Who is Lautenberg? You will see below. First the news that CNN is reporting this morning (that the new EO will likely come today).
And, the Wall Street Journal was suggesting last evening also that the newly revised Executive Order (the so-called travel ban) could come today.
If early reports are correct, the new EO will express no preference for saving Christians of the Middle East and Africa.
Here are a few highlights that involve the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program, from the Wall Street Journal:
The new version is expected to still ban travel from several Muslim-majority nations, but unlike the original, it will leave Iraq off the list, several people familiar with the planning said. [The irony is that the refugee terrorists we have caught in the US were mostly Iraqis!—ed]
No preference for Christians?
The new order is expected to remove a provision giving preference to refugees who are members of religious minorities, which was expected to benefit Christians coming from Muslim nations, several people said. It is unclear if this or possibly other changes would be enough to address those concerns.
The revised order is expected to again temporarily suspend the admission of refugees to the U.S., but unlike the original, it is likely to treat Syrian refugees the same way as those from other countries, people familiar with the planning said. The original executive order suspended the entire refugee program for four months and indefinitely suspended admission of Syrian refugees.
Let’s talk about this issue of a religious test!
We have had a religious test for certain special groups since 1990!
Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, served in the US Senate beginning in 1982. He died in 2013. He put into federal law a provision to FAVOR religious minorities from Russia, later expanded to include those from Iran. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lautenberg
You will hear representatives of the federal resettlement contractors scream that we can’t possibly favor Christians because our Muslim friends will get mad at us, but…….
We have been giving special treatment and admitting certain religious minorities AS REFUGEES for decades under a law commonly referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment!
How do you think we justified admitting religious minorities from Russia including since FY03, 1,965 Jews and 11,410 Russian Muslims known as Meskhetians (out of a total of 19,440 ‘refugees’ from Russia)! (Numbers from Wrapsnet)
What on earth made them “refugees?”
Lautenberg was later extended to include Iranian religious minorities.
Our old pals at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society have been patting themselves on the back for decades for their work under Lautenberg!
From their website (emphasis mine):
The Lautenberg Amendment, first enacted in 1990 as part of the U.S. foreign operations budget to facilitate resettlement of Jews from the former Soviet Union, allowed HIAS to bring tens of thousands to safety. As the worldwide refugee situation changed, the Lautenberg Amendment was expanded to include persecuted religious minorities in other countries, such as Jews, Christians, and Baha’is from Iran.
Despite being a crucial part of U.S. refugee policy, it expires each year and must be reauthorized.
They then direct readers to a pdf, here.
This is a screenshot of the opening page of the document:
I had a quick look at Wrapsnet for just this fiscal year (10/1/2016 to today) and learned that we admitted 1,637 ‘refugees’ from Iran (635 processed through Vienna, Austria as of January 31, 2017, data not yet available through February). Of those only 122 were Muslims, so the remainder (1,515) were religious minorities including 26 Jews.
We have a religious test!
We processed from Russia from the first day of fiscal year ’17 (October 1, 2016) to January 31, 2017, 251 so-called ‘refugees.’ 29 were Russian Jews.
We have a religious test!
I’m not a lawyer, but if the courts don’t allow a Trump Executive Order to give preference to African and Middle Eastern Christians, how is it that the Lautenberg Amendment (recently extended by Congress) is legal? And, has been legal and Constitutional for going on 27 years?
Can we rightly expect HIAS to stand in support of Trump’s original concept of a religious test that would allow Christians in majority Muslim countries to have access to the US Refugee Admissions Program? Don’t hold your breath!