Of course he doesn’t mean permanently, but for more than a year until they are on their feet.
“….why not give them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is?”
At the outset, I don’t know where to begin with Reihan Salam’s reform proposal at The Atlantic yesterday because I don’t believe the writer is a serious longtime student of the US Refugee Admissions Program, but I like one of his proposals!
And, I am happy to see that he is opening a discussion of reform of our present flawed system.
The Opinion piece is entitled:
A Better Way to Absorb Refugees
Affluent city dwellers are some of the most vocal champions of refugee admission—and they’re in a position to assist.
This I know—-the refugee industry is likely going nuts over any serious reform idea being proposed that would break-up their cushy and financially lucrative arrangement with the federal government.
Again, author Salam makes so many points I don’t know which to address first so we will take them in the order he gives them.
Here are a few snips leading up to what I think is his key point. Emphasis is mine.
Without the consent of Congress, President Trump can only do so much to curb immigrant admissions overall. But he does have expansive authority over refugee admissions, and he is using it to implement at least part of his restrictionist agenda.
Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president, in consultation with Congress, is charged with setting a refugee ceiling, a hard limit on total refugee admissions, which can be adjusted in tune with changing foreign-policy priorities.
Then here (below) I agree there was/is bipartisan support in Congress, but not because the program was “an invaluable foreign-policy tool!” It is because it brings in cheap legal labor for the Chamber of Commerce and big business on the political right, and it brings in reliable future Democrat voters on the left. (The foreign-policy tool argument is a recent refugee industry talking point they have sold to the likes of the Heritage Foundation.)
Before Trump’s singular presidential campaign, widespread skepticism about the wisdom of admitting refugees in large numbers had little effect on policy makers, as leading members of both major parties shared a commitment to the refugee resettlement program, often because they saw refugee admissions as an invaluable foreign-policy tool.
That elite bipartisan consensus is now a thing of the past. Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s top policy advisers, has pressed for even steeper reductions in the refugee ceiling for the coming fiscal year, to the consternation of senior diplomats and military officials. We’ll soon know if Miller will get his way. I would be surprised if he did not. For one, Trump apparently believes that lowering the refugee ceiling is good politics, and there is reason to believe he’s right.
Unlike almost every other tool of immigration policy at the president’s disposal, lowering the refugee ceiling is virtually backlash-proof.
I guess Salam does not read RRW or he would know how vigorously the nine federal contractors*** are attempting to whip up the backlash.
But, hey, okay let’s go with the idea that Trump will gain more politically by lowering refugee admissions than he will lose!
Salam then goes to the subject of “public charge” which is an old concept that this administration is hopefully bringing back and that is the idea that immigrants to America should not become dependent on welfare. It is a story for another day.
I realize now why I’m having such trouble with Salam’s op-ed—-because he is all over the map and now we jump back to the idea that there is not much of a public constituency for ever larger refugee admission numbers. But he does give us an idea for those of you working on Congressional campaigns! On the campaign trail try to pin down the Democrats on the issue of refugees! Salam suggests they are avoiding expressing support for more refugees!
….Refugee immigrants aren’t an especially large or vocal political constituency. Recent arrivals are chiefly concerned with gaining a foothold in American life, while those who arrived in the country decades ago from one country aren’t necessarily motivated by a burning desire to welcome refugees from others. Though there are many activists who will sharply criticize the Trump administration for admitting so few refugees, and though there is majority support for admitting refugees in the abstract, don’t expect Democratic congressional candidates in competitive races to be among them. The recent arrest of Omar Ameen, an Iraqi refugee who stands accused of concealing that he was a murderer who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, is a discomfiting reminder that the vetting of humanitarian migrants has never been foolproof. A Trump White House consumed with scandal would love nothing more than to make refugee admissions a central issue, which is why Democrats are unlikely to take the bait.
Author Salam then tells us that the military wants especially Iraqi refugees admitted as a kind of bait to get them to help us there (we told you about it here). Why the heck are we still there offering one-way tickets to America to Iraqis anyway?
Next he throws out the ‘help them where they live’ argument. Yes, good.
And, finally we get to the nub of it….
Reform the refugee program by setting up private sponsorship which is something worth seriously looking at, but not as an add-on to the present flawed system.
(I’m breaking up these final paragraphs because I find them almost unreadable as written!)
Does this mean that there is no place for humanitarian immigration to the U.S.?
