What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’?

MEF, by Burak Bekdil
BESA Center Perspectives
September 10, 2017

Originally published under the title “What’s on a Muslim Refugee’s Mind?”

The autumn of 2015 was unusual in almost every way on the north Aegean Greek island of Lesbos from which I am writing. There were tens of thousands of illegal migrants on the island, the native population of which was scarcely 100,000. New refugees arrived every day by the thousands.[1]

One evening, the blue-grey sky grumbled shortly after sunset. The thick clouds blackened and rain poured down over the city with a roar. As I ran across the slippery pavement into a friend’s bar, I heard a group of five poor souls speaking Persian with a Turkic accent and running amok, seeking shelter under the eaves of a building.

A quarter of an hour later I found them in front of my friend’s bar, totally soaked. I went out and asked them if they spoke English; they shook their heads. I asked them in Turkish if they spoke Turkish. With glittering eyes, three of them cheerfully said, “Evet!” [“Yes” in Turkish]. I told them they could come into the bar if they liked. They hesitated but politely declined. I asked if they needed food, water, or cigarettes.

The one with the most fluent Turkish stepped forward. He drew a pack of banknotes from his pocket and said, “If you really want to help, find us a hotel. The best, if possible. We have cash. Money is no problem. Find us a hotel and we’ll pay you a commission.” He explained that all the “damn” hotels on the island were full [of refugees] and they needed rooms.

I apologized and disappeared into the bar.

Why do millions of Muslims risk everything to reach a civilization they blame for all the world’s evils?

Nearly two years later, on a beautiful and cool summer evening, I met A. at a bar on the same island. A., a Syrian refugee, often spends his evenings bar-hopping with his Western friends. Those friends are mostly romantic European social workers who, I observed several times, sport t-shirts, bags, and laptops festooned with the Palestinian flag. They are on the island to help the unfortunate Muslim refugees who are fleeing war in their native countries.

“I’ll tell you strictly Muslim-to-Muslim,” A. said in good English after having poured down a few shots of whiskey. “These (European social workers) are funny guys. And they’re not just funny. They’re also silly. I don’t know why on earth they are in love with a Muslim cause that even some of us Muslims despise.”

Last year, three Afghans stopped in front of my house on the same island and asked for drinking water. I gave them three bottles and asked if they needed anything else. Coffee? They accepted and sat down in the garden chairs.

Over coffee, they said they were glad to be hosted “not by an infidel on this infidel island” but by a Muslim. The young Afghan who was dressed like a dancer from a cheap hip-hop clip on MTV said, “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They [‘infidels’] are too easy to fool.”

M., another fluently English-speaking Syrian, gave me a long lecture on the wonderful governance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Turkey is the best country in the world!” M. said. ” Erdoğan is the leader of the ummah.” I asked why he had risked his life to cross illegally from the “best country in the world” to the “poor, infidel lands.” “I want to go to Europe to increase the Muslim population there,” he said. “I want to make a Muslim family there. I want to have plenty of children.” I reminded him that Greece, too, is a European country. No it’s not, he answered.

Almost all illegal migrants in Greece want to get to Germany, where they will be the best paid.

Almost all the illegal migrants on that and other Greek islands want to get to Germany, where they have heard from friends and relatives that they will be the best paid for being “poor” refugees. The cliché “the-poor-souls-are-fleeing-war-in-their-native-country” is becoming less and less convincing every day. True, most Syrians fled to Turkey after the start of civil war in their country. But why did they then risk their lives to squeeze into 12-man rubber boats with 40-50 other people, including children and the elderly? Because of war in Turkey?

No. Despite political instability and insecurity for all, there is technically no war in Turkey. It is a Muslim country whose mostly Muslim migrants want to leave it as soon as possible for non-Muslim Europe.

They reach the shores of the Greek islands, which are so beautiful that people from across the world fly there for their holidays. But the islands are not good enough. They want to go to Athens. Why? Because there is war on the Greek islands? No. It’s because Athens is the start of the exit route to the Balkans.

Apply the same logic to Serbia, Hungary, and Austria. Like Greece, none of those countries will be good enough for the refugees. Why not? Because there is war in Serbia or Hungary or Austria? Or because “my cousin tells me Germans pay the best?”

Turkey’s leaders often threaten Europe that they will “open the gates” and flood Europe with millions of refugees. They should ask themselves instead why those Muslim refugees are so eager to leave the “new Turkish empire” if given the chance. Why would they choose not to live a comfortable life in a powerful and peaceful Muslim country and instead flock to the “infidel” west?

Erdoğan blames the West for the tragedy. He has criticized the West for having taken only 250,000 Syrian refugees. In 2016, then Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members (the US, Russia, Britain, France, and China), should pay the price, not Syria’s [Muslim] neighbors.

It is ironic that millions of Muslims are trying, through dangerous means, to reach the borders of a civilization they have historically blamed for all the world’s evils, including those of their own countries. The “romantic” West does not question why millions of West-hating Muslims are heading in their direction. Or is it “Islamophobic” to point out that there is no war in Greece, Serbia, Hungary, or Austria?

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

[1] By the end of July 2017, the number of refugees and migrants in Greece waiting to be granted asylum or deported had fallen to 62,407. The five Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros) are presently home to 15,222 asylum-seekers and migrants.

