(WND.com) The U.S. State Department is ramping up refugee admissions back to more normal levels after it had slowed to a trickle over the past month under President Donald Trump.
On March 15 a federal judge, Derrick Watson in Hawaii, issued a nationwide injunction stopping the State Department from enforcing or implementing sections 2 and 6 of President Trump’s March 6 executive order. Section 6[b] lowers the cap on refugee arrivals to 50,000, down from the 110,000 level set by President Obama.
After the court’s ruling, which was upheld Wednesday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the cap reverts back to the Obama level of 110,000.
Consequently, the State Department continues to accept refugees and this includes scheduling travel for refugees who have been screened and are otherwise approved for travel.
“The Court Order issued on March 15 prohibits the enforcement or implementation of Section 6 of the EO,” the State Department spokesperson told WND. “Section 6 of the EO includes a cap on refugee admissions into the United States of 50,000 for FY 2017. In accordance with the Court Order, and consistent with both our operational capacity and our capacity under available funding, we have increased the current pace of refugee arrivals to approximately 900 individuals per week. ”
Halfway through the fiscal year, the U.S. has already taken in 39,082 refugees, according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center database.
If the 900 per week number holds through the remainder of the fiscal year it would mean the Trump administration would bring in 62,482 refugees for fiscal 2017, which ends on Sept. 30.
While far lower than the 110,000 that Obama had wanted for this year, the 62,482 is not a historically low number. In fact, it’s just barely under the per-year average of 64,000 since 2002.
“As we have said repeatedly, Trump’s refugee admissions are not at the mercy of two rogue judges,” said longtime refugee watchdog Ann Corcoran in her blog post Thursday at Refugee Resettlement Watch. “He can bring in any number under the CEILING set either by Obama (110,000) or his reduced ceiling (50,000).”
Corcoran said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has still not chosen a political appointment to head up the key position that runs refugee resettlement program. That position is deputy assistant-secretary of state for Population, Refugees and Migration. So the program continues to be run by entrenched federal bureaucrats with close ties to the nine federal resettlement agencies.
As Corcoran points out, Trump’s new target number of 62,480 refugees for 2017 falls right in line with annual totals brought in by President George W. Bush and even several years under the Obama administration.
In Fact, the Bush Administration was below the Trump target number in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Even Obama was below that number in 2011 and 2012! (see here).
Below are the year by year totals for refugee arrivals since 2002.
- 2002: 45,896
- 2003: 39,554
- 2004: 79,158
- 2005: 69,006
- 2006: 41,223
- 2007: 48,282
- 2008: 60,191
- 2009: 74,654
- 2010: 73,311
- 2011: 56,424
- 2012: 58,238
- 2013: 69,926
- 2014: 69,987
- 2015: 69,993
- 2016: 84,994
James Simpson, an economist and author who has written extensively about refugee resettlement, told WND that there are two sides to the Trump administration that appear to be in conflict with each other.
“The establishment side has been poorly serving the president with misinformation about refugees and with misinformation about the House Freedom Caucus, which saved him from the disaster of passing Paul Ryan’s version of Obamacare,” Simpson said.
Trump’s March 6 executive order called for a 120-day pause in all refugee resettlement until additional vetting procedures could be created and implemented. A 90-day ban on visa travel from six predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen — was also included in the order.
Just under half of the 84,994 refugees who entered the U.S. in fiscal 2016 were Muslim, coming from Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Uzbekistan and other countries.
At least 95 percent of the refugees sent to the U.S. are selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They are initially screened by the U.N. and then screened further by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the FBI and other agencies.
They are then sent to more than 300 U.S. cities and towns by the State Department, which contracts with nine private nonprofit agencies including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Church World Service, World Relief, Episcopal Immigration and Migration Ministries, the Hebrew immigrant Aid Society, the International Rescue Committee and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress in 2015 that refugees from broken states, specifically Syria, were virtually impossible to vet because the U.S. has no access to law enforcement data in Syria. The same principle could be applied to Somalia. Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan account for the vast majority of Muslim refugees sent to the U.S.
Several states such as Texas and Tennessee have pulled out of the federal refugee program but the U.S. government continues to send them refugees. Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against the federal government claiming the continuation of the resettlements is a violation of the 10th Amendment.
Republished with permission from WND.com via iCopyright license.