August 15, 2018
Immigration experts: U.N. handling key parts of U.S. foreign policy,
Refugee resettlement has become ‘a diplomatic tool’
A team of experts on immigration and refugees is warning that the United Nations has been given effective responsibility for operating part of America’s foreign policy.
The report from Nayla Rush of the Center for Immigration Studies notes that most of the “refugees” being resettled in the West now come from relatively “normal” circumstances and are not, as many assume, under immediate threat of death or injury.
Nevertheless, the U.N. and outside agencies paid for resettlement services regularly refer to their services as a “lifeline.”
But now Rush reports there has been a shift in the portrayal of the resettlements.
“The new talking points are now along these lines: The refugee resettlement program is not solely a humanitarian tool; it is also a foreign policy one,” the report explains.
“But if this were the case, does it mean that the U.N.’s refugee agency – which the U.S. relies upon for resettlement referrals – is now entrusted with the implementation of part of U.S. foreign policy?”
CIS reported, “In anticipation of a possible decision by the Trump administration to further lower the refugee ceiling for fiscal year 2019, the senior vice president of public affairs at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Melanie Nezer, told Politico: ‘The refugee resettlement program is about so much more than just saving lives. It’s also a diplomatic tool, it’s a foreign policy tool, it stabilizes countries that are hosting the refugees.’”
There are only a handful of agencies through which the U.S. government resettles “refugees,” and all of them get paid for their work.
HIAS is one, while Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services is another.
“The equation is simple: Lower resettlement admissions means less money for HIAS,” the CIS report explained.
“Kay Bellor, vice president with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services … also worried about the consequences of lower resettlement numbers on hosting countries; in the words of the Politico report, Bellor feared that ‘refugees could be stranded in host countries such as Turkey and Lebanon if the U.S. doesn’t open its doors.’ She believes, like Nezer above, this sends a ‘terrible signal’ to host countries: ‘It’s hard to imagine how this might impact their response.’”
But the CIS report questioned, “What is hard to imagine is the following: How is resettling a few thousand out of millions of ‘stranded refugees’ going to significantly impact hosting countries, not to mention ‘stabilize’ them?”
President Trump has explained what he views as the right approach, the report continues.
In addressing the U.N. General Assembly, he said, “The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process… Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach.”
Rush earlier found that mostly refugees are neither in immediate need of medical care nor facing the immediate threat of violence.
“According to recent data from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), almost all refugees submitted for resettlement in 2017 (75,200 in total) were in ‘normal’ circumstances ‘where there are no immediate medical, social, or security concerns which would merit expedited processing,” the report said.
The U.N’s own figures reveal that during 2017, only 1.1 percent of the resettlement cases involved an emergency, and 6.4 percent were “urgent,” which means 92.5 percent were normal priority levels, the report said.
The global body classifies 2017 resettlement submissions by categories. Survivors of violence and/or torture comprise 27.4 percent, children and adolescents at risk 9.9 percent, women and girls at risk 7.3 percent and refugees with medical needs: 3.5 percent.