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A year ago, screaming headlines spoke of an immigration crisis in Europe, caused by refugees fleeing the Middle East. You may not have heard much lately, about what was called the refugee crisis of 2016. Here’s a new headline: it hasn’t gone away. In fact, in some respects, it may be getting worse. Scott Thuman went to France, to examine the growing worry, over this new wave of refugees.

Germany’s Refugee-Driven Terror Problem Out of Control After a Dozen Incidents Since Jan 2016

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 29, 2017:

Yesterday it was Hamburg. Today or tomorrow it could be anywhere else in Germany.

As I chronicle below, there have been a dozen terror-related incidents in Germany since January 2016, indicating that the problem may be at a tipping point as the number of fatal terror attacks in Western Europe has exploded in just the past few years.

And much of the recent problem is refugee-driven.

The attacker who killed one and injured seven at a supermarket in Hamburg Friday while shouting “Allah akbhar” was a Palestinian born in the UAE who was in the country illegally and was scheduled for deportation.

He entered the country in 2015 during the massive rush of Syrian migrants, during which 900,000 entered the country.

Video taken at the scene of yesterday’s attack shows him fending off bystanders who subdued him and being taken under arrest by police:

Local media reported that the attacker was an Islamist already known to German authorities:

With parliamentary elections looming in September, the Hamburg attack reopens the debate in Germany about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to let more than a million immigrants enter the country since the summer of 2015.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz lashed out on Facebook yesterday, noting that the attacker had been welcomed in Germany, only to “direct his hatred towards us.” He also called for deporting any dangerous immigrant Islamists.

Read more

Trump throws wrench in U.N. plan to ‘replace’ U.S. population

Most Somali refugees start out here, at the United Nations Daadab refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border. Between 5.000 and 11,000 Somalis per year are sent to the United States and distributed to dozens of cities, along with thousands of other U.N.-selected ‘refugees’ from Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

WND, by, Liam Clancy, July 23, 2017:

WASHINGTON – In the last year of his presidency, Barack Obama and his administration worked tirelessly with the United Nations to expand the definition of “refugee” to include economic migrants and drastically increase the numbers being resettled in the United States.

And he found a willing partner in the Republican-controlled Congress, which funded not only more refugees but provisions for record numbers of unaccompanied minor children, so-called UACs, showing up at the border from Central America.

In the fall of 2016 Obama hosted the U.N. Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York, where he and other world leaders used rhetoric strikingly similar to the concept of “replacement migration,” a U.N. plot to replace the population of a given country with migrants and “refugees” from the developing world.

WND recently reported on the scheme, revealed in a U.N. document prepared in the year 2000 entitled “Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Aging Populations?

The report details the plunging birthrates across Western Europe, Russia, Japan and the United States and identifies a solution: mass migration from the Third World into these “aging and declining” nations.

The 17-year-old document makes the case for mass immigration as necessary to replace the aging populations of developed countries. Without the migration of populations from the developing world, it reasons, economies will suffer because of labor shortages and falling tax revenues.

“Therefore, among the demographic variables, only international migration could be instrumental in addressing population decline and population aging in the short to medium term,” the report concludes.

Obama’s stated goals before the Leaders’ Summit last fall were to increase financing for global humanitarian appeals, as well as double the number of resettlement slots and use “alternative legal pathways,” such as student and family-based visas, for refugees to enter the United States.

A report by the influential Brookings Institute included reasons to support Obama’s plan to increase resettlement, stating: “For receiving countries, migration has already become the most important source of demographic growth and renewal for wealthy societies.” This is the goal of “replacement migration.”

“The so-called benefits of replacing a country’s population with Third World migrants is bogus and imaginary,” said Leo Hohmann, author of a 2017 investigative book, “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”

Hohmann said that while the costs of refugee resettlement are understated, often ignoring refugees’ heavy use of public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, refugee advocates also like to overstate the economic impact of refugees in the work place.

“For example, even after five years in America, 60 percent of refugees use food stamps, compared to 15 percent for native-born Americans,” Hohmann said, citing statistics provided by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Yet, when Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and the other resettlement agencies show up in a city to inform leaders of their intention to send refugees, they talk about how the new arrivals will open businesses and boost the local economy, Hohmann said.

“It’s a bunch of lies and half truths,” he said. “They’re never told the rest of the story.”

Minnesota, for instance, earlier this month approved an additional $600,000 to treat a measles and tuberculosis outbreaks mostly within its Somali and Hmong refugee communities, and that was on top of the $1.5 million the state had already allocated for these outbreaks this year.

Another hidden cost, which is almost never talked about, is that of educating the refugees’ children, most of whom require expensive tutors and translators, Hohmann said, pointing to migrant-heavy school districts like Wichita, Kansas, where students speak more than 50 languages.

None of these costs are subtracted from the supposed economic benefits of importing refugees to come up with a net economic impact, Hohmann said.

The official pledge given by the United States at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees included the following statement:

“The United States admitted 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 – 15,000 more than in FY 2015 – and pledged to increase its refugee admissions to 110,000 in FY 2017. The United States also increased alternative pathways of admission into the United States, providing special immigrant visas to more than 11,000 people at risk from Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2016 – an increase of over 4,000 from FY 2015.”

A day before the Leaders’ Summit, the U.N. convened at the U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016, and statements from top U.N. officials at the event revealed that “replacement migration” continues to be a top priority for their global agenda.

