Amid a week full of executive realigning of immigration policies with the original laws passed by Congress, the Trump administration is setting its eyes on another proposal to give the American people more of a say in the future of their society. NBC is reporting that according to a draft proposal, “the federal government will resettle refugees only where both the relevant state and local governments have consented to participate” in the resettlement program.
This is a proposal I have long championed and wrote about in my book. While immigration in general is a national policy and was designed to be dealt with at a federal level, as I explain in chapter eight of Stolen Sovereignty, refugee resettlement is different:
In some respects, refugee resettlement is a more destructive form of social transformation for local communities than any other form of immigration. Unlike other categories of immigration, refugees by definition do not go through the organic process of becoming immigrants. They are brought over and resettled, often in large numbers concentrated in specific localities, with no acclimation to American culture or the ability to support themselves. Despite the plethora of resettlement assistance programs run by the State Department, HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, and taxpayer-funded NGOs, most refugees wind up on the full array of welfare programs. Most important, they strain the public services and public education of the local jurisdictions that are forced to accept them.
Thus, communities are transformed in a matter of a few years (just look at Minneapolis or Lewiston, Maine), all at the behest of international officials, unelected State Department officials, HHS bureaucrats, and parasitic contractors who have everything to gain and nothing to lose by endangering the communities and saddling them with a fiscal burden. The states and the taxpayers have no say in the matter.
No legal body in this country — from Congress to state legislatures — would approve the resettlement of tens of thousands of Somali refugees if they had to affirmatively approve it today. Unfortunately, in the most grotesque violation of the social contract and consent-based citizenship, the most radical forms of cultural transformation are in the hands of unelected entities. This proposal would right this ship and empower the people.
When we bring in such large numbers of immigrants, we are inevitably importing the values of their part of the world instead of a manageable number of individuals yearning to champion our values. Should we not be concerned with the social transformation of our democratic values and the culture of some of our small and mid-sized cities?
Let’s take a city like Amarillo, Texas, for example. It is a relatively small city in the heartland of our country. In recent years, without any input from the locals or state officials, the federal government – at the behest of private taxpayer-funded contractors – has resettled a couple thousand refugees from the most radically divergent cultures. Since 2002, according to the WRAPS State Department database, Amarillo has been sent 352 refugees from Congo, 718 from Iran, 396 from Iraq, and 605 from Somalia. There are no numbers on the secondary migration, but refugees are all on a fast track to citizenship, after which they can bring in family members and commence the chain of migration from the same countries of origin. Amarillo has the most refugees per capita of any city in Texas.
This social transformation without representation not only violates the promise of federalism and governance by the consent of the governed, it violates the Refugee Act of 1980. The statute clearly directs the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to “insure that a refugee is not initially placed or resettled in an area highly impacted by the presence of refugees or comparable populations.” When making this determination, the director of the ORR is supposed to take into account “the proportion of refugees and comparable entrants in the population in the area,” “the availability of employment opportunities, affordable housing, and public and private resources,” and “the likelihood of refugees placed in the area becoming self-sufficient and free from long-term dependence on public assistance.” (Sec. 412. of the Immigration and Naturalization Act 8 U.S.C. 1522.)
In addition to violating the conditions of refugee resettlement, the feds have violated federal law over the past few decades. The law requires the federal government to coordinate with local officials at every stage of the process, including “advance consultation with State and local governments.” The word “state” is mentioned 41 times in section 412 of the INA. Such consultations rarely take place.
Ideally, given the amount of illegal immigration and bogus asylum we are dealing with at our border, Trump should set the refugee cap at zero for the coming year. At the very least, he should direct HHS to only settle refugees in areas where local officials agree. If the forces of social transformation think their ideas are so popular, why are they scared of input from the communities? If we fought a revolution over “no taxation without representation,” it’s only appropriate that we allow no social transformation without representation.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.