With nearly every GOP and Democrat governor thus far supporting open borders and even more refugees at a time of record legal and illegal immigration, the fight now moves on to the counties. This is the opportunity for the grassroots to be heard and to demand of county officials that they take a pause from lining the pockets of taxpayer-funded resettlement groups for a year. Beltrami County, Minnesota, is showing the way.
Earlier this week, the county in far north Minnesota became only the second jurisdiction in the nation to formally reject refugee resettlement. Pursuant to Trump’s order, an affirmative vote of support is needed in order to greenlight State Department funding for resettlement contractors in a given county, so simply doing nothing has the same result as a rejection. Nonetheless, it’s important that county governments be prodded to make a statement of rejection.
When the people are actually informed of what is happening to their communities, they overwhelmingly reject this racket. During the Tuesday night meeting at Beltrami County’s administration building, over 200 people turned out to watch the vote. At one point, Commissioner Craig Gaasvig asked for a show of hands from the crowd if they opposed resettlement. According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “A clear majority of the crowd raised their hands.” The resolution to reject resettlement passed 3-2, with commissioners Richard Anderson, Craig Gaasvig, and Jim Lucachick voting in favor and Reed Olson and Tim Sumner voting against it.
Trump carried Beltrami County by 10 points in 2016, and it’s very much the sort of swing county he needs to hold in order to win re-election. Historically, it has voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Trump shifted the electoral balance by about 21 points from the 2012 election.
Minnesota is a very important state in the battle over fundamental transformation of our communities. Although Beltrami is far north of the population centers in the Twin Cities and hasn’t taken refugees in recent years, those who showed up at the meeting are undoubtedly aware of the cultural, social, and financial problems the state has had from the influx of tens of thousands of Somali refugees and thousands more as derivatives of chain migration. Not only has there been a terror-recruiting problem among Somalis in Minnesota, there is a lot of street crime, as some of the same clans who fought each other in Somalia are dividing along the same lines on the streets of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Violent incidents spiked 60 percent from 2010 to 2017 in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, a trend authorities blame on a “simmering rivalry between St. Paul and Minneapolis East African gangs as a cause of much of the violence.”
The experience of Minnesota is a perfect example of how and why the refugee resettlement concept is antiquated and serves no purpose other than lining the pockets of nine private contractors and fundamentally transforming America. Gone are the days, for the most part, where there is one-sided political or religious persecution and we bring in people coming exclusively to absorb American ideals – people who cry during the national anthem. Think back to those fleeing the Soviet Union or Jews fleeing persecution in Europe, or the early wave of Cubans fleeing communism, for example. Nowadays, most of the global conflict is born out of Islamic civil wars or ancient tribal warfare in African countries.
Yes, as a result of the strife, those places, like Somalia, are awful places to live. People will readily come here for economic opportunities, welfare, or a chance to escape the violence, if we offer it to them. But can we point to one clan being legitimately persecuted more than another, in a place like Somalia, from which people will come here and embrace America and its values without bringing that violence to our shores?
Among all of the feel-good stories you will see in the news about refugees, you will never see the stories of crimes and social problems. Just last week, federal officials arrested Abbas Abdal Kathem Abedin, an Iraqi refugee turned Uber driver, in Houston for the murder of a woman in Colorado. It’s certainly not the first time for crimes like this, but there is no desire to track the crimes committed, in the same way there is no desire to quantify illegal immigrant crime.
Anyone with a semblance of intellectual honesty, even an immigration expansionist, would have to admit that the refugee program serves no purpose in today’s geopolitical dynamic, especially when it’s so much cheaper to resettle them closer to home. There is no need for a particularly costly and transformative program other than the fact that nine organization will be without free taxpayer funds and cushy executive jobs. This is much more about rent-seeking in government than supposed altruism.
In one of the many lawsuits lodged by the refugee contractors against Trump, they sued his order of February 2017 for calling on the State Department to prioritize Christians in Syria who are actually suffering a one-sided religious persecution, not just the despair of tribal warfare. Yet, for years, when it suited them, and there still were large numbers of non-Muslims being persecuted by Muslims (and therefore enough potential refugee candidates to keep them afloat), the resettlement contractors championed such policies.
Thus, when the traditional refugee model no longer nets enough candidates and revenue to purvey their business, they change gears to just bring in people from the Sunni-Shiite divide or from tribal warfare in places like Congo. The Middle East is pretty much Jew-free, Christians are almost completely driven out, and few of them are even seeking to come to America. Prudence would dictate that this program be reformed if not abolished, especially given our dozen other “humanitarian” categories of immigration at record highs. But rent-seeking is not driven by prudence; it’s driven by selfishness and those who support them are driven by virtue signaling without any regard for their own constituents.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.