“Replacing populations in the West with those from the Third World is also seen by the globalists as a great way to redistribute the world’s wealth,” Hohmann said. “We ship many of our manufacturing jobs to the Third World and they ship us their poor masses who can take advantage of our generous welfare programs while working in the factories that have not yet been outsourced. That’s a double whammy used against the American middle class, impoverishing Americans while improving the financial lot of those in poor countries.”

Expanding the definition of ‘refugee’

H.E. Peter Thomson, president of the U.N. General Assembly, made remarks at the 2016 summit that the U.N.’s commitment toward migrants is not restricted to refugees, but toward economic migrants as well, declaring that those migrants “in search of opportunity and a better life for their children” deserve the same rights as those “fleeing armed conflict and the brutal effects of war.”

The U.N. included the economic rights of migrants in a major document for the first time with its Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson echoed that sentiment at the summit, saying that “Development programs are crucial and a key priority. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized the contribution migration makes to economic progress. We must harness that positive energy.”

The summit also produced the New York Declaration, a document signed by all U.N. member states that makes alarming promises to protect not only legitimate refugees fleeing war zones, but migrants as a whole – even those who would not qualify as “refugees” under the Geneva Accords.

For example, the New York Declaration includes a promise to “Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status,” as well as a statement to “Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.”

The International Organization for Migration is a radically pro-migrant U.N. group, and has declared emphatically that migration is both “necessary” and “inevitable.” The group was formally added into the U.N. system at the conclusion of the 2016 summit.

The New York Declaration reveals a plan for the future, including a commitment to “Start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018… migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles and approaches.”

With the election of President Donald Trump, the United States has lowered refugee admissions from Obama’s 2017 goal of 110,000 to just over 50,000, a move that drew intense criticism from pro-migrant groups – and possible push-back from the U.S. State Department.

This is not surprising, given that the State Department under Obama was extremely pro-migrant as evidenced by its actions at the two U.N. migration summits, and the department remains staffed predominantly with Obama holdovers.

“There is still many, many holdovers from the Obama administration the State Department,” Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, told WND.

Mehlman said Trump has left many top positions in the State Department unfilled, and this is stifling the president’s agenda. “If you want to have your agenda carried out, you need people in place to carry it out.”

However, with the recent Supreme Court ruling on Trump’s “travel ban,” it appears Trump has stopped the refugee flow to the United States, at least temporarily. His refugee cap to 50,000 was reached on July 12, and with the travel ban in effect, refugees cannot be admitted until the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, unless they can prove they have a “bona fide” family tie in America.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a final ruling on Trump’s travel ban in October.

“The latest travel ban ruling says he can limit the number of refugees entering the United States, but what will happen remains to be seen,” Mehlman explained.

Europe: More Migrants Coming

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, May 5, 2017:

  • “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country.” — Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka.
  • Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe’s permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe’s permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.
  • The migrants arriving in Italy are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones.
  • The director of the UN office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The European Union has called on its member states to lift border controls — introduced at the height of the migration crisis in September 2015 — within the next six months.

The return to open borders, which would allow for passport-free travel across the EU, comes at a time when the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean continues to rise, and when Turkish authorities increasingly have been threatening to renege on a border deal that has lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

Critics say that lifting the border controls now could trigger another, even greater, migration crisis by encouraging potentially millions of new migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to begin making their way to Europe. It would also allow jihadists to cross European borders undetected to carry out attacks when and where they wish.

At a press conference in Brussels on May 2, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called on Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden — among the wealthiest and most sought after destinations in Europe for migrants — to phase out the temporary controls currently in place at their internal Schengen borders over the next six months.

The so-called Schengen Agreement, which took effect in March 1995, abolished many of the EU’s internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The Schengen Agreement, along with the single European currency, are fundamental pillars of the European Union and essential building-blocks for constructing a United States of Europe. With the long-term sustainability of the single currency and open borders in question, advocates of European federalism are keen to preserve both.

Avramopoulos, who argued that border controls are “not in the European spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” said:

“The time has come to take the last concrete steps to gradually return to a normal functioning of the Schengen Area. This is our goal, and it remains unchanged. A fully functioning Schengen area, free from internal border controls. Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European project. We must do everything to protect it.”

The temporary border controls were established in September 2015, after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe, and when EU member states, led by Germany, gave special permission to some EU countries to impose emergency controls for up to two years. Since then, the European Union has approved six-month extensions of controls at the German-Austrian border, at Austria’s frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia and at Danish, Swedish and Norwegian borders (Norway is a member of Schengen but not the EU). Several countries have argued that they need border controls to combat the threat of Islamic militancy.

On May 2, Sweden, which claims to conduct the most border checks among the EU countries, announced that it will lift controls at its border with Denmark. Sweden received 81,000 asylum seekers in 2014; 163,000 in 2015; 29,000 in 2016, and the same is expected for 2017.

On April 26, Austria called for an indefinite extension of border controls. “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country,” Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said. Austria, which accepted some 90,000 migrants in 2015, also called for a “postponement” of the EU refugee distribution program, which requires EU member states to accept a mandatory and proportional distribution of asylum-seekers who arrive in other member nations.

On March 9, Norway extended border controls for another three months.

On January 26, Denmark extended border controls for another four months. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that his government would extend its border controls “until European borders are under control.”

On January 19, Germany and Austria announced that border controls between their countries would continue indefinitely, “as long as the EU external border is not adequately protected.”

