Trump has power to stop refugee flow, will he also slow flow of our $$$ to UN?
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 25, 2016
All over the country, as we have been reporting, refugee advocates are having pow-wows and crying sessions about what Donald Trump might do about refugees on January 21st.
Many of those advocates have gotten comfortable, and felt safe in their jobs, through several Presidents including Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, but all that is expected to change.
This is a story from New Hampshire Public Radio (Clinton country) where experts try to predict what is coming.
The first quotes are from Chris George from the New Haven, CT resettlement agency. We told you about him here last week. He is hoping we still take in Obama’s last wish—110,000 this fiscal year.
Then we hear from a law professor who argues that we have given Presidents too much power. As far as the Refugee Act of 1980 goes, the crafters of the law (all Dems) gave the President power. Congress was expected to “consult” and weigh in, but that body has until very recently ignored its role.
(Only Senator Sessions held a required hearing on Obama’s plan, the House has been silent under Rep. Trey Gowdy’s chairmanship of the immigration subcommittee.)
New Hampshire Public Radio:
“A president can exercise the highest level of authority, when it comes to border control or foreign policy,” says Sudha Setty from Western New England University Law. “So in terms of setting that refugee ceiling for future fiscal years, future President Trump does have the authority to set that ceiling very low.”
Setty said Trump’s freedom to exercise sweeping decisions, like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. continues a disturbing trend of the last two administrations.
“The lesson of the last 15 years has been that we have given the president a tremendous amount of power. And we have not put into place a lot of accountability measures when it comes to anything that is deemed to be national security or terrorism or national security related, and that’s not changing any time soon.”
Next up is another assistant professor with a little nugget that is useful. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees gets $1.5 BILLION a year from us (and not mentioned here is the fact that the UN is choosing most of our refugees).
Amherst College Political Scientist Ruxandra Paul is watching both sides of the Atlantic right now. She says if U.S. leadership changes direction on its decades long commitment to refugee resettlement, more global uncertainty is sure to come.
“Donald Trump has been suggesting that the US has contributed too much and that allies from western Europe are not covering their share of the burden.”
Last year the U.S. gave the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) more than $1.5 billion. The European Union next in line, followed by several European countries, gave in the hundreds of millions. [We gave a half a billion here just in July—ed]
From a legal perspective President Donald Trump will be on solid ground if he chooses to lower the refugee ceiling. If he does, Paul says, it’s possible other countries will do likewise.
In light of that bit of information, that the UNHCR gets $1.5 billion a year from us, is Nikki Haley going to be tough enough and would she be able to deal with the refugee issue which The News & Observer, a North Carolina paper, says is one of four major UN issues she will have to confront?
Ambassador to the UN is not a little out-of-the-way job and will depend greatly on who Trump picks for the Secretary of State which she will be reporting to! Placing Haley there is not putting her in a place to simply keep enemies close. A deputy assistant job in the Labor Department would have been a better fit.
If Trump does go hardline on refugees and wants the UN funding cut would Haley resign and cause him a PR embarrassment down the road? I think she would (and the likes of Senator Lindsey Graham will be cheering her on from the sidelines as they prepare for 2020)!
Here The News & Observer ponders the question about refugees:
Trump wants to end Muslim migration to the U.S. until terrorist threats are addressed, banning refugees fleeing violence in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This policy directly violates international law, which stipulates that other countries have an obligation to take in people seeking refuge from persecution in their home country and cannot bar refugees based on origin. [Trump (we hope) will follow US law which gives him the power to limit refugee flow, not international law!—ed]
Although Haley opposes Trump’s outright Muslim ban, she was among 30 governors who demanded Syrian refugees not be resettled in their states, citing security concerns. A spokeswoman for the governor said last year that until refugees can be properly vetted “it’s not appropriate for them to be sent to South Carolina or any other state.” [Just words and they all knew it!—ed]
Refugees are not allowed into the country until they pass a series of background and health checks, a process that can take up to two years. Governors can’t legally stop refugees from being resettled in their states. [For the umpteenth time, the Syrian screening has been reduced to 3 months and we do admit refugees with TB and other diseases.—ed]
Incoming U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to resist any American efforts to dismantle refugee programs. He formerly served as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and is a strong advocate for wealthy countries doing their fair share to help the most vulnerable. He will take office Jan. 1.
This last makes me wonder (again) whether the Trump transition team has any idea of what they are up against at the UN and how those of us who voted for Trump feel about the ‘world body.’
Endnote: If you were digesting your Thanksgiving meal and didn’t read my post last night, here it is. Islamists say their long game is to take America down through immigration and out-breeding us!