Obama has unilaterally remade this country without the consent of Congress and has induced social transformation without representation. The good news is that a newly elected President Trump can shut down those edicts with the stroke of a pen, especially as it relates to immigration and refugee resettlement. And unlike Obama’s imperial abuse of executive orders, Trump would actually be following the spirit and letter of immigration statutes duly passed by Congress in doing so. He has a mandate to shut off refugee resettlement from the Middle East and can act upon it on day one of his administration.
In general, immigration statutes were crafted to give the president broad latitude to ratchet down immigration as needed, but not to expand it beyond the baseline law. Obama has blatantly violated immigration law by refusing to enforce these statutes and by creating numerous programs that never existed in the first place or exceeded statutory authority.
One area of frustration for conservatives in Congress has been the refugee crisis. As we’ve noted before, 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. As I warned in September, Obama is front-loading refugee resettlement to lock in as many refugees for fiscal year 2017, even after he leaves office.
According to the State Department’s refugee database, Obama has brought in 15,125 refugees in just the first six weeks of this fiscal year alone. On an annualized basis, that is a pace not seen since the inception of the modern program in 1980, even surpassing the early ‘90s when we admitted record numbers of refugees following the collapse of the Soviet Union. And unlike those coming the former Soviet Union who yearned for democracy, this influx is primarily from parts of the Middle East that not only represent a security threat, but experience has demonstrated is hard to Americanize. Those admitted so far this year include 1,940 from Syria, 1,960 from Somalia, and 1,870 from Iraq. While individuals admitted in small quantities can be assimilated, the lesson of Europe and our growing Middle Eastern immigration over the past decade has proven that importing large quantities from a culture of Sharia is suicide of a nation.
Also, notice how 20 years after the collapse of Somalia, we are still bringing in thousands of refugees every year — even topping the amount from Syria? Just this week, the first Somalis in the Minneapolis ISIS cell were sentenced on terrorism charges and the federal judge presiding over the case warned that there is a broader problem. “This community needs to understand there is a jihadist cell in this community. Its tentacles spread out,” said Judge Michael Davis during the sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
We must not wait until next fiscal year or for Congress to act in order to slow down this dangerous social transformation. Trump ran unambiguously on stopping refugees from the Middle East and the good news is that he can now use the unilateral executive authority for the right purposes. The same way Obama was able to increase refugee resettlement to 110,000 without Congress, Trump can set that number at 0. At the very least, he can immediately suspend the refugee program from countries with a dominant culture of radical Islamism, such as Syria, Somalia, and Iraq.
Also, under § 212(f) of Immigration and Nationality Act, “whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
This power is universal, enforceable at the will of the president, and applies any time for any circumstance. In the coming days, I plan to outline other ways Trump can unilaterally protect American interests on immigration under existing authority. Obviously, for major transformational changes, it would be advisable to seek a permanent solution from Congress. But as it relates to refugee resettlement from the Middle East during a time of war, the voters expect Trump to fulfill his promise immediately and exercise his authority to its fullest extent.
As I outline in Stolen Sovereignty, Trump should call upon Congress to permanently reform the program so that the American people won’t be at the mercy of future Democrat presidents. Congress should set the Refugee Admissions Program to automatically sunset at least every other fiscal year so that by default there is no refugee resettlement unless Congress renews the program. Also, the House should immediately pass Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. (C, 77%) bill permanently requiring states to affirmatively ratify refugee resettlement before HHS can settle any refugees in their respective jurisdictions.
There are many policy initiatives that require much debate and circumspection before rushing to pass them. Shutting down refugee resettlement and preventing America from following in the footsteps of Europe is not one of them. Time is of the essence. Fortunately, Donald Trump is about to inherit Obama’s mighty pen and magic phone to promote American sovereignty. Except, this time the law will be on his side.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.