Meanwhile, the number of migrants making their way to Europe is once again trending higher. Of the 30,465 migrants who reached Europe during the first quarter of 2017, 24,292 (80%) arrived in Italy, 4,407 arrived in Greece, 1,510 arrived in Spain and 256 arrived in Bulgaria, according to the International Office for Migration (IOM).

By way of comparison, the number of arrivals to Europe during each of the first three months of 2017 exceeded those who arrived during the same time period in 2015, the year in which migration to Europe reached unprecedented levels.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2017. Better weather is already bringing about a surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. During just one week in April, for example, a total of 9,661 migrants reached the shores of Italy.

The migrants arriving there are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones. According to the IOM, the migrants who reached Italy during the first three months of 2017 are, in descending order, from: Guinea, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, Somalia and Eritrea.

In February, Italy reached a deal with the UN-backed government in Tripoli to hold migrants in camps in Libya in exchange for money to fight human traffickers. The agreement was endorsed by both the European Union and Germany.

On May 2, however, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel reversed course by saying the deal ignored the “catastrophic conditions” in Libya and would not curb migration. He said that Germany now favored tackling migration by fighting instability in Africa:

“What we are trying instead is to help stabilize the countries on the continent. But that is difficult. We will have to show staying power, stamina and patience. This is in the interest of Africans but also in the interest of Europeans.”

Gabriel’s long-term solution — which in the best of circumstances could take decades to bear fruit — implies that mass migration from Africa to Europe will continue unabated for many years to come.

Italy has emerged as Europe’s main point of entry for migrants largely because of an agreement the European Union signed with Turkey in March 2016 to stem migration from Turkey to Greece. In recent weeks, however, Turkish authorities have threatened to back out of the deal because, according to them, the EU has failed to honor its end of the bargain.

Under the agreement, the EU pledged to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.4 billion), as well as grant visa-free travel to Europe for Turkey’s 78 million citizens, and to restart accession talks for Turkey to join the bloc. In exchange, Turkey agreed to take back all migrants and refugees who reach Greece via Turkey.

After the deal was reached, the number of migrants reaching Greece dropped sharply, although not completely. According to data supplied by the European Union on April 12, a total of 30,565 migrants reached Greece since the migrant deal took effect. Only 944 of those migrants have been returned to Turkey. Still, this is in sharp contrast to the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered Greece at the height of the migration crisis. Turkey’s continued cooperation is essential to keep the migration floodgates closed.

On April 22, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs, Ömer Çelik, issued an ultimatum, warning the European Union that if it does not grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel by the end of May, Turkey would suspend the migrant deal and flood Europe with migrants.

On March 17, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu warned that his country would “blow the mind” of Europe and renege on the deal by sending 15,000 Syrian refugees a month to Europe:

“We have a readmission deal. I’m telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we’ll send the 15,000 refugees to you that we don’t send each month and blow your mind. You have to keep in mind that you can’t design a game in this region apart from Turkey.”

In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had already threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses,” he told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In a speech, he signaled that he was running out of patience:

“We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. We will be patient, but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing.”

In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses,” he told Jean-Claude Juncker (right), President of the European Commission. (Image source: Turkish President’s Office)

European officials say that to qualify for the visa waiver, Turkey must meet 72 conditions, including the most important one: relaxing its stringent anti-terrorism laws, which are being used to silence critics of Erdoğan, especially since the failed coup in July 2016. Turkey has vowed not to comply with the EU’s demands.

Critics of visa liberalization fear that millions of Turkish nationals may end up migrating to Europe. The Austrian newsmagazine, Wochenblick, recently reported that 11 million Turks are living in poverty and “many of them are dreaming of moving to central Europe.”

Other analysts believe Erdoğan views the visa waiver as an opportunity to “export” Turkey’s “Kurdish Problem” to Germany. According to Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder, millions of Kurds are poised to take advantage of the visa waiver to flee to Germany to escape persecution at the hands of Erdoğan: “We are importing an internal Turkish conflict,” he warned. “In the end, fewer migrants may arrive by boat, but more will arrive by airplane.”

The European Union now finds itself in a Catch-22 situation. Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe’s permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe’s permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.

Greek officials recently revealed that they have drawn up emergency plans to cope with a new migrant crisis. Turkey is hosting some three million migrants from Syria and Iraq, many of whom are presumably waiting for an opportunity to flee to Europe.

Italy is also bracing for the worst. Up to a million people, mainly from Bangladesh, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and Syria are now in Libya waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to the IOM.

The director of the United Nations office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In an interview with The Times, Møller, a Dane, said:

“What we have been seeing is one of the biggest human migrations in history. And it’s just going to accelerate. Young people all have cellphones and they can see what’s happening in other parts of the world, and that acts as a magnet.”

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has echoed that warning:

“The biggest migration movements are still ahead: Africa’s population will double in the next decades. A country like Egypt will grow to 100 million people, Nigeria to 400 million. In our digital age with the internet and mobile phones, everyone knows about our prosperity and lifestyle.”

Müller added that only 10% of those currently on the move have reached Europe: “Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Shut Down America’s Refugee Programs Before They Turn Us Into Germany

shutterstock_319837088-1It costs 12 times as much to resettle refugees as it does to assist them in place. Almost all refugees would prefer to return home than be resettled to a third country.

The Federalist, by James Simpson, January 4, 2017:

On the first day of the new year, Islamic terrorists claimed another 39 victims, including Americans, in an attack at a popular nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey. The Christmas truck attack in Berlin recalls the similar July attack in Nice, France. The suspect, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri, was killed in a shootout with Italian police on December 23.

