforms to the entire refugee program — all without interference from the courts?
It’s actually quite simple.
The president controls refugee intake unconditionally
The Refugee Act of 1980 (8 U.S.C. §1157(a)(2)) grants the president unilateral authority to set the cap and countries of origin of refugees. It merely requires the State Department to consult with and inform the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to setting the cap in a written report in the weeks preceding the next fiscal year. That time is now. Obama used it to the detriment of the country to bring in over 100,000 refugees in his last year in office; Trump can use it to protect our security by setting the cap at zero.
While the 1980 Refugee Act was sold to the public as a way of granting Congress and the states more input, it left the door open for a president who doesn’t respect his nation’s concerns to unilaterally bring in as many refugees as he desires. This has been a source of much consternation for conservatives, because over the past two decades, this has allowed the presidents to flood the country with hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, Iraq, and other places that do not fit the description of religious or ethnic persecution. Now the shoe is on the other foot. The president most certainly may bring in as few as he wants. There is no mandatory minimum. Now that he is no longer working off Obama’s FY 2017 determination, he can chart his own course, without Congress and without the meddling courts.
Refugee program serves nobody but unscrupulous private contractors
The refugee program is broken beyond repair. We spend 12 times as much money resettling migrants in America as it would cost to resettle them in their respective regions. Moreover, as Christians and Jews in the Middle East are becoming extinct, much of the resettlement program has become a fundamental transformation of America by bringing in thousands of non-assimilating Muslims. The cost to Americans in terms of welfare, security, and culture is staggering [D1] — and it all enriches self-promoting and parasitic refugee contractors.
We’ve brought in close to one million refugees since FY 2004. According to the State Department’s refugee database, America has admitted roughly 160,000 Iraqi refugees since FY 2007. We have admitted over 143,000 Somalis over the past two decades, 24 years after the civil war commenced. Why should we actively bring in more?
How does the scheme work? As I write in Stolen Sovereignty:
As far back as 2000, David M. Robinson, a former acting director of the refugee bureau in the State Department, described the insidious power of the contractors as follows: The agencies form a single body [that] wields enormous influence over the Administration’s refugee admissions policy. It lobbies the Hill effectively to increase the number of refugees admitted for permanent resettlement each year and at the same time provides overseas processing for admissions under contract to the State department. In fact, the federal government provides about ninety percent of its collective budget. If there is a conflict of interest, it is never mentioned.
By setting the cap as close to zero as possible, Trump could break the back of this insidious scam within just one year and end the stolen sovereignty whereby the UN and private NGOs determine the future of our country and fundamentally transform local communities[D2]
Recognize Kurdistan and have it resettle those truly persecuted
The few truly persecuted refugees, such as the Yazidis and Assyrians in Iraq, have no interest in moving to America. They want to live in their homeland. We should recognize an independent and stable Kurdistan in northern Iraq and refocusing the refugee program on resettling the persecuted within their own lands.
President Trump promised to reorient the refuge program towards resettling truly persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, the statutory definition of a refugee, close to their homeland. Trump was absolutely right in focusing on safe zones rather than UN resettlement. A recent Center for Immigration Studies analysis of a “UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs” report demonstrates that not only is the refugee program a ruse for socially transforming America, but it also doesn’t even address the neediest individuals and does not therefore harmonize with humanitarian goals. "Contrary to UNCHR and U.S. official claims, it is not necessarily the most vulnerable and urgent cases that are being submitted for resettlement,” writes Nayla Rush of the CIS.
This is where Kurdish independence comes into play, killing two birds with one stone. As we’ve noted before at CR, from a foreign policy standpoint we should already be supporting Kurdish independence in northern Iraq. The Kurd bloc is the only stable pro-Western ally that serves as a hedge against both Iran and the Sunni Salafists and could actually hold ground in Iraq. In addition, an independent Kurdistan could serve as a homeland for all those persecuted in Syria and Iraq. The Kurds have already agreed to serve as that safe zone. By spending a fraction of the taxpayer funds we spend on the current program, we could resettle so many more people there, help build up an Israel-style ally in the heart of enemy territory, and achieve our humanitarian goals as well. The only ones who stand to lose are the taxpayer-funded NGOs.
President Trump’s already small list of accomplishments is dwindling. From Obamacare and debt to taxes, the Iran deal, religious liberty, moving the Israel embassy, and getting out of Afghanistan — it sure seems like the election never even happened. Some of those items face complications from Congress. But when it comes to refugee policy and recognizing Kurdish independence, Trump can unilaterally control our course. It’s an opportunity he will not get again.