Strong reactions (fear too!) from federal refugee resettlement contractors/supporters in wake of Trump win
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 15, 2016
“I do believe that future flows will be affected significantly!”
(Doris Meissner reacting to Trump win)
Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart has a good piece yesterday, a compendium of views from the refugee contractors and immigration industry activists. Check it out here.
I’ve got a couple more stories I want to mention this morning. The first is one focusing on Rutland, VT which has just recently been chosen by the US State Department as a new site for Syrian Muslim refugee resettlement after months of strong opposition that roiled the political waters in the town.
The article at Vermont Public Radio features quotes from Doris Meissner, a woman who is the doyenne of the Washington DC refugee/asylum/immigration circles.
Meissner was around for the passage of the original Refugee Act of 1980 and I’ve heard her speak a couple of times over the years. (Her bio is here)
The first time was at the ‘celebration’ for the 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act at Georgetown University in 2010. I was struck by one thing Ms. Meissner said at a conference that seemed heavily weighted toward a discussion of the asylum portion of the Act and the opportunities it afforded to get more people in to the US.
She told the audience that the original discussions about asylum were geared toward the odd ballet dancer (referencing Russians I presume) who would ask for asylum when performing in the US. But, she and the audience seemed to be pleased that asylum was now a process that was getting tens of thousands in to the US each year as they feared the normal channel for refugee resettlement was constricting and not fast enough for their purposes.
In 2011, I wrote this post about asylum-seeking-Somalis at our southern border and suggested a Congressional investigation (where are you Trey Gowdy?) to determine if non-profit groups were actually aiding and abetting illegal aliens coming across the world and who miraculously (who pays for the travel?) got the the US southern border and knew to ask for asylum. Meissner is quoted as saying that they have to wait too long in our normal process so they come here illegally. Congress should call Meissner to testify.
The specter of Donald Trump was haunting them already on October 29, 2015:
Again at Georgetown University, this time in October 2015, Meissner was the moderator of a panel on the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. Trump was on their minds and here is what I said in my post:
The “Trump phenomenon” has them obviously shaken and they are trying to figure out how to cope with it. The phrase “Trump phenomenon” was practically the first words out of Ms. Meissner’s mouth when she opened the session. They expected immigration to be an important issue in 2016, but with a different tone to the discussion, not Trump’s outright “anti-immigrant tone.” The whole presentation that followed was based on the understanding that this audience was all pro-Democrat/pro-Hillary.
The refugee resettlement industry needs your money (less money=fewer refugees)!
Back to the article at Vermont Public Radio and what Ms. Meissner told them…
Doris Meissner is the former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute*** in Washington. She says given the strong language Trump used about refugees in the campaign, she expects big changes.
“It will not be business as usual where refugee resettlement is concerned once he’s in office, and that might in particular affect the Syrian program,” Meissner says.
Meissner says that while it’s possible Trump would send back refugees now living in the United States, she thinks that would be a very costly and difficult. And given the deplorable conditions in Syria, she believes it’s unlikely.
“But I do believe that future flows will be affected significantly,” she says.
Meissner says U.S. immigration law sets a benchmark of allowing 50,000 refugees a year into the country. But she says the president has the power to come to Congress on an annual basis to propose boosting or cutting that number, and she expects Trump to call for reductions.
Funds for the coming year’s refugee resettlement programs are currently included in the federal budget. But that budget is part of continuing resolution, which means it needs to be renewed by Congress on Dec. 9.
Meissner says she expects those funds will remain, but admits nothing is certain.
Meissner gets it, they can’t function without the money Congress appropriates so once again I am pleading with you to call your member of Congress and your two US Senators and tell them to DEFUND the RAP in the lame duck session that is now upon us!
Look for larger numbers of border crashers to be asking for asylum. I’ll bet a buck that massive numbers of immigration lawyers are on standby waiting to process asylum claims especially if the RAP is slowed or stopped.
*** See what I said about the Migration Policy Institute here in 2011.