Amri had been denied asylum in Germany due to his terror risk, but was not deported because Tunisia would not accept him since he lacked a passport. Amri carried six different aliases from three nations and had been monitored by German authorities. He was not a “lone jihadist” but part of an ISIS cell, and traveled covertly, like some of the Paris killers, with the refugee flow from the Mediterranean.

On the same day as the Berlin attack, there was a knife attack at a Virginia Metro station by an African Muslim, Ali Ahmed Mohamound. A similar knife attack occurred in New York City the day before, with the suspect still at large.

All this followed on the heels of November’s Ohio State knife attack by Somali Muslim refugee Abdul Artan. These attacks typify the kinds recommended in ISIS literature, and ISIS claims credit for most of them. With Berlin, Brussels, Orlando, and so many other horrific attacks this year, San Bernardino and Paris almost seem like old news.

Although we view these events with horror and growing alarm, the outgoing Obama administration is literally importing terrorists through our nation’s refugee programs. Because private contractors are paid by the head to resettle refugees and other needy populations, the resettlement program has built-in incentives for uncontrolled growth. This harmonizes with the Left’s open borders agenda, which seeks to swell the rolls of new Democrat voters while weakening the influence of traditional (read conservative) America.

Big business shares this agenda in seeking cheap, subsidized labor. The resulting bipartisan alliance has long subsidized a resettlement industry that is expensive, secretive, duplicitous, and unconcerned about the Americans who pay for it with hard-earned tax dollars. The refugee resettlement program must be abolished in its current form before it puts us on the path toward today’s turbulent France and Germany.

The Real Risk of Increasing Terrorism

The most important risk the current refugee program creates is terrorism. Since 9/11 there have been 580 convictions for terrorism in the United States. At least 40 of these were refugees. Just this year, in addition to the knife attacks by Abdul Artan and Ali Mohamound, four other refugees have committed or attempted to commit acts of terrorism.

Since March 2014 there have been 111 ISIS-related arrests and 60 convictions. There have been nine indictments and six convictions of ISIS supporters in the metropolitan DC area alone. ISIS openly encourages “lone jihadi” attacks, and the State Department now admits ISIS is trying to penetrate the U.S. refugee flow. Some 250 U.S. Muslims from 19 states have either joined or attempted to join ISIS overseas. Many have since returned with little or no oversight.

Let’s be clear: these are not Mennonite terrorists. They are not Episcopalian suicide bombers. Virtually all 580 convictions since 9/11 were Muslim immigrants or American Muslim converts, and the Somali community consistently supplies such malefactors. Yet the Department of Homeland Security has provided tours of airport facilities to groups of Somalis, including explanations of airport inner workings, security protocols, and databases. DHS redacted some of this information as too sensitive to share with the public.

The Refugee Program Is Home to Major Fraud

Virginia knife attacker Ali Mohamound was carrying multiple identities when arrested. The Ohio State terrorist and his family lived in Pakistan for seven years before being resettled to the United States. Why were they not simply resettled in Pakistan? Afghani refugee Ahmad Rahami, the terrorist bomber of New York and New Jersey, originally entered the United States through the asylum program, but then traveled back to Afghanistan, where he apparently became radicalized. How can someone who is supposedly fleeing his home country for his life go back for a visit?

Virtually all U.S. Somalis originally arrived as refugees or asylum seekers or are their children. Many now take months-long trips back to Somalia, contradicting their purported reason for seeking asylum: fleeing Somalia for their lives. Minneapolis actually grants rent relief because Somalis complained about the cost of overdue rent upon their return. The home country visits so many “refugees” make undercut the program’s integrity.

The entire refugee resettlement program has systematic fraud, creating both national security risks and undue fiscal burdens. Refugee advocates claim the vetting process for Syrians is airtight, but U.S. security officials say exactly the opposite. An internal Immigrations, Customs, and Enforcement memo states, “[The] refugee program is particularly vulnerable to fraud due to loose evidentiary requirements where at times the testimony of an applicant alone is sufficient for approval.” The memo goes on to say that “the immigration system is a constant target for exploitation” by terrorists. An Immigration and Naturalization Services assistant commissioner said 95 percent of refugee and asylee applications are fraudulent.

The Obama administration has knowingly and routinely allowed illegal aliens falsely claiming asylum to remain in the United States. A September 2016 DHS Inspector General report found that 1,982 aliens from countries known for immigration fraud or terror-links who were scheduled for deportation were instead granted citizenship using false identities because fingerprint records were missing.

The United Nations selects almost all refugees, and the United States takes more refugees than all other resettlement nations combined. Yet many of the tens of thousands of unvettable Syrians who are accepted don’t meet the refugee definition.

Syrian Christians are facing genocide, and certainly do meet the definition, but represent less than 1 percent of those Syrians resettled so far. Syrian Muslims are more than 98 percent of the total. In the interest of diplomacy we are also resettling populations other countries refuse to take. Most recently, the Obama administration offered to accept 2,465 asylum seekers now being detained by Australia which that country refuses to accept because of their possible ties to terrorism. In response to congressional inquiries, the administration has declared information about this agreement classified.

Heavy Costs for Taxpayers Besides Terrorism Risks

Refugee resettlement is administered by three agencies: the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It has grown and metastasized over the years.

