Establishment in full meltdown over Trump refugee orders
With the stroke of a pen, Trump set off a firestorm of criticism from the media, the religious establishment, business leaders and especially those in the business of resettling refugees. The volunteer agencies, or VOLAGs, which get paid by the government to resettle refugees, stand to lose millions of dollars in federal grants during the 120 days they sit idle.
The executive order itself seemed relatively mild to those who have been watching the refugee program for years with a critical eye.
Watchdogs such as Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch said she is concerned that after the 120-day pause expires, things will go back to business as usual.
“If it’s just a four-month moratorium that is nowhere near adequate,” Corcoran told WND. “This four months has to be used as an opportunity for Congress to reform the law, the Refugee Act of 1980, otherwise we’ll just be back to square one and they will all claim they did something when in fact they didn’t.”
Corcoran said the Republican-controlled Congress was “too chicken” to do anything to reform the refugee system but they are happy to let Trump take the heat.
One facet of the program that could stand to be changed is allowing the United Nations to pick which refugees get sent to America. These U.N.-selected refugees tend to be more Muslim than Christian, even though Christians are the victims of a declared genocide in the Middle East.
“Congress should be having field hearings, where congressmen and senators go around the country and hear from real people how the influx of these U.N. refugees has transformed their cities and towns, and not in a positive way,” Corcoran said.
More fearful of global warming than Islamic terror
As for the furious backlash against Trump, Corcoran said it’s a matter of conflicting world views.
“There are many people in these VOLAGs who just don’t have the fear of what we do, either of the terrorism or of turning over our culture to something that is evil,” she said. “They’re scared to death of global warming but not scared about Islam creeping into our culture and taking over.”
To the contrary, refugee backers expressed horror and dismay at the thought of slowing down the influx of Third Worlders, who in many cases are plucked from hotbeds of jihadism in Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan and placed into dozens of U.S. cities without any input or consent of the taxpaying residents of those cities.
Some of the refugees have made good citizens while others have committed criminal acts or carried out terrorist attacks.
Leading the charge against Trump’s executive orders Friday were the nine VOLAGs, which get paid by the government for every refugee they resettle in America — a conflict of interest none of them disclosed in their press releases. These VOLAGs include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, the evangelical group World Relief, Church World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Episcopal Migration Ministries, the International Rescue Committee, and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
The federal government pays these agencies $2,050 for every refugee they resettle in the U.S., and they’ve resettled more than 3 million since the Refugee Act of 1980 was signed by President Jimmy Carter.
Stabbing sprees in Minnesota & Ohio, bombings in N.Y.
Some of the most recent bad apples resettled in America by these agencies include Dahir Ahmed Adan and Abdul Ali Artan, both from Somalia. Adan carried out a brazen knife attack at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Sept. 17, wounding 10 shoppers. On Nov. 28, Artan rammed his vehicle into a gathering of fellow students at Ohio State University, then got out and started stabbing them with a butcher knife, injuring 11.
On the same day Adan went on a stabbing spree in St. Cloud, another refugee, Ahmad Rahimi of Afghanistan, planted pipe bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, and when they went off 29 people were wounded, several of them critically.
Sexual assaults mounting
Then there were the three refugee boys in Twin Falls, Idaho — two from Sudan and a third from Iraq — who sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl with special needs inside the laundry room of a low-income apartment complex last June.
In another case, a 39-year-old Somali refugee named Liban Mohamed attempted to sexually assault a disabled woman at a nursing home in Aberdeen, South Dakota, but was caught red-handed by a caregiver with his hand between the woman’s legs. He was convicted on Dec. 20 and his sentencing is set for Jan. 30.
Another refugee, Emad Hasso from Syria, was charged in July with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl at a public swimming pool in the Boston area.
In many of these cases, the refugees told authorities they had no clue what they were doing was wrong, as it is permitted or at least tolerated in their cultures back home.
There are hundreds more examples of bad behavior, including at least 42 Somali refugees who have skipped the country to go off and fight for ISIS and other overseas terrorist organizations. The FBI has confirmed that dozens more have been charged, tried and convicted of providing material support to overseas terror groups.
Long list of groups supporting refugee resettlementYet, despite overwhelming evidence that refugee resettlement has been detrimental to the safety of American citizens, the list of groups condemning Trump’s actions Friday was long and getting longer by day’s end.
Here are some examples:
A group claiming to represent small business owners, Main Street Alliance, called Trump’s executive actions “a disgrace to Main Street Values,” saying the actions are “divisive” and that they would be countered with a “message of diversity and inclusion.”
