A policy created in the 1980s to help people persecuted for their political beliefs will be used by Joe Biden to assist women, children, gays, and those affected by climate change with resettlement into the United States.
