Kansas Withdraws from Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 file photograph, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivers his Sta
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Governor Sam Brownback says Kansas is withdrawing from the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program.

Brownback, a Republican, blames the Obama administration’s failure to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980 for the action he is taking.

“Because the federal government has failed to provide adequate assurances regarding refugees it is settling in Kansas,” Brownback said in a statement, “we have no option but to end our cooperation with and participation in the federal refugee resettlement program.”

Obama administration officials quickly asserted they will continue to settle refugees in Kansas, claiming that the statutorily unauthorized regulatory power asserted by the Department of Health and Human Services under the “Wilson-Fish alternative program” allows the federal government to resettle refugees in states that have withdrawn from the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program.

As the Wichita Eagle reports:

But that decision [by Brownback] will have “no effect on the placement of refugees by the State Department in Kansas,” the federal Administration for Children and Families told Kansas officials earlier this month in documents released by Brownback’s office.

That agency said it would work directly with local refugee resettlement agencies.

As Breitbart News reported previously, the federal government is resettling refugees in 12 other states that have withdrawn from the program under the “Wilson-Fish alternative program” regulations.

In Tennessee, one of those 12 “Wilson-Fish alternative programs,” the state legislature recently declared that it will sue the federal government to end the settlement of refugees in the Volunteer State on Tenth Amendment grounds.

The VOLAGs (voluntary agencies) who are receiving more than $1 billion in payments annually from the Obama administration to manage refugee resettlement quickly tried to squelch Brownback’s resistance.

“[The] claim that Kansans’ security is at risk is absolutely false. Refugees are subject to a range of rigorous and thorough security checks,” Jennifer Sime, a senior executive with the International Rescue Committee, told the Wichita Eagle in an e-mail. “The vetting system has been methodically structured to both safeguard the security of the U.S. and provide protection to those who need it most, and to whom we have a moral obligation to protect.”

Brownback’s decision comes at a difficult time politically for the Obama administration.

Recently, President Obama announced that he intends to accelerate the vetting time for Syrian refugees entering the United States from two years to three months. The Obama administration also intends to dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees settled in the United States this fiscal year to 10,000, up significantly from the estimated 2,300 Syrian refugees settled here in the four previous fiscal years.

On Monday, President Obama’s own director of national intelligence, James Clapper, admitted that the Islamist terrorist organization known as ISIS has infiltrated the recent European Muslim migration, and currently has sleeper cells in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany.

While there is no indication at present that Kansas intends to join Tennessee and sue the federal government’s operation of the refugee resettlement program within its boundaries on Tenth Amendment grounds, the Brownback administration has plenty of legal power capable of mounting such an effort.

Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, a former law professor, is well known as the architect of the the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, the 2010 Arizona immigration law whose purpose the New York Times described at the time was “to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.”

In a 2012 decision, Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court struck down several of the law’s provisions, while leaving other elements of it intact.


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