The Obama administration’s plan to resettle nearly 200,000 refugees in the U.S. over the next two years will have real fiscal and national security implications at a time when the U.S. has taken in more migrants than any other country, Sen. Jeff Sessions says.
“The U.S. has already taken in four times more immigrants than any other nation on Earth. Our foreign-born population share is set to break every known historical record,” Sessions, Chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, says in making the case against increasing the number of refugees resettled in the U.S.
He noted that since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has resettled about 1.5 million immigrants from Muslim nations. Some 90 percent receive on food stamps, and 70 percent are receiving free healthcare and cash welfare.
Sessions made his comments in reaction to to Secretary of State John Kerry’s weekend announcement that the Obama administration plans to admit at least 85,000 refugees, including 10,000 from Syria, next year and 100,000 the following year. That would be well above this year’s 70,000 refugee cap.
Refugees to the U.S. are immediately eligible for welfare benefits, a fact Sessions pointed to Monday, in reaction to the Obama administration’s plans.
“All of the nearly 200,000 refugees the Administration is planning to bring over the next two years would be entitled to these same benefits the moment they arrive. Since we are running huge deficits, every penny of these billions in costs will have to be borrowed and added to the debt,” Sessions said, noting that the refugees would be admitted on top of the 1 million green cards the U.S. hands out annually.
“Our schools, job markets and public resources are already stretched too thin. And, even at current rates, we have no capacity to screen for extremist ideology, as we have seen with the surge of ISIS recruitment in Minnesota’s Somali refugee community,” he added.
According to Sessions, the Middle East countries in the region should be leading the effort to accept those displaced by the Syrian civil war so that the refugees are close and able to return home once the situation in their home country stabilizes.
“It has also been reported that 3 in 4 of those seeking relocation from the Middle East are not refugees but economic migrants from many countries,” he added.
“At bottom, it is not a sound policy to respond to the myriad problems in the Middle East by encouraging millions to abandon their home,” the Aabama lawmaker concluded. “Absorbing the region’s migrants is not a long-term strategy for stabilizing the region; instead, we should look soberly at our most recent actions in Libya, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere while encouraging migrant populations to remain in the region where they can contribute to social and political reforms.”
Sessions’ subcommittee is slated to hold a hearing on the cost of the administration’s plans titled “Oversight of the Administration’s FY 2016 Refugee Resettlement Program: Fiscal and Security Implications” at the beginning of October.