Baltimore Prepares to Receive Syrian Refugees, with Federal Help


Only a few days after President Obama announced that the United States would take another 10,000 Syrian refugees, CBS News in Baltimore ran a story about that city’s preparations to receive the new arrivals:

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Baltimore has resettled more than two dozen Syrians so far this year, and they are preparing to help more.

“They are desperate to seek safety,” the IRC’s executive director, Ruben Chandrasekar, said. “They are desperate to be given a new chance at a new life.”

The International Rescue Committee in Baltimore has welcomed 26 Syrians by providing them with the tools to succeed, including a furnished apartment and even employment.

Twenty-six whole refugees? Clearly they are ready for the thousands to come.

This sounds like the same failure of imagination that led so many well-meaning people in Europe to panic over the past week, as they were confronted with the reality of the enormous population transfer they endorsed in theory. Asylum and migration, like every other social phenomenon, is a numbers game. Twenty-six asylum-seekers can be carefully vetted, provided with “furnished apartments and even employment,” and monitored to ensure their assimilation is fairly smooth for both themselves and the host society. It is a very different story when 10,000 people are involved, to say nothing of the astonishing human tide sweeping into Europe. The approach that works for a few dozen people cannot simply be scaled up to handle thousands.

It is also impossible to thoroughly review applicants when thousands are rushed through the process, but that does not stop the International Rescue Committee from making some confident predictions about the inbound refugees:

They say their program is successful because refugees are eager to start their new lives free from persecution.

“They want nothing more than to get employed, pay their taxes and be able to do the normal stuff you and I take for granted,” said Chandrasekar.

Nearly 90 percent of the refugees the IRC assists become self sufficient, which in turn helps Baltimore thrive as a city.

“When you get a safe place like Baltimore or the U.S. and you have the opportunity to rebuild your whole life,” said Chandrasekar, “how motivated do you think you would be? That’s what we see everyday when we welcome a refugee into the Baltimore area.”

This is, again, the sort of optimistic generalization that can only be made on a much smaller scale. Every advocate for mass immigration confidently declares that the immigrants want nothing more than to get jobs and pay taxes. It is considered extremely impolite to cite the actual statistics for employment, crime, and welfare dependency among large migratory populations.

The CBS report casually mentions that the Baltimore office of the IRC “is primarily funded through federal dollars, but a lot of donations come from the community.” Syrian resettlement is going to be extremely expensive, coming as it will on top of an already vigorous program for granting asylum status to people fleeing other hell-holes. Taxpayers in all fifty states will be on the hook for most of it — that’s what “primarily funded through federal dollars” means.

The ten thousand Syrian refugees announced by President Obama will most likely be the first taste of things to come — there’s no way the Europeans will be satisfied with America taking only 10,000, and the United Nations has already called for over three times that many. It would be nice if, just for once, the political class was completely honest with the American people about the cost and impact of such a policy, and valued the public’s input about how many refugees should be resettled in the United States, precisely where they will go, and what precautions will be taken for national security– instead of merely denouncing everyone who asks such questions as a heartless “nativist.”


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