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In fiscal year 2016, the program cost $2.4 billion, an increase of 205.4 percent since FY 2009. At the last minute Obama boosted ORR’s request to $3.9 billion for FY 2017 to handle the unprecedented flow of minors now being apprehended at the Southwest border. That’s 14,128 in the past two months alone and a 106 percent increase for the year.

Congress provided a pro-rata share of $500 million of this request in the short-term continuing resolution passed on December 9. It cannot be expended until the new Health and Human Services secretary has been installed. He can withhold some or all of those funds, if he chooses.

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The table above shows the numbers resettled by category, a total of 195,231 individuals in FY 2015. This represents 20 percent of all immigrants allowed into the United States annually. The numbers will be significantly higher this year if nothing is done.

Since FY 2009, approximately 1 million migrants have arrived through these programs. Program costs average about $10,000 per head in the first year, and refugee welfare use is off the charts, even after five years (see table below). In fact, refugees resettled in the 1980s still receive welfare at rates well in excess of Americans and other immigrants.

The Center for Immigration Studies has estimated the annual cost of resettling Muslim refugees during the first five years at $12,874 per head. Muslim refugees use welfare at higher rates than average. I have estimated a somewhat lower average of $11,574 per head for the entire group. Cumulatively for the years 2009 through 2015, this cohort alone has cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering $48 billion. Since 1980, 3 million have been resettled.

Migrants Create a Heavy Toll on Communities

State and local costs are significant. When the Refugee Act was first passed, the federal government promised to cover 36 months of states’ share of food stamps, Medicaid, Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) for refugees—a huge subsidy. Today it covers no state costs. Refugees rely heavily on local assistance, and school budgets, costs for translation, and other services have exploded. Following is a sampling of problems in many U.S. communities:

  • Amarillo, TX: 911 calls taken in 36 languages
  • Amarillo, TX: English tutoring $1,300/student/month, while feds provide $100/student/year
  • Buffalo, NY: 42 languages spoken in high school
  • Lynn, MA: 49 languages spoken, some in unknown dialects
  • Lynn, MA: 200 percent increase in vaccinations, straining public health budgets; foreign student K-12 admissions doubled
  • Manchester, NH: 82 languages spoken in high school, among lowest school ratings in NH
  • Minneapolis, MN: Somalis are a heavy ISIS recruitment target
  • Minnesota: more than one-half of the Somali population is in poverty
  • Rochester, NY: refugees and inner-city minorities clash
  • Nationwide: 20 to 49 percent of refugees test positive for latent tuberculosis (TB)
  • Nebraska: 82 percent of active TB cases are among foreign-born

Major Conflicts of Interest Among Refugee Resettlers

Nine private contractors, called “Voluntary Agencies” or VOLAGs, resettle refugees with the assistance of 320 “affiliates.” VOLAGs are supposed to consult communities before resettling refugees, but almost never do. They secretly resettle refugees and leave communities to deal with the resulting problems. They regularly withhold information from community leaders and concerned citizens and ignore local complaints.

Refugee resettlement has big effects for small communities throughout the United States, which is a major reason for growing resistance to the program. In one example, a federal agent contacted me in November to describe numerous problems in northern Michigan. He said citizens and public officials from Traverse City and elsewhere expressed concerns over the indiscriminate “dumping” of refugees and illegal aliens in small towns, including the Upper Peninsula, under cover of darkness, without any prior coordination with appropriate public officials (i.e. mayors, town councils, etc.).

Refugees are often employed in the resettlement industry, giving refugees a stake its growth. Many VOLAG leaders who receive federal resettlement grants are former directors of the agencies that administer those grants, and vice versa. Like a revolving door, they cycle in and out of government. For example, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Assistant Secretary Ann Richard is a former vice president for one of the nine VOLAGs. She helped found the International Crisis Group, a leftist organization funded by George Soros.

VOLAGs receive a total of about $1 billion per year from taxpayers and are paid by the head, receiving anywhere from $2,025 to more than $5,000 per refugee. The Government Accountability Office has noted that this creates a strong incentive for VOLAGs to constantly resettle more refugees, regardless of whether it is in the interest of the refugee or the target community.

David M. Robinson, who would later lead PRM, said of the refugee industry: “The solution its members offer to every refugee crisis is simplistic and the same: increase the number of admissions to the United States without regard to budgets or competing foreign policy considerations. On the other hand, it is politically well connected, includes major party donors at the local and national levels, and owns the moral high ground on an extremely emotional issue.”

VOLAGs have not faced any kind of meaningful oversight since the program was established in 1980. None have ever faced a public financial audit despite many calls to do so. The program is biased toward continual growth, and security concerns must be addressed.

Prioritizing Refugees Above American Citizens

The Refugee Act of 1980 dictates benefits that refugees must receive. They go to the front of the line for welfare and public housing, jumping ahead of all Americans, including veterans and the disabled. VOLAGs provide:

  • Housing
  • Essential furnishings
  • Food, food allowance
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Pocket money
  • Assistance in applying for public benefits, Social Security cards, language translation, employment services, non-employment services, Medicaid
  • Assistance with health screenings and medical care
  • Assistance with registering children in school
  • Transportation to job interviews and job training
  • Home visits

Additionally, ORR and other agencies provide numerous special grants available only to refugees. This is supposedly to enable refugees to rapidly become economically self-sufficient. However, ORR’s definition of “economic self-sufficiency” allows refugees to continue to receive every kind of welfare except cash assistance from food stamps or RCA. Refugees thus have a strong incentive to seek U.S. resettlement to obtain benefits.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage told me that elderly autistic residents of Portland, Maine are swelling the rolls of the homeless as their primary caretakers, usually their parents, die, or become unable to care for them, because public housing is taken by refugees.

