Guzzardi: Refugee advocates v. Trump; Supreme Court will decide
Because the White House added three mostly non-Muslim countries to the original list of predominantly Muslim nations, the October 10 scheduled Supreme Court arguments on the president’s proposed travel ban have been cancelled. The new restricted countries that join Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen are North Korea, Chad and Venezuela. In Venezuela’s case, the ban is limited to its government officials and their immediate families.
The first round of slowing refugee inflow went to President Trump in a knockout when SCOTUS in a June 9-0 vote agreed to block lower court rulings that kept the White House from putting its original and a revised ban into effect.
Refugee resettlement has been largely on autopilot for years, and Congress has made no serious effort to understand what drives it or how imposing its taxpayer-funded fiscal and societal consequences may be. Refugee specialists have learned and shared alarming facts about the resettlement program. That information offers more compelling reasons to slow the inflow than emotionally laden pleas to endlessly increase the annual acceptance rate.
For starters, former FBI director James Comey testified to Congress that of the approximately 2,000 active terrorist investigations his agency had underway during his period in office, 200 centered around refugees. Since most refugees are resettled in established communities with little if any notice, Americans are reasonably concerned about the possible link between refugees and terrorism.
Review of the total admissions shows why Americans worry. State Department data shows that in 2016, President Obama’s final year in the White House, nearly 39,000 Muslim refugees, almost half of the nearly 85,000 refugees, entered the United States. The 2016 total reflects the highest number of Muslim refugees admitted during any year since 2002 when data on self-reported religious affiliations first became publicly available.
Muslim refugees include a high percentage of males ages 14 and 50, a prime period for terrorism recruitment, and women of the same age range that include many in their childbearing years. Comey repeatedly testified that vetting Middle Eastern refugees is impossible which led one critic to call the unchecked admission policy “refugee roulette.”
President Trump is talking tough. At the United Nations, he reiterated that refugee resettlement is more effectively and more economically done abroad, close to the refugees’ home countries so they can promptly return when conflicts end: ten can be aided abroad for the cost of resettling one in the U.S.
The president reinforced over-immigration’s downfalls. For the sending countries, “immigration reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.” And for the receiving countries, “the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.”
Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide if President Trump’s ban is constitutional. For the advocates, that’s bad news because little in settled law is as crystal-clear as a president’s plenary power to suspend the entry of alien or non-alien immigrants. Foreign nationals have no affirmative right, constitutional or otherwise, to enter or visit the U.S. as part of any immigrant or non-immigrant category.
When the refugee case is finally ruled on, the Supreme Court will deliver President Trump an important immigration victory, one which he and his base badly need.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.