The alliance’s full statement by its national director, Amanda Ballantyne, makes a special effort to not refer to Trump as the president of the United States. It reads as follows:
“As a national network of small business owners, the Main Street Alliance, stands in opposition to Donald Trump’s decisions to freeze refugee resettlement and ban all immigration from several Muslim countries. Today’s executive orders will not make America safer, stronger, or more prosperous. They only serve to pull families apart and ultimately tear at the fabric of American communities.
“Now is a time to lift up the facts and speak the truth about our communities, our borders, and our economy. Research and experience show that the vast majority of refugees are working and paying taxes within a few short months. Refugees start businesses, create jobs, buy homes and cars, and renew neighborhoods. That means a stronger, more inclusive and thriving Main Street.
“Main Street Alliance leaders and fellow small business owners throughout the U.S. continue to place ‘All Are Welcome’ posters in their shops, restaurants and office spaces. Together, we celebrate diversity, create safe spaces and send a clear message of inclusion and opposition to this xenophobic policy.”
A group representing 2,000 Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders, issued a statement condemning Trump’s action on refugees before he even signed them. The statements were from faith leaders affiliated with Church World Services, one of the nine VOLAGs that contract with the federal government to resettle refugees in the U.S.
WND asked Wardah Khalid, spokesman for CWS if he would provide figures showing how much of the group’s budget is funded by the government and also asked why CWS signs agreements with the U.S. State Department waiving its rights to share the gospel with refugees in exchange for accepting tens of millions of dollars in federal grants and fees.
Khalid did not respond to the questions.
Here is a sampling of the comments by faith leaders, with more included on the website InterfaithImmigration.org:
- Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church: “Presbyterians, professing a faith in Jesus who entered this world a refugee, have supported refugee resettlement since World War II. Many of our congregations are led by and comprised of former refugees and many more have been transformed by the new friends they have encountered when assisting in resettlement. We are in the midst of a worldwide refugee crisis. Repressing mercy and compassion, in times like these, with groundless limits placed on the faith and nationality of those we should welcome, will not make our nation safer. It will only serve to harm hundreds of thousands of people who are waiting desperately for a safe home and will drive rifts between us and our global neighbors. Our nation is better than this and our congregations stand ready to welcome refugees of all faiths and nations.”
- Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: “The expected executive order defies the best American tradition of being a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution. As Jews, we recognize the danger in any action that singles out people based on their religious beliefs. If the order is made as anticipated, it is deeply troubling, rooted in exclusion and discrimination, and echoes the most shameful parts of our history.”
- Imam Ismail Fenni of the Islamic Society of Boston, which has connections to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood and has been attended by known jihadists including the Boston Marathon bombers, said: “Refugees are called so because they are seeking refuge from threats, violence and persecution. To deny them sanctuary is in effect acquiescing in support of their persecutor. Our values as a nation are built upon a quintessential idea: all men are created equal. And we hold this idea to be a self-evident truth. How we treat refugees reflects our commitment to these values which define us as Americans. We cannot simply see them as a burden. In fact, they are survivors, just as the many generations before us arrived into this country of ours as survivors. Our humanity, our values and our faith, all call for us to be hospitable and to show mercy and compassion to those seeking refuge. Doing otherwise and ignoring this call would simply amount to an act of hypocrisy.”
- Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, stated: “Temporarily banning vulnerable refugees does not guarantee our security nor reflect our values as Christians. Refugees being resettled in the United States have fled persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political views or association with a particular group. They have waited well over a year to successfully complete security screenings by multiple intelligence agencies while living in a completely foreign culture, many times, still facing danger. As Lutherans, many of our ancestors faced the pain of having to flee our homes and the joy of being welcomed in new communities across the United States. As we have done throughout history, I urge our elected officials to honor our biblical witness as well as the best of our nation’s traditions of refuge and stand firmly against any policies that result in scaling back the refugee resettlement program.”
- Pastor Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, another of the nine volunteer agencies that gets paid millions by the federal government to resettle refugees in return for not sharing the gospel with them, said, “The decision to restrict all entry of refugees and other immigrants … contradicts the American tradition of welcoming families who come to the United States to start their lives again in safety and dignity. The American people — most of whom can trace their own families’ stories through a similar immigrant journey in search of freedom — are a hospitable people.”
- Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee Chair for Migration at U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, another of the nine volunteer agencies that take federal tax dollars in return for resettling refugees in U.S. cities and towns and agree not to share the gospel with those refugees, said, “We believe in assisting all who are vulnerable and who are fleeing persecution. They are all children of God and all entitled to human dignity and refuge. We believe that through resettlement of the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.”
- Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, said, “The United Church of Christ remains fully committed to caring for the immigrant and the refugee. Our faith requires we do that even when American power-brokers compel us to stop. No wall or Executive Order will deter us from our call to serve the stranger with love and welcome. No president will compel us to fear our Muslim or Mexican neighbor. Our most clear directive is, and will remain, to love our neighbor as ourself.”
- Melanie Nezer, vice president of policy and advocacy for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, another of the nine volunteer agencies that contracts with the U.S. government to resettle refugees , said, “Throughout our history, the United States has been a leader in refugee protection and a beacon of hope for persecuted people. But President Trump wants to close the doors on Syrian and other refugee families when they need our help the most. Refugees are more thoroughly vetted and screened than anyone else who comes to the United States. There are more refugees in the world now than at any time in recorded history, and there are wait lists across the country of Americans who want to welcome refugees. We should be doing more, not less, to offer safety and a new beginning to these families who lost everything and want nothing more than to live in peace.”
- Hans Van de Weerd, chair of the Refugee Council USA and a vice president for the International Rescue Committee, also one of the VOLAGs in the business of resettling refugees, said: “These are frightening days for refugees and testing days for America. What we’ve learned about the proposed Executive Order is that it abandons this country’s long-standing message of tolerance. If President Trump insists on turning his back on those who try to flee terror, it is inhumane and irresponsible.
“This Executive Order sets a terrible example for the rest of the world. It is important to understand the potential consequences of the Executive Order and their harmful nature. This will create a situation where thousands of families will lose their access to opportunity and security. Here in the U.S., it would leave Muslim families and communities in uncertainty over whether they will ever be reunited with their loved ones.
“To us, it seems the decisions of the administration are ill-informed and hasty, built on false premises and ‘alternative facts.’ Refugees are not terrorists and it is absurd that this [Executive] Order seems to blame them for the terror they are trying to flee.”
- United Farm Workers National Vice President Diana Tellefson Torres, said in a statement:
“Any type of refugee ban for any period of time is appalling and in direct opposition to long-held American values. Seeking refuge in the U.S is most often the last resort for those who face genuine risk of persecution and can’t return to their countries from which they fled. This ban not only turns America’s back on the world’s most oppressed people, it also undermines our nation’s founding principles. We are a nation of immigrants, a nation that has historically offered refuge to the oppressed. The UFW Foundation and UFW will continue standing firmly with immigrant and refugee families, and denounces today’s executive action.”
Trump’s temporary refugee ban is ‘Un-American’
MoveOn.org issued a statement on Trump’s “Un-American Muslim ban and suspension of Refugee Program.” Ilya Sheyman, executive director, said:“Trump’s executive order banning refugees and creating a de-facto religious test for immigrants is cruel and un-American. This heartless and anti-Muslim act is not based on any legitimate security concern—but rather fear-mongering and prejudice.
“Make no mistake: This is a Muslim ban in all but name. A ban that may cost thousands of men, women, and children their lives and will endanger America.”
She compared the Muslim refugees to Jews trying to escape the Holocaust.
“To make this announcement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when Americans are called to reflect on how our country slammed the door on Jewish refugees, sending them back to their deaths in Nazi Germany, is proof that Trump’s cruelty, racism, and dismissal of history knows no bounds.
“We will fight this Islamophobic and dangerous proposal.”
Lesbians for refugees
The National Center for Lesbian Rights issued a statement calling Trump’s order “an attack on American values.” Executive Director Kate Kendell, said: “The announcement today represents a direct attack on our most cherished values as a nation. To single out Muslim persons for stigma and suspicion undermines our commitment to inclusion, religious freedom, and our common humanity. Today that Lady of Liberty, symbol of America’s greatest promise to the world, hangs her head and weeps.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee or PCCC called the executive orders “hateful actions” and co-founder Stephanie Taylor piled on with the following statement:
“This is not what America is about. We stand strongly against these hateful actions, and in solidarity with our Muslim and immigrant neighbors. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Trump handed our economy over to billionaires and bankers, these new policies are fueled by hate and contradict what America is all about. The rest of us want an America where families of all colors and creeds are united in our desire for good jobs, safe communities, and a secure future for our kids. We know which side we’re on.”