The Obama administration resettled 769 Syrian refugees in the United States during the first week of September, according to the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration website.
That brings the total of Syrian refugees brought to the United States during the first 11 months and one week of Fiscal Year 2016 to 11,469. That total as of August 31 was only 10,700, which was 700 more than the Obama administration’s stated accelerated goal of 10,000 for the current fiscal year.
Less than one percent of these Syrian refugees are Christian, Fox News reports:
The Obama administration hit its goal this week of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees — yet only a fraction of a percent are Christians, stoking criticism that officials are not doing enough to address their plight in the Middle East.
Of the 10,801 refugees accepted in fiscal 2016 [as of September 1] from the war-torn country, 56 are Christians, or .5 percent.
A total of 10,722 were Muslims, and 17 were Yazidis.
The numbers are disproportionate to the Christian population in Syria, estimated last year by the U.S. government to make up roughly 10 percent of the population. Since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, it is estimated that between 500,000 and 1 million Christians have fled the country, while many have been targeted and slaughtered by the Islamic State.
As of September 9, a total of 76,738 refugees have been resettled in the United States, year-t0-date, in Fiscal Year 2016, an increase of more than 16,000 from the 60,392 refugees resettled in the United States by September 9, 2015 during Fiscal Year 2015. During the last three weeks of Fiscal Year 2015, the Obama administration accelerated the rate of refugee resettlement significantly, adding more than 8,000 refugees during that period. A total of 69,933 refugees were resettled for the entire Fiscal Year 2015 that ended on September 30, 2015.
During the first week of September, the Obama administration brought in a total of 4,371 refugees from all countries. Should it continue that pace for the three remaining weeks of the fiscal year, the final number of refugees resettled in the United States during Fiscal Year 2016 will end up around 89,000, approximately 20,000 more than in Fiscal Year 2015, and 4,000 greater than the 85,000 ceiling it proposed to Congress. (The 85,000 ceiling included 79,000 allocated by specific regions of the world and included a 6,000 “reserve” for special circumstances.)
Polls show that, by a wide margin, the American people do not want more Syrian refugees.
But President Obama apparently has no intention of stopping the flood of Syrian refugees into the U.S. In fact, he recently stated he wants to “ramp up” the settlement into the country, and the accelerated rate for September on an annualized basis would bring in 35,000 Syrian refugees for FY 2017, which would still be 30,000 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s stated annual goal of 65,000.
Syrian refugees have been jammed into some states, and not resettled at all in other states.
Ten states, including Delaware, which Vice President Joe Biden represented in the United States Senate for more than three decades, have resettled no Syrian refugees in Fiscal Year 2016.
The continuing acceleration of the number of Syrian refugees brought in to the country by the Obama administration, in an almost recklessly “in-your-face” manner to opponents of more refugees, serves to heighten the already serious and unanswered concerns about the security vetting and public health concerns associated with this sudden massive inflow.
Claims that this security vetting is “strict” is merely a talking point not supported by the on-the-ground reality, critics argue.
Many also find the paucity of Christian refugees, especially among refugees resettled in Fiscal Year 2016 from Syria, “a gross injustice,” as Fox News reports:
Critics blasted the administration for not making religion a more important factor, as the U.S. government has prioritized religious minorities in the past in other cases.
“It’s disappointingly disproportional,” Matthew Clark, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), told FoxNews.com. “[The Obama administration has] not prioritized Christians and it appears they have actually deprioritized them, put them back of the line and made them an afterthought.”
“This is de facto discrimination and a gross injustice,” said Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.
Experts say another reason for the lack of Christians in the make-up of the refugees is the make-up of the camps. Christians in the main United Nations refugee camp in Jordan are subject to persecution, they say, and so flee the camps, meaning they are not included in the refugees referred to the U.S. by the U.N.
Congress could stop the flood of Syrian refugees by removing the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s proposed $2 billion appropriation (up from $1 billion last year) from the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, but to date, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate have shown no indication they want any part of a real fight over important budget priorities like this.
As Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch wrote, “President Obama will send his final ‘determination’ letter to Capitol Hill this month with the number of refugees (200,000?) he wants admitted to the country in Fiscal Year 2017 which begins in 23 days! I’m guessing the letter and the required report won’t be delivered until his big show at the UN on September 20th.”
“The number of refugees admitted to the US this coming year will depend on the Republicans (not on Obama!),” she said, noting that “They can cut the funding for the program and thus cut the number of refugees placed in your towns . . . If they want to.”
Key GOP members of Congress, Corcoran noted, include “In the House . . . Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Trey Gowdy. Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Gowdy is chairman of the immigration subcommittee. In the Senate it is Chairman Chuck Grassley and Subcommittee chairman Jeff Sessions who are responsible for holding a hearing on Obama’s 2017 proposal.”:
That gives little time for Congress to do the job legally required of it under the Refugee Act of 1980 and that is to hold hearings in both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. However since both committees know what is required of them, they could have the hearings on their respective committee calendars for the week immediately following the 20th. I am not seeing anything on either of their calendars. . .
Last year was the first year in many, many years where the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committees held any legally required hearing on the President’s plan and that is only because so many of you were clamoring for hearings in light of the huge Syrian numbers being proposed (you know the number will be even bigger this year, Hillary wants 65,000!).
But, both hearings came after the fiscal year had begun.
One conservative member of the House points the finger at Speaker Paul Ryan, as Breitbart reported on Friday:
Paul Ryan promised Regular Order as one of his major promises upon becoming speaker,” said Rep.David Brat (R.-Va.). Brat is a former chairman of the economic department at Randolph-Macon College. He earned his PhD in economics at American University. In addition to his career in academia, he worked with the World Bank and was appointed to an economic advisory board by then-Virginia governor Timothy Kaine, who is now running as the Democratic nominee for vice-president.
With less that three weeks left in the fiscal year, Brat said nobody has any idea what it going on in regards to the budget.
“Where is the budget right now?” he asked. “I am being cynical asking the question. It is somewhere between the Rules Committee and leadership–the point is it is not in the Budget Committee. There has not been a floor vote, so we are abdicating our responsibility–there is no discipline.”
Brat, who sits on the House Budget Committee, said, “Regular Order sounds boring, but its hugely important, it means the budget stays in the Budget Committee–only–which is accountable to the American people, which then takes it to a floor vote.
The nine major resettlement agencies, or voluntary agencies (VOLAGs), paid more than $1 billion annually by the federal government to manage the resettlement of refugees have already submitted their plans for the number of refugees they want to bring in to the country in Fiscal Year 2017, which begins on October 1.
This time around, they want Congress to appropriate more than $2 billion to bring in at least 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2017. Since the Obama administration is on track to exceed that number in Fiscal Year 2016, it appears very likely that whatever number of refugees Congress authorizes to bring in the country in Fiscal Year 2017 the politically powerful resettlement industry, in conjunction with ideologically aligned federal and state bureaucrats, will make certain that the actual number of refugees brought in will significantly exceed what Congress authorizes.
In August, the Refugee Council USA, the resettlement industry’s lobbying arm, called for a more than doubling of refugee resettlements in Fiscal Year 2017 to 200,000:
The U.S. should commit to provide protection to 200,000 refugees through admission to the United States in FY17 through a combination of traditional refugee resettlement and additional legal, proven and secure approaches. At least 140,000 of these refugees should be resettled through the existing U.S. refugee resettlement program, with the necessary support for receiving and integrating them in American communities. To do any less would represent a U.S. commitment that falls short of the call made by the White House for a collective doubling of resettlement commitments in advance of the Summits.
The Obama administration’s actions, especially during the past few months, suggest that it intends to put the Office of Refugee Resettlement on a path to meet that goal during the three and a half months of Fiscal Year 2017 between October 1 and the January 2017 inauguration of a new president.
The final outcome of the number of refugees resettled in the United States in Fiscal Year 2017 and beyond, however, may hinge on whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected president in November.