[S]ome are looking to the United States to accommodate more [refugees]. After all, the United States has taken in about 1,500 Syrian refugees through it resettlement program . . . Shouldn’t it be doing more in the face of this humanitarian crisis? The answer has to be yes. . . . [T]he United States has routinely resettled more refugees than the rest of the world combined every year. [But we] have never recovered from . . . the fear that a terrorist may infiltrate our refugee resettlement program—despite the fact that it has not happened in 15 years, and the . . . heavily scrutinized resettlement program is the least-likely route for a would-be terrorist. – www.cnn.com 9/9/15, Kathleen Newland
Fact Check: So, if the United States has been so generous—as Newland acknowledges—then why can’t other countries pick up some of the burden? Indeed, it would be less stressful for the refugees in many ways if they could settle in countries near their homelands which share their cultures.
Resettlement in such instances is usually less expensive than resettling them in the U.S. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) stated, “Our policy should be to keep refugees as close to home as possible. For the cost of one in the United States, we could provide maintenance to ten, maybe more in or near their home country.”
Most of the refugees appear to Muslims, so it would be appropriate for Muslim countries to provide resettlement. As Newland points out nearby Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon already have large numbers, but the oil-rich Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, no one is putting much pressure on them to put out the welcome mat.
One key concern our country should have is not to allow significant immigration from Muslim countries. As the increasing tension and strife in Europe demonstrate, Islam is not compatible with Western culture and values. Muslim immigration to the U.S. has increased over the years. In 2010, Pew Research estimated that 2.6 million Muslims live in the U.S. and projected that by 2030—15 years from now—the total will be 6.2 million. This rate of growth portends serious problems—problems we can avoid if we so choose.
Contrary to what Newland states, terrorists have come into the U.S. as refugees and asylees. Both are people who claim persecution in their homelands. The only difference is that refugees apply for admission from outside the U.S., and asylees apply here. In a recent column Ann Coulter provides a list of refugees and asylees involved in terrorism. Among them were the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Also, contrary to Newland’s statement, the U.S. does not have adequate data and intelligence to screen Syrian applicants (and those claiming to be Syrians). According to a report in a mainstream British publication, Islamic militants affiliated with ISIS have joined the refugee exodus in order to conduct operations in the West.
Many of the Syrians may not be refugees at all, but simply people looking to improve their economic circumstances. Many observers note that a disproportionate number of the Syrians are young men. In a situation where people genuinely fear for their lives and safety, those leaving would be a cross section of society in terms of age and gender. Also, it seems that quite a number of these “refugees” have passed through European countries where they could have found safety and continued to countries like Germany where social benefits and economic opportunities were better.
A big problem with the refugee resettlement program in the U.S. is that even most of the people officially vetted as refugees do not meet the standard definition of a refugee, i.e., someone who flees his country because of a personal “well founded” fear of persecution. Rather, they may simply belong to a group which faces a general kind of discrimination or other adversity. One authority has stated that as many as 95 percent of the “refugees” who settle in the U.S. don’t deserve that designation.
Pushing for refugee resettlement in the U.S. is an alliance of the United Nations, the U.S. government, and various religious-based charities. The latter practice their “charity” by receiving money from the government to place refugees in U.S. communities. Then they leave the refugees to the communities to support.
The United States can offer a haven to genuine refugees, but our first response should be to seek international arrangements to promote orderly resettlement in near-by countries. This will promote safety for refugees, give them a better opportunity to return to their home countries when conditions there improve, and make the most effective use of resettlement resources.