House committee passes refugee reform, but is it real?

· March 17, 2016  
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Rep. Bob Goodlatte at John A. Boehner's resignation. Tom Williams | AP Photo

We have one House committee moving in the right direction on the critical issue of refugees. For those of us who have been completely ignored in warning about the program’s security concerns and endemic social transformation, this is a good first step. The question remains whether this is a real effort to deal with the issue or a half-measure designed to go in the ash heap of legislative sausage-making.

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill capping annual refugee admissions to 60,000 a year, down from Obama’s proposed level of 85,000. The bill, H.R. 4731, is sponsored by the committee chairman, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Raul Labrador(R-ID). Although this would have been a good first step 10 years ago, at this point we need a full moratorium. One has to wonder why they ignored Rep. Brian Babin’s temporary moratorium, the first legislation to deal with this issue and one we spotlighted last year.

Nonetheless, the Goodlatte/Labrador bill was enhanced by an amendment from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), which would allow states and localities to legally block refugee resettlement within their respective jurisdictions by placing the question to the people on a ballot initiative. This is similar to a proposal I call for in my upcoming book, Stolen Sovereignty, although I think an even better idea would be to bar all resettlement unless the county government affirmatively approves it.  This idea is long overdue and kudos to Steve King for proposing it. Sen. Cruz introduced a similar bill earlier this year.

One must also ask why seven Democrats opposed this common sense amendment to allow the people of their districts to determine the future of their neighborhoods, unencumbered from social transformation propagated by unelected refugee resettlement groups. Our immigration laws were always designed to protect states from such transformation, not force it upon them.

But here’s the problem. The Republican Party is so broken that even when one committee passes a good bill, and even if they do so with sincerity, the entire party does not share those values. They will never make this a bicameral push on the floor of both the House and Senate and direct all their members to go home and message this bill to their constituents and to the media. They will never encourage their candidates to run on this issue and place Democrats on defense.

How hard is it to promote a message of no societal transformation without representation? According to recent polling data, 84% of Americans believe immigration from the Middle East is “very or somewhat dangerous” and just 25% of Americans and 38% of Democrats want to bring in Syrian refugees.

This is the conundrum conservatives have faced for years. Even when we can cajole the party into taking action on an issue, how can conservatives force them to actually mean it and see legislative action through all the way? You can’t force a group of people to fight for something they don’t truly believe at heart.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.