Earlier today, pursuant to the Refugee Act of 1980, which requires the State Department to consult with Congress on the annual level of refugee intake, the Obama administration announced its plans to admit 110,000 refugees in FY 2017 beginning October 1. That is a 25,000 net increase from this current fiscal year level, and a 40,000 net increase from most recent years. It is also 10,000 more than the State Department projected for FY 2017 during last September’s consultation with Congress.
Are the people and their representatives powerless in stopping this forced transformation?
As I wrote in Stolen Sovereignty, Ted Kennedy promised that the 1980 refugee bill would limit the flow of refugees and increase Congressional input in the process. Refugee intake was to be capped at 50,000 a year. But in a sleight of hand that the public would have never approved had it been advertised in a transparent way, the president was granted de facto unilateral authority to increase the flow over and beyond the 50,000 cap beginning in 1983 — in consultation with Congress.
Initially, Congress took the annual consultations, usually occurring in September prior to the next fiscal years, quite seriously. They conducted hearings and spelled out the refugee needs and concerns. Now it has become nothing more than State Department officials briefing the House and Senate Judiciary Committee on how many refugees they will take in — with no recourse from Congress to say no. Thus, we are stuck with this massive social transformation and security risk, and no ability to stop it statutorily.
Just today, Germany arrested three Syrian refugees on suspicion that they have ties to the Islamic State. That Obama could unilaterally force a similar policy down the throats of American citizens and Congress sits back impotently — without learning the lessons of Europe — is horrific.
With two weeks remaining to the current fiscal year, we have already admitted 11,503 Syria refugees. According to the State Department refugee database, as of September 13, roughly 99.3 percent of the Syrian refugees are Muslim, despite the Christians taking the brunt of the ethnic persecution, which is the main determinant of refugee status based on statute. 8,436 refugees were brought in from Somalia, the 25th consecutive year of refugee intake from that country – a country of origin that has proven to pose one of the greatest security risks in terms of homegrown terror. All but two were Muslim. Overall, roughly half the 77,000 refugees admitted so far this year are Muslim and from volatile places such as Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria.
Also disturbing is the fact that Obama is seeding small communities with large numbers of refugees who are radically different from the local population, and he refusing to cooperate with state and local officials. The administration has declined to inform governors of refugee resettlement, even after refugees were resettled in their respective jurisdictions, despite the legal requirement of advanced consultation with states. And while courts grant illegal immigrants standing to sue for citizen rights, they block states from suing Obama for violating the refugee statutes.
Once again, the American people and state governments are crushed by a runaway executive who is abusing the letter and spirit of immigration law. Congress sits idly and won’t use its power of the purse to stop such societal transformation.
Although Republicans lack the votes to overturn the refugee surge statutorily, it is simply unconscionable that they would fund the refugee increase in the upcoming budget bill, which takes effect on the very same day — October 1 — as Obama’s proposed refugee plan. If they are too cowardly to defund the entire program, they should at least defund the net increase for FY 2017.
In the long run, as I lay out in chapter eight of Stolen Sovereignty, Congress must reform the Refugee Act of 1980 to have it expire every fiscal year, or at least every other fiscal year. This would place the keys to our society back in the hands of the people through their elected representatives, requiring a new vote every fiscal year to bring in new refugees. The de facto outcome would be no new refugee resettlement unless Congress passes a new law. There is no way Obama’s plan would pass Congress at this juncture, but fortunately for him the social transformation is on auto-pilot.
Congress must also empower the states to reject refugee resettlement by requiring that any given resettlement win the approval of the local county government and the governor of the state.
There is so much involved in this issue — from national security concerns and sovereignty to cultural transformation and our broken system of governance. It would be a crying shame for conservatives not to harness this very potent issue and make the election a referendum on whether America will become like Europe or not. Hopefully, it’s not too late.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.