What Americans and Our Leaders Should Do

The resettlement program is dangerous, expensive, and unfair to Americans. Its structure encourages endless growth, systemic corruption, cronyism, secrecy, and duplicity. The refugee program must be put on hold. Members of Congress have called for a moratorium, and such legislation is circulating. H.R. 3314, the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act, has 86 co-sponsors.

On his first day in office, Trump can pause the entire program by simply resetting the annual refugee targets.

But legislation isn’t needed. On his first day in office, Trump can pause the entire program by simply resetting the annual refugee targets to whatever number has already been reached this fiscal year. The 1980 Refugee Act gives him authority to do this, and subsequent court decisions have declared Congress’s refugee resettlement oversight authority as advisory only.

Trump has stated his desire to halt resettlement from nations of terrorism concern. It would be wiser to pause the entire program.

It costs 12 times as much to resettle refugees as to assist them in place. Almost all refugeeswould prefer to return home than be resettled to a third country. President-Elect Trump’s idea to create “safe zones” in or near countries of conflict is a much more compassionate and cost-effective method of dealing with the refugee crisis. Trump’s State Department should encourage the Gulf States to participate in resettlement, since they currently offer little help.

The VOLAG system needs to be abolished. Asylum and other alternative forms of resettlement should operate case-by-case. Resettlement should be returned to the private act of charity it was before 1980. That structure would be naturally self-limiting, and those financing resettlement would have a much stronger incentive to see that their charitable dollars were not wasted on frauds or potential terrorists. Refugees should be required to become truly economically self-sufficient.

With such restrictions, other nations would have to confront and resolve conflicts they now offload onto America. The U.S. government role should be limited to security: helping create safe zones, identifying other countries that might help more, designating those populations suitable for resettlement, setting numerical limits, and vetting all refugees, asylum seekers, and others seeking U.S. entry. With new leadership, policies and management, Trump’s administration can reinvent the resettlement program to serve America’s interests again.

James Simpson is an economist, author and investigative journalist. His latest book is “The Red Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.” Follow Jim on Twitter and Facebook.

Another Road on Refugees

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Refugee crises exist in Africa as well as Syria and, increasingly, Iraq. Germany seems to be realizing it can’t just take them all in. What’s the alternative?

CounterJihad, November 14, 2016:

The Washington Post recently hosted a furious essay on Africa’s refugee crisis, which is being ignored in favor of worries about Europe’s:

We don’t often hear about these particular refugees or asylum-seekers, do we? They are, to borrow a term from British historian Mark Curtis, “unpeople,” the poor, nonwhite residents of the developing world who tend to be ignored by the Western media.

Where is the rolling coverage of Kenya’s Dadaab camp, for example? Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world, but in a move that could displace as many as 300,000 people, Kenyan authorities are in the process of closing it down. It puts the recent British media frenzy over the so-called “Jungle” camp in Calais, France, with its 10,000 migrants, into some perspective, doesn’t it?

The inconvenient truth is that while the U.K. Parliament votes to deny entry to 3,000 displaced children from Syria and the Hungarian prime minister vows to build a new and “more massive” border fence to keep out asylum-seekers, refugees in Africa are fleeing from one war-torn region to the next. From South Sudan to Darfur. Yes, to Darfur. From the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Central African Republic, and from DRC back to CAR. From Nigeria to Chad.

Germany under Angela Merkel has been at the forefront of pressuring European governments to accept more refugees, setting the example by directing Germany to flood itself with migrants.  Her success as an exemplar is mixed.  Yet the scale of the crises have long since passed what can be handled through ordinary means such as resettlement.  Camps of 300,000 people can’t be processed, let alone peacefully integrated into a stable society without vast effort, nor can such persons be moved to more stable regions without tremendous expense.  Once they got there, too, they would lack all of the language and cultural skills necessary to find employment or to integrate quickly into the host society.

So Germany has proposed a new idea, which is being compared to America’s Marshall Plan.  The concept of the original Marshall Plan was to rebuild Europe after the Second World War through vast American aid.   The aid was not repaid, but the investment helped Western Europe to recover from the war enough to serve as functional trading partners.  Thus, it ended up being much in America’s interest, as it meant that Europeans could buy American goods.  The Marshall Plan was called “the most unsordid act in history,” and it was that.  It was an act of tremendous generosity.  Nevertheless, it did redound to America’s benefit in the long term.

Germany’s proposal follows a similar line:  what if, instead of trying to absorb endless flows of refugees, Europe led the way in investing in Africa so that it could provide homes and jobs for the refugees already there?

The minister added that there are currently an estimated 20 million displaced persons in Africa.

Last year Europe faced a flow of asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia on a scale unprecedented since World War Two, with over a million people arriving over 12 months. The challenge sparked a rise of nationalism in Europe and strained relations between EU members, some of which reintroduced border control measures and toughened immigration laws.

In other words, the scale of the refugee problem in Africa is twenty times the problem that Europe has already stressed itself to the breaking point trying to absorb.  Europe cannot accept refugees on that scale, if it is driven to such disruption by 1/20th as many.  It can, however, provide aid that would build up Africa’s ability to provide better lives for those who are there.

