The Current Refugee System Needs to Collapse

The Quote Below—More Misinformation from the Media

“Since the end of World War II, the United States has almost always viewed itself as a leader in resettling refugees forced to flee their homes around the world. But in just three years, President Trump has reduced the flow of refugees to a trickle. . . .

“His first executive order, in January 2017, indefinitely suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees, froze resettlement admissions and barred entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. Later that year, Mr. Trump announced that he was capping refugee admissions at 45,000, — less than half of the 110,000 the year before under President Barack Obama. . . . [T]he Trump administration has used every tool in its arsenal to slow or stop resettlement: bureaucratic, rhetorical, political and financial. . . .

“If elected, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged to end the ‘vile Muslim ban’ on his first day in office. He plans to set the admissions cap at 125,000 refugees and ‘raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values and the unprecedented global need.’

“The Trump administration’s destruction of the refugee resettlement program is too important to ignore. . . . If the nation’s reckoning with race is a mirror into its ideals on justice and equality, then refugee resettlement is the testing ground for our ideals.” – Refugee Resettlement Is Close to Collapse. That Was Trump’s Plan, Jessica Goudeau, New York Times, 7/28/20 [link]

Fact Check of Quote Above: The author thinks that the current system of refugee resettlement is “close to collapse.” If that is true, it is something that clear-thinking Americans should welcome. The present system is conceptually flawed and corrupt, and in drastic need of reform.

One fundamental problem is the definition of refugee. In the past a refugee was one who felt personal danger because of his religion, political beliefs, ethnicity, and other reasons. Today the definition has broadened to include entire groups that may face some kind of discrimination. The danger need not be acute or personal for individuals in these groups to claim refugee status.

Now refugee resettlement activists are trying to expand the definition to include people who want to improve their economic prospects or leave unpleasant situations in their homelands. Some refugee advocates seem to hold the bizarre utopian notion that our country must be the haven for every dissatisfied human on planet earth. This, they claim, is a responsibility required by our values and ideals.

One way to help genuine refugees, i.e., people facing personal persecution, is to encourage their resettlement in countries near to their homelands. This is much more cost effective than settling them in the United States. It also makes it easier for them to return home after conditions in their homelands improve—an outcome most refugees probably would prefer.

Another aspect of refugee resettlement in need of reform is the control of the system by so-called “voluntary agencies.” Often referred to as Volags, these are well-heeled charities, most of them religiously affiliated, that receive generous federal subsidies. They have substantial authority to select U.S. communities for resettlement, and their funding increases with the number of refugees they place in those communities. As the Volags profit from resettlement, the communities are left to pick up the tab for social services needed by the refugees.

Refugee resettlement must return to the proper understanding of charity, which is people paying out of their own pockets to provide for others—not out of the pockets of taxpayers. Also, communities should have the authority to decide whether they want resettlement. President Trump has taken a step to provide that authority, much to the outrage the self-interested refugee advocates. It is a step long overdue. America can accept refugees, but not the way we’re doing it now.


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