When Donald J. Trump was elected president, he knew he’d face opposition to his main policy objectives by the Democratic Party and activist judges. Now the“Deep State” inside his own U.S. State Department is defying the White House, wasting tax dollars and endangering Americans by lifting restrictions on refugees entering this country.
In a protest letter to the president, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, put the move in blunt context:
“The State Department announcement came the same week that the son of a Libyan refugee committed a horrific act of terrorism in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. The week before, individuals from Pakistan, Libya and Morocco savagely killed seven people in brutal attacks in London.”
State’s maneuver was revealed in an email to private agencies that help refugees settle in the United States. The New York Times quoted State Department officer Jennifer L. Smith’s email as saying refugee groups could now process people “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place.”
In circumventing Trump’s call for tighter vetting, the embedded bureaucrats at State say they are using funding from the department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) program. The funds support the processing of 70,000 incoming refugees.
But MRA regulations give the administration discretion to allocate the dollars to refugee processing or, alternatively, to support refugees in or near their homelands.
In some cases, the latter option makes more sense – both in terms of economy and security. Studies show that for every one refugee brought to the U.S., MRA could aid 12 refugees overseas with food, shelter and basic necessities in designated safe zones.
A graver concern centers on national security risks. According to the FBI, 300 of the bureau’s ongoing 2,000 domestic terrorism cases involve refugees. Does the left hand (State) not know what the right hand (FBI) is doing? Does it care?
Digging a deeper hole, the Trump administration is moving forward with an Obama administration plan to bring in illegal-immigrant boat people denied entry to Australia.
The deal – which includes nearly 1,000 asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, countries subject to restrictions under Trump’s executive order – will employ the International Rescue Committee. Partially funded by the State Department, the IRC would screen the refugees and receive payment for each person resettled here.
While IRC may have a pecuniary conflict of interest, Trump’s more rigorous vetting of refugees has had some effect. The U.S. accepted 2,070 refugees in March, the lowest monthly total since 2013, according to State Department data. April ended with 3,316 refugees admitted, the second-lowest total.
House Resolution 80, sponsored by Rep. Babin, would sensibly impose a moratorium on America’s refugee program until federal agencies can certify it is not a security threat. As candidate Trump once put it: “Until we know what the hell is going on.”
Neither the White House nor the State Department has responded to the Texas congressman’s June 7 letter. While HR 80, with 74 cosponsors, awaits a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, the president should rescind his State Department’s directive and scrap the problematic agreement with Australia before more damage is done.