Trump Considers Additional Cuts in Refugee Admissions in Response to Border Crisis

Elizabeth Warren’s immigration “plan” would make things far worse.

As the migrant crisis at our southern border with Mexico gets worse with no help from Congress, the Trump administration is looking for various ways to relieve the tremendous overload on our immigration system caused by the massive influx of asylum-seekers from Central America. One of the ways the Trump administration is reportedly considering to offset this influx of border crossers seeking asylum would involve further significant cuts in the maximum number of refugees applying outside the United States for refugee status who can be admitted to the United States and resettled here. These individuals normally initiate their claims through the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHRC), with the hope of then being allowed to resettle within the United States if their applications are approved by U.S. officials. The ceilings are approved each year by the president after consultation with Congress. It’s one of the few ways the president can exercise discretion, without judicial interference, to control the overall number of asylum-seekers resettled in this country.

The ceiling for admission of asylum-seekers making their claims outside of the U.S. now stands at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, down from 45,000 in fiscal year 2018. Out of the 92,400 refugees resettled globally in 2018, according to UNHCR data, the U.S. ended up actually resettling 22,900 refugees (24.7 percent of the global total). Only 25 countries stepped up to resettle refugees in their countries during 2018. The Trump administration has nothing to apologize for in reducing its refugee intake, despite the relentless attacks from the left. And the administration will have nothing to apologize for if it decides to take further action to lower the refugee ceiling in order to counterbalance the surge of asylum-seekers crossing the U.S. border from Central America. The open-borders crowd has no answers except to welcome all comers, whether they are aliens entering the country illegally to seek asylum here or applicants from terrorist-prone countries applying for refugee status.  

The most drastic option under review for 2020 is to reduce the outside refugee applicant admissions ceiling to zero, with emergency exceptions to be approved by the president. The second option would reduce the present 30,000 ceiling level to between 10 and 15 thousand, with preferences going to nationals such as Iraqis and Afghans who have assisted U.S. troops, intelligence operatives and diplomats. “The issue is expected to come to a head on Tuesday,” according to the New York Times, “when White House officials plan to convene a high-level meeting to discuss the annual number of refugee admissions for the coming year, as determined by President Trump.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted, before any final decision has been announced, that the refugee ceiling reduction proposals under consideration are “immoral.” She pledged that “(A)s president, I’ll welcome at least 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term.” The Obama administration’s last stated annual goal was 110,000 admittees, which was bad enough. Warren’s 175,000 per year target will likely end up becoming a floor, not a ceiling, for the number of new refugees she would admit to this country who first apply outside the U.S. And they would be in addition to the hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers who manage to make it to the United States on their own from Central America and elsewhere in unprecedented numbers. These individuals are claiming refugee status too, but they are doing so with their feet. Many are exploiting our current immigration laws, which allow them to make their asylum claims directly to U.S. authorities once they set foot on U.S. soil and stay in the U.S. while their asylum applications are being considered. Warren continues to support this broken system. In fact, she would open the door even wider to welcome those claiming to flee domestic violence and seeking asylum protections for gender identity-based asylum claims. 

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained last year, when the refugee ceiling for the admission of individuals applying outside of the U.S. for refugee status and resettlement within the U.S. was cut to 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, the ceiling needs to reflect the situation the U.S. is faced with at its own border. The U.S. already has its hands full, Secretary Pompeo noted, with “the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, leading to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense.” These asylum-seekers, who are overwhelming our southern border with Mexico by their sheer numbers, are drawn to the U.S. by easily abused loophole-ridden immigration laws, “catch and release” policies, benefits and sanctuary city protections that Warren supports. The result is a humanitarian crisis at the border, which continues to worsen.

Instead of trying to deal constructively with the underlying causes of the humanitarian crisis, Warren blames President Trump while claiming to have a “plan for that,” as she likes to say. The only problem is that her “plan” would make the current crisis pale by comparison. For starters, she would completely decriminalize illegal entry and reentry after deportation and cut back drastically on deportations themselves. Warren would also eviscerate the current detention system, leading to even more releases of potentially dangerous illegal immigrants into American communities. At the same time she promises to lock up border agents she says must be held “accountable” for “the Trump administration’s criminal abuses at the border.” And she would spend American taxpayers’ money to pay lawyers to assist illegal immigrants in immigration court, including in removal proceedings. In other words, Warren’s immigration “plan” consists of letting criminal illegal aliens go free, paying for their legal defense and punishing law enforcement officers. It’s no wonder that, after expressing sorrow when asked last year to comment on the killing of a 20-year-old Iowa student allegedly by an illegal alien, she quickly added that the focus should be “on where real problems are.” Warren wasn’t talking about the real problem of interference with enforcement of our immigration laws. Quite the opposite. Warren was more worried about the temporary separation of migrant mothers from their children at the border than the fact that the slain Iowa student’s family is separated from her permanently because of the alleged capital crime of an illegal immigrant.

When Warren introduced her immigration “plan” last July, she tweeted, “As president, I’ll reject exclusionary policies based on race, religion and nationality, and I’ll reverse Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban on my first day in office.” There are no exclusionary policies “based on race, religion and nationality” in the Trump administration’s operation of the refugee program for her to “reject.” There is also no “bigoted Muslim Ban” to reverse. Muslims made up 15.5 percent of the 22,491 refugees resettled in the U.S. during fiscal year 2018. Nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela, and Yemen were subject to the “travel ban” incorporating enhanced security and vetting processes, which was upheld by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, 247 Muslims from Somalia and 42 Muslims from Syria were resettled in the U.S. during fiscal year 2018. 140 Iraqis were admitted during fiscal year 2018, 106 of whom were Muslims. The Muslim percentages are down from the Obama years to be sure, but only because the persecuted Christian minorities in Middle Eastern countries needed the Trump administration’s attention to make up for the Obama administration’s shameless neglect of their plight. The Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo combined) topped the nationality list, followed by Myanmar, which belies Warren’s false accusation against the Trump administration of exclusionary policies based on race or nationality.

President Trump is trying to fix an immigration system made worse by his predecessors and by leftists like Elizabeth Warren. Warren’s immigration plan is all about protecting the “rights” of illegal immigrants at the expense of the rule of law and the security of the American people. It is ironic that Warren, a self-professed believer in immigrants’ shared American heritage, has tried so hard to obscure her own white immigrant ancestry with phony claims to “my Native American heritage."