Not at all. There will always be compassionate Americans who long to shelter families from strife-torn corners of the world, and there should be avenues open to them. However, our current approach to refugee resettlement does a poor job of leveraging this desire to do good. For decades, the State Department has worked in concert with a set of voluntary agencies, or “volags,” that are provided with a modest amount of federal funding to help refugees establish themselves on American soil.
Because most recent refugees to the U.S. have modest skills, the process of adjustment can be exceptionally difficult. Even when they do secure employment relatively quickly, their market incomes tend to be quite low, which is why they often depend on safety-net benefits, refundable tax credits, and other transfers designed to keep Americans out of poverty.
Other countries, including, most prominently, Canada, allow for private sponsorship, in which individuals, families, and community groups pledge their own resources to help refugees navigate their new lives for up to a year. The Niskanen Center, a centrist think tank, has proposed a private sponsorship system for the U.S. as a means of boosting refugee resettlement, and though the idea hasn’t gained much ground under Trump, a modified version of it could have bipartisan appeal. [The great flaw in the Libertarian Niskanen Center’s proposal is that it is designed to get MORE refugees in to the US as it would be in addition to the present system.—ed]
Restrictionist critics of the status quo often point to the fact that the volags [I call them federal contractors—ed] often resettle refugees in struggling communities, where costs are low and federal funds go further—yet where local public services are often stretched thin, and the long-term labor market prospects of refugees aren’t as bright as they might be in more prosperous communities.
At the same time, some of the most vocal champions of refugee resettlement are affluent cosmopolitans who reside in well-off communities, and who might see devoting some portion of their incomes and their daily lives to assisting refugee immigrants as a source of pride and fulfillment. The Stephen Millers of the world might deride such women and men as romantic cosmopolitans, and perhaps they have a point. But why not give them an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is?
Imagine an overhauled Refugee Act that allows for private sponsorship. The executive branch could set one ceiling for refugees who’d be provided for under the existing refugee resettlement program (for example, the 15,000 that’s been reported in the press as the Trump administration’s target for the coming fiscal year) and another (say, an additional 45,000) for refugees who’d be cared for by carefully vetted U.S. families who volunteer to provide for their basic needs for an extended period—I’d recommend a much longer period than a single year, as under the Canadian system, as expecting refugees to achieve self-sufficiency in such a short time strikes me as unrealistic and, just as importantly, the commitment involved shouldn’t be entered into lightly.
Private sponsors should be subject to oversight, as it would be outrageous to allow Americans to take advantage of refugee immigrants, and outcomes for the refugees they sponsor should be carefully monitored, so as to help identify best practices for researchers and future sponsors.
If broad-minded Americans were to come forward en masse to sponsor refugees under these demanding conditions, it would demonstrate the seriousness of their support for welcoming newcomers who’ve endured profound torments while giving the likes of Trump and Miller an implicit rebuke. If they didn’t, we’d at least know where we stand.
Read the whole piece here.
Okay, let’s do it! Let’s assume Reihan Salam has a serious reform proposal for consideration by Congress.
Calling all wealthy humanitarians!
Let’s see how many “broad-minded” wealthy people will come forward to sponsor refugee families for more than a year, pay for all their needs, find them health care, apartments and jobs, teach them English, get the kids in school, fill out all their government paperwork, etc.
But we do it as the only system for admitting refugees and we get rid of the contractor middlemen listed below!
Readers, send me your guesses as to how many wealthy city-dwelling Americans will raise their hands to sponsor impoverished Somalis, Iraqis and Congolese (others!) for a year or more in their neighborhoods!
(Reihan Salam had above suggested 45,000 could be privately sponsored!)
***These below are the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors.
You might be sick of seeing this list almost every day, but a friend once told me that people need to see something seven times before it completely sinks in, so it seems to me that 70, or even 700 isn’t too much!
And, besides I have new readers every day.
The present US Refugee Admissions Program will never be reformed if the system of paying the contractors by the head stays in place and the contractors are permitted to act as Leftwing political agitation groups, community organizers and lobbyists paid on our dime!
And, to add insult to injury they pretend it is all about ‘humanitarianism.’
The number in parenthesis is the percentage of their income paid by you (the taxpayer) to place the refugees into your towns and cities and get them signed up for their services (aka welfare)! And, get them registered to vote eventually!
- Church World Service (CWS) (71%)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)(93%)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) (99.5%)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) (57%)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular) (66.5%)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular) (98%)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) (97%)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (97%)
- World Relief Corporation (WR) (72.8%)