Stop the insanity: Suspend America’s Refugee Resettlement Program
By Brian Babin
Millions of refugees have entered the United States under the flawed Refugee Act signed into law by Jimmy Carter in 1980 – including 500,000 alone in the last six years under the Obama Administration.
While refugees are brought into the country at American taxpayer’s expense, their placement and selection – including from which country – is unduly influenced by the United Nations and contracted private organizations.
To get the oversight and answers the American people deserve, I recently introduced the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act (H.R. 3314), which suspends the program while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducts a cost assessment and Congress reviews the national security risks posed by the program.
Information is hard to obtain about the resettlement program as the private agencies who are awarded millions of dollars in federal contracts to facilitate refugee resettlement are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
One would assume that faith-based groups would give consideration to those persecuted for their faith. However – according to the data I have seen – despite the many Christians who face the constant threat of beheadings, burnings, slavery and property confiscation, fewer than five percent of the refugees are Christian.
Counties and communities in my home state of Texas have absorbed a disproportionate share of these refugees. A number of communities and small towns across Minnesota, Idaho, South Dakota and other states have also been overwhelmed with large numbers of refugees placed in their communities.
Given the problems we are witnessing today throughout Europe – with unassimilated refugees in large cities such as Paris, London and Amsterdam – it is reasonable and just plain commonsense to question the impact of refugee resettlement on our smaller communities, which are given little choice or opportunity to stop such relocations.
Many small towns in the U.S. have suddenly found themselves flooded with hundreds and sometimes thousands of foreign refugees who overwhelm their school districts, hospitals, health care facilities, jails and local and state welfare programs.
Data from the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shows that among Middle East refugees accepted into the U.S. between 2008 and 2013, 91 percent received food stamps, 73 percent received Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance and 68 percent received cash welfare payments. This does not even account for the costs to states and local communities.
Alarmingly, criminals and terrorists can exploit this refugee loophole by taking advantage of insufficient screening and vetting before entering the U.S. In fact, ISIS is already doing so.
We already accept 70,000 refugees each and every year. Now as a direct consequence of President Obama’s inept foreign policy decisions in the Middle East, an unprecedented millions of displaced individuals are fleeing into Europe.
Remarkably, Mr. Obama has now agreed to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees and is likely to take many tens of thousands more.
Over 70 percent of these Syrian refugees are males between the age of 20 and 30, the exact people who should be fighting for their own country, while only 13 percent are women and 15 percent children. The radical jihadi attacks in Garland, Texas and Chattanooga, Tenn. demonstrate that the risk to America is real.
America is a compassionate, giving nation. We are spending billions to help displaced individuals around the world, including providing medical and nutritional aid. There is much we can do to provide safe havens for these refugees near their own homelands so that when the crisis ends they can return to their homeland.
This is exactly what we should do. What we should not be doing is inviting the problems of the Middle East into the United States.
Witnessing the prevalent radical Islamic terrorist activity in Western Europe and the growing incidence of the same in the U.S., one has to wonder about the wisdom of continuing this dangerous program and its serious security and budgetary consequences.
It is simply pure madness.
The Resettlement Accountability National Security Act (H.R. 3314) suspends the refugee resettlement program until we are able to obtain factual information, assess the federal, state and local costs and determine the national security risks.
Let’s take a long hard look at this policy before we continue along a path which might prove perilous for our children and our grandchildren.
Dr. Brian Babin is the U.S. Congressional Representative for the 36th District