Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) in position to reform refugee program (if he had a will to do it)
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 24, 2016
This is another in my series on Congress and the budget process as it relates to the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program (RAP). See Texas last week, here.
Simpson represents Idaho’s 2nd District which wikipedia describes below:
In addition to Boise….
Other major cities in the 2nd district include Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls, and Rexburg. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a strong presence in the district; a member of the LDS Church has represented this district continuously since 1951. [See our recent post about the increasing role of the Mormon church in resettlement of third worlders to America—ed]
Regular readers know that Boise and Twin Falls are major resettlement sites in Idaho with large numbers of Muslim refugees arriving to work in places like the Chobani yogurt plant (go here for our huge archive on Idaho).
A recent article at Magic Valley reports on Rep. Simpson’s views on many issues including immigration (he supports ‘comprehensive immigration reform’, aka amnesty, because he says we need workers).
And then here is a standard squishy response on arguably one of the hottest issues in Idaho—refugee resettlement in Boise and Twin Falls.
What are your views on the refugee resettlement program and on accepting refugees from the Middle East, and from Syria in particular? Do you support making any changes to the program or the vetting process? Should we be letting in more refugees? Fewer refugees?
I continue to support the American principle that we will not return a foreign national to a country where his or her life or freedom would be threatened based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. That being said, I am still concerned about the current vetting process, in particular for refugees from Syria, and I will continue to support efforts to strengthen that process. The real issue is that this Administration has not been able to effectively communicate to the American people that they can keep us safe. To regain our trust, the State Department and Department of Homeland Security must communicate a clear plan for the screening of Syrian refugees that is stringent and thorough enough to ensure those entering the United States will do no harm.
His answer demonstrates the usual dodge—it’s the Obama Administration’s fault for not communicating clearly how they will keep us safe. And, no answer to the question of more refugees!
He doesn’t tell you that as the 5th in seniority (he has been in Congress for 18 years!) on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he is in the catbird seat to do something about security screening of Syrians.
(Simpson is not a member of the House Freedom Caucus nor did he support Rep. Brian Babin’s efforts to cut the funding for the RAP earlier this fall, see here.)
And, what does he mean by “not return a foreign national.” This isn’t a question of sending someone back, it is a question of bringing them in in the first place!
Again, it is about the money! He could be working to cut the funding for the program until the security screening (the vetting process) is made safe. Washington representatives like Mike Simpson want you to think it is the Democrats in the White House and the agencies—DOS and Homeland Security—who need to do their jobs. But, in reality he has more power than they do, because he is one of the key members of Congress holding the purse strings! He just doesn’t want his voters to know that!
Ironically he says this about the budget process on his website:
It is important for Americans to understand how the federal appropriations process works so that they can advocate for responsible federal spending.
On that he and I agree and that is why I am hounding you all, if you really want to try to get the RAP under control, get it reformed or stopped altogether, you too must understand the appropriations and budget process.
So what do you do if you live in Rep. Mike Simpson’s district?
There is only one thing you can do to slow this flow (besides electing Donald Trump) which at this rate would bring around 20,000 Syrians to America by next fall and that is to persuade your member of Congress and US Senators to DEFUND the program in the lame duck Budget debate coming in November.
Simpson and other members could stop or slow the flow using their power of the purse!
See the first in a series of posts on the lame duck budget process by clicking here. This is not about Obama! Your Congressional Representatives have the power to rein this in if they wanted to (and they don’t want you to know that they have that power!).
You have 15 days before election day to get a commitment from your Washington, DC representatives to DEFUND!
Citizens concerned about the impact of refugees on the 2nd District of Idaho must haunt Simpson’s campaign for those 15 days! Frankly, you might be better off with a new representative, no matter what party, but with no power, than a powerful Republican member like Simpson not working for you, but against you.
And, don’t forget Idaho’s US Senators and other Congressman. There are only 4 total members of the Idaho delegation, here.
All of our posts on the Congressional budget process are tagged: where is Congress.
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