A Lower Refugee Ceiling Is Better For Most Refugees, Host Countries, & America

by Mark Krikorian –
CIS Executive Director –

Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2018) [From an article written by CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian]- The president is finding that changing immigration policy is more like trench warfare than shock-and-awe.

Getting anything through Congress has so far proven impossible, due to combination of the filibuster rule, a rump group of loose-border Republicans, and the White House’s own poorly run legislative operation.

But refugee policy is one area where the administration can storm some trenches successfully. Even the domestic “charities” that make their living from resettling refugees (on the taxpayers’ dime) acknowledge that refugee policy is a component of foreign policy, which is why the president has wide latitude.

He has already exercised that authority by reducing the ceiling for refugee resettlement in the current fiscal year to 45,000, down from the Obama administration’s FY 2017 ceiling of 110,000. Owing to the development and implementation of new procedures, the actual number of refugees likely to be resettled through FY 2018 (which ends September 30) will be well below the ceiling, maybe 21,000.

The new fiscal year starts in a month and a half, and there is a struggle inside the administration over the resettlement ceiling for FY 2019. The hawks are pushing for a lower ceiling while the doves, both career State Department officials and the resettlement “charities,” are pushing for a higher one.

None of the arguments for raising the number of refugees to be resettled holds water. The humanitarian argument is the weakest; in fact, as I’ve argued on these pages, large-scale refugee resettlement is immoral. Because the taxpayer funds expended on settling a single refugee in the U.S. could help twelve refugees in the country where they’ve found shelter, advocacy for resettlement amounts to little more than virtue signaling. As the Pharisee in Luke 19 might have said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this immigration hawk. I fast twice a week and advocate for increased refugee admissions.”

Nor is there a good foreign-policy argument for increasing refugee admissions. Countries hosting large numbers of refugees, such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, get no benefit from having a handful of them relocated with great fanfare to America’s hard-pressed Rust Belt while millions remain. As my colleague Nayla Rush has written of resettlement, “Even if these numbers were to double, triple, or more, the reality is that the effect of resettlement — both real and symbolic — on host countries is minimal, akin to rain drops in the ocean.”

View the full article at: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/lower-refugee-ceiling-better-for-refugees-host-countries-america/
Marguerite Telford
Director of Communications, Center for Immigration Studies

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