In a Wednesday interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, House Speaker Paul Ryan made a demonstrably false declaration about his efforts to pause the Somali refugee program.
During the interview, O’Reilly criticized Ryan for failing to message on immigration controls and asked Ryan specifically about the Somali refugee crisis in Minnesota.
O’Reilly: “We have a Somali problem up in Minneapolis-St. Paul. [We] have a problem there and those are refugees from Somalia. And if, God forbid, some refugee comes in and blows people up, it’s going to be grisly.”
Ryan replied by explaining that he passed a bill to pause the refugee program. Ryan said: “Right. Right. That’s why– just so you know that’s why we passed a bill pausing this refugee program, because we don’t think the refugee program works. That’s why we don’t want it to continue right now.”
However, Ryan did no such thing. The bill Ryan championed did not in any way pause the Somali refugee program– it applied solely to refugees from Syria and Iraq.
The House bill would “not have affected the Somali refugee program at all,” said NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks.
Jenks further noted that, “The bill the House passed would in no way pause the refugee program. They had the option of taking up the Babin bill, which would have paused the refugee program, but they refused to do that… All [the House bill] required was that the government sign off that individuals had been vetted. It didn’t even change the fact that we don’t have any information by which to vet them.”
As National Review’s Rich Lowry explained at the time, the Ryan-championed House bill “when you get down to it, it doesn’t do anything,” Lowry wrote in a piece entitled, “Uh, the House Bill to Pause the Syrian Refugee Program Doesn’t Really Pause the Syrian Refugee Program.”
Hot Air’s AllahPundit said that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill was more substantive than the Ryan-backed bill because it was not strictly limited to refugees from Iraq and Syria:
When you compare the House GOP’s bill to what Senate Dems are pushing, it’s the Democratic bill that’s more substantive. Dianne Feinstein wants to add an exception to the current policy of waiving the visa requirement for visitors from France; the exception would require a visa for anyone who’s visited Iraq or Syria in the last five years.
Reports seem to confirm O’Reilly’s concerns about assimilation with regards to the Somali population of Minnesota.
Last year, filmmaker Ami Horowitz interviewed Muslim residents of the Cedar Riverside section of Minneapolis, many of whom said that they would prefer to live under Sharia law. As CBS has reported, “The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis is sometimes called ‘Little Mogadishu’” given that it is the “center of the nation’s largest concentration of Somalis.”
CBS notes that the area is also “fertile ground for Islamic terrorist groups recruiting new fighters.” As the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported, a Congressional report found that “Minnesota leads the nation in would-be ISIL terrorists from U.S.”
“During the last two years, more than 20 Somali-Americans from Minnesota have left to fight alongside terrorists under the banner of ISIL,” a report from 2015 states.
A separate report from the Star Tribune writes:
No state in the country has provided more fresh young recruits to violent jihadist groups like Al-Shabab and, more recently, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Over the last decade, dozens of mostly young men have abandoned the relative comfort and security of life in the Twin Cities to fight and, in many instances, die, in faraway lands… the exodus of local men abroad, its impact on the families and the Twin Cities Somali-American community — the largest in the U.S. — has been profound.
Moreover, our current immigration policy with Somali has imported certain views and values that are antithetical to Western values.
For instance, the prevalence rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for women and between the ages of 15 and 59 is 98 percent in Somalia. The Population Reference Bureau estimates there are more than 75,000 women and girls at risk of FGM in the United States due solely to Somali immigration. In Minnesota, there are over 44,293 U.S. women and girls at risk of undergoing the barbaric, misogynistic, and anti-Western practice.
Moreover, in Somalia, homosexuality can be punishable by death. As the Washington Post writes, “The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed Sharia law and the death penalty.”
Between 2001 and 2014, the U.S. has permanently resettled 82,759 Somali nationals throughout the United States on green cards.
During the interview, O’Reilly pressed Ryan on his failure to message on immigration controls: “With all due respect, I didn’t even know Harry Reid was blocking that bill [on Iraqi and Syrian refugees]. Ya know, you guys got to get out there. And you’ve got to bang the drum on this thing. Like him or not, Trump bangs that drum. And you guys don’t. I mean, I didn’t know until you just told me tonight that Harry Reid—who is a villain—he blocked Kate’s Law, he’s trying to block this… You guys should be screaming at the top of your lungs.”
With all due respect, I didn’t even know Harry Reid was blocking that bill [on Iraqi and Syrian refugees]. Ya know, you guys got to get out there. And you’ve got to bang the drum on this thing. Like him or not, Trump bangs that drum. And you guys don’t. I mean, I didn’t know until you just told me tonight that Harry Reid—who is a villain—he blocked Kate’s Law, he’s trying to block this… You guys should be screaming at the top of your lungs.
In response, Ryan laughed and said: “We passed the bill in January.”