Trump Keeping His Promise on Refugee Admissions, So Far

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Monday’s Wall Street Journal carried an article titled “Refugee Admissions to the U.S. Decline.” It clearly demonstrates that the president is keeping his word on refugee migration, when the courts are not in his hair—at least so far. But at the end of this piece, I’ll show you how you can personally check any change in refugee numbers.

It’d be fair to add that he did not keep his word on deleting all of Obama’s unconstitutional EOs on day one. But on September 5, 2017 he announced he would end DACA in six months, giving Congress the time to legislate a legal status for them—which is the constitutional way to do it. But DACA is the subject of another article.

The WSJ explains how not only the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has dropped, in the first 3 months of this fiscal year—the percentage of refugees from 11 Muslim-majority nations has plunged. Keep in mind that we’re talking about fiscal years here. Fiscal 2018 started on October 1, 2017 and will end September 30th, 2018.

So, the change in refugee numbers reflects 3 months: October, November and December, the first quarter of fiscal 2018. During those months, the Journal reports, a number of policies reduced the number of refugees admitted. First, extreme vetting started in October, so that refugee applicants who had already been screened with the old standards had to be re-screened. So, there was a delay in their approval.

Second, “For a 90-day period, the Administration blocked admission to most refugees from 11 countries. Most of the reduction was from: Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. “But Egypt, Libya, Mali, North Korea, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen were also on the list,” said the Journal.

“Together, added the WSJ, “those 11 countries have accounted for 40% or more of refugee admissions in recent years.” Obama’s campaign to bring in Muslims?

In the first 3 months of fiscal 2018, only 5% of the total number of 5323 refugees admitted were from these 11 countries. We do not know, at this point if the total number of refugees for this year is going to be less than the 45,000 cap that the president set last fall, for this year.

The article includes a graphic that breaks down the total number of refugees admitted in each of the previous 3 fiscal years and 2018. It also shows the percentage of the total who “identified as Muslim.”

Year     Total     Muslims

2015    69,933    41%

2016    84,994    46%

2017    53,716    43%

2018*   5323     14%

*3 months only.

The Journal notes that “Critics say those figures bolster their argument that Mr. Trump’s aim is to ban entry to foreign Muslims.” It adds that this issue has generated a number of lawsuits. The article does not mention that the president has the statutory power to ban entry to foreign Muslims, if he wanted to, under 8 USC 1182(f):

(f)Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

On September 24, 2017 the president issued Proclamation #9645, which did not apply to refugees, stated that in Executive Order 13780, the president had ordered a “worldwide review” to identify what additional information will be needed from each foreign country … in order to determine that people seeking admission to the U.S. are not “a security or public-safety threat.” Officials worked with countries who had come up short in that EO, to improve their information-sharing and identity-management protocols.

Nearly 200 countries were evaluated, and a report issued by the secretary of DHS last July. A new list of banned nations was given in the proclamation, “countries [that] continue to have ‘inadequate’” identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors such that entry restrictions and limitations are recommended”: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela (certain officials only), Yemen and Iraq. Iraqi nationals were to be subject to additional scrutiny.

Details are given here.

There are exceptions and case by-case waivers can be made under certain conditions, notably: “entry [of a foreign national] would be in the national interest.”

Lawsuits were indeed generated, but they could only be termed malicious or at best, frivolous prosecution. If you read the statute quoted above, that’s obvious.

The WSJ also does not mention that on December 4th, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Presidential Proclamation #9645 can be put into full effect, pending completion of lawsuits in lower courts, and the SCOTUS’s review on the merits. This is a strong indication that when the Court reviews the issue on the merits, the president will prevail. The only question is how broadly will “relationships” be interpreted.

It would be reasonable for an applicant’s spouse, children or parents to be admissible with the applicant. But mothers-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins and other more distant relations make no sense.

However, at the televised meeting between the president and congressional leaders, Tuesday Mr. Trump said that if they can make a deal on DACA, “We’re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat…”

“Comprehensive immigration reform” has been code for amnesty for a long time, so it remains to be seen what the president is willing to give up, in that regard. His statement drew conservative fire, like this tweet, from Ann Coulter:

If you’d like to monitor how many refugees are admitted, what their religion is, what nations did they come from, you can use the interactive reporting tool of the Refugee Processing Center, here. It’s easy to use. Just remember that reports can be several pages long, so be sure to look at the final page for totals.