There is also, by the way, a refugee crisis in Central America.  Latin American governments have enjoyed a great deal of praise for their handling of it from the international community.  Yet the United States has been taking a lot of the pressure off of them by, like Germany, admitting more and more refugees into its territory.  Like Germany, the United States might also reconsider whether that is the best way to respond to these humanitarian crises.  It may be that there is a better way.

Obama-Clinton’s Anti-Mideast Christian Apartheid

20161027_hillaryclintonobama_statedeptpubdomainFamily Security Matters, by Tom Harb and Hossein KhorramOctober 27, 2016:

They wanted only Muslim Arabs to fill top positions – excluded Christians.

In a Wiki-leaked email dated Sep 29, 2008, New York attorney Preeta D. Bansal (who had served in the Bill Clinton Administration in the 1990s) sent in a list of Muslim Americans to be considered for top federal jobs to John Podesta who was acting as part of the Obama transition team at the time. She had apparently been instructed to exclude Christian Arabs and she explains how she has done so. Ms. Bansal also sent the list to Michael Froman who was a school chum of Obama’s at Harvard and who had worked for the previous Clinton administration. He was a major negotiator of the TPP trade deal and has gone through the revolving door between being a lobbyist and a government official numerous times. Ms. Bansal cc’d Matthew Onek a younger Wall Street up-and-comer in the Democratic Party in her email to Froman.

Here is the email itself.

Here are the compiled lists of Asian American and Muslim American candidates for top Administration jobs, sub-cabinet jobs, and outside boards/agencies/policy committees. A couple things to note about the list of Muslim American candidates: In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab  American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian).

So they were actively excluding Christians in favor of Muslims. This is a pattern we have seen before. Arab Christians have been routinely excluded from acting as translators for even the most sensitive classified information. It is an open secret that Muslims have been favored for many years, going back to the Clinton Administration. Bansal continues:

I listed the elected Muslim American democratic officials at the end of the second category, but for various reasons, I didn’t think any of them would necessarily be suitable for an Administration appointment. Nevertheless, I wanted to flag them for you in case you wanted to evaluate them further.

Reaction from the American Middle East community was swift. John Hajjar, co-chair of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) explained that rampant discrimination had been going throughout the Obama years. “We always felt the cold shoulder of the Democratic Party establishment in the past eight years. Their bigotry has now been laid bare.” He continued, “This discriminatory email is un-American, libelous and should cause the author and those who conspired against Arab Christians to be held accountable.”

“American citizens of Middle East Christian descent fled their ancestral Homelands after decades of intolerance and apartheid like policies of dictatorial and theocratic regimes with the hope that they and their children will have a better life here in the USA, only to face similar discrimination at the hands of the Democratic Party establishment,” said David Lazar of the American Mesopotamian Organization and the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation. “It’s truly a sad day in American politics to see bigots and racists like Podesta and his clique leading the Presidential campaign of the Democratic Party and at the same time have the audacity to accuse Mr. Trump of the same.”

This news is especially hard for Christian Arab Americans to bear as they are enduring slow-motion genocide in the region, the very birthplace of Christianity, without so much as acknowledgment of their plight from the Obama Administration. As Gabriel Sawma, Professor of Middle East Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, points out, “Christians of the Middle East contributed to the advancement of that region Christian universities and schools continue to educate Muslims and other communities. They contributed to the creation of Arabic music, art, and literature.”

Yet it is Muslims from the Middle East who are given asylum in the US, not Christians. Out of the 7551 Syrian refugees brought to the US in 2016, only 35 were Christian. It is the Christians who are persecuted and are being exterminated by the various warring Muslim factions.

If Hillary Clinton is elected, it is a certainty that the light of Christianity will snuffed out in the Holy Land. And it is certain Mrs. Clinton will not lift a finger to stop it.

The Florida based President of the World Maronite Union, Sami Khoury said “this treatment of Middle East Christians is discriminatory. A Clinton Administration would be catastrophic to millions in our communities across the United States. We never heard of such civil rights discrimination since decades.”

Imam Mohamed el Haj Hasan from Detroit said “we are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from Arab and Mideast Christian communities who have been sidelined from obtaining federal jobs in the Obama Administration. As Muslims we stand for justice and refuse to see our Government discriminate against any sect.”

On his part Dr. Ashley Ansara from Orlando said “we are horrified that the Obama Clinton Administration practiced discrimination against our brothers and sisters from the Arab Christian communities. As Arab Muslims in America we consider this breach against civil rights as a type of Apartheid that has no place in America.”

Sam Yono, a Chaldean American leader in Detroit lamented the reports and said, “Many of our People came to the United States fleeing genocide and persecution and seeking freedom to find ourselves discriminated against because we are Christians and by the highest power in the Land. What a shame!”

It should be noted that the Obama Clinton discrimination has not only targeted Middle East Christians but also Muslim Americans who do not subscribe to the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran regime political agenda. One example is Dr Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American leader and a Muslim reformer who was systematically rejected by the Obama and Clinton powers for eight years while CAIR leaders had an open door to the Administration. The list of Muslim moderates and reformers who have been refused access and jobs under the Obama Clinton Administration is long as well.

Tom Harb is the Co-Chair for Middle East Americans for Democracy

Hossein Khorram is an Iranian-American community leader