By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, November 16, US Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee with proposed language for cancelling the blank check for President Obama’s refugee resettlement in the upcoming government funding bill.
Sen. Sessions wrote, “I write to respectfully request that any upcoming appropriations legislation – including any Omnibus legislation – require Congressional approval for the President’s refugee resettlement plans and the funds to carry them out.” “In a formal notice to Congress, the Administration announced its plan to increase refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2016 to at least a floor of 85,000, with at least 10,000 of those refugees coming from Syria (all on top of the current historic immigration flow). Absent a change in the way in which Congress provides funds for refugee admissions, processing, and related matters, this ramp-up will occur despite both public and Congressional opposition.”
Sen. Sessions continued, “Administration officials confirmed that our government has no access to Syrian government data to properly vet refugees and has no capacity to predict whether Syrian refugees are likely to join ISIS, as have many, for example, in Minnesota’s Somali refugee community. On October 22, 2015, FBI Director James Comey confirmed this in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly stating that the government does not have the resources and lacks the necessary information to fully vet Syrian refugees, and could not offer any assurances that there is no risk associated with admitting these individuals to the country.”
Sessions said, “The barbaric attacks in Paris – an assault on civilization itself – add immense new urgency. As the former head of the USCIS union warned in a public statement more than a year ago: ‘as we know from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, from the Boston Bombing, from the recent plot to bomb a school and courthouse in Connecticut, and many other lesser-known terror incidents, we are letting terrorists into the United States right through our front door.’”
Sen. Sessions wrote, “Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, estimates the net cost of resettling 10,000 refugees averages out to $6.5 billion over the lifespan of those refugees. With such a forecast, the President’s proposal to resettle 85,000 refugees this fiscal year alone will result in a net cost of approximately $55.25 billion.”
Sessions said that, “For the same cost of providing benefits to one refugee in America, vastly more refugees could be helped by establishing safe-zones in Syria or surrounding countries until displaced persons can be safely returned home. This is the strategy likeliest to produce long-term political reform in the Middle East. It is not sound policy to encourage millions to permanently abandon their homes. We have resettled 1.5 million migrants from Muslim nations in the United States since 9/11, and it clearly has not contributed to the stabilization of unstable regions. Under current admissions policies, we can be expected to resettle another nearly 700,000 migrants from Muslim countries over the next five years.”
Sen. Sessions suggested that his colleagues attach language in any government funding bills that include funding for refugee resettlement operations. Sessions said that this language would accomplish four primary things: It would require Congress to hold a separate vote on the President’s refugee resettlement plan to unlock funding for the plan; It would require the Congressional Budget Office to produce a full cost score of long-term federal spending on refugee resettlement, including all welfare and entitlement spending; It would require the administration to propose offsets to fully pay for refugee resettlement; and It would require the administration to identify aliens admitted to the United States as refugees since 2001 who subsequently engaged in criminal or terrorist conduct.
Sessions warned that without such basic requirements, “The administration will dramatically increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States on top of our current historic immigration flow; the United States will begin resettling tens of thousands of poorly-vetted Syrian refugees who will eventually be able to bring in their relatives; all of the exorbitant long-term costs for this resettlement will be borrowed and added to our now $18.4 trillion debt. The current proposal will amount to a blank check to President Obama to carry out his entire refugee resettlement plan.”
2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney wrote in the Washington Post, “The West must stop the insanity of welcoming hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East without knowing who exactly they are. Women, children and the elderly, perhaps, but not thousands upon thousands of single young men.”
Senator Jeff Sessions is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest and has been a long time critic of Obama’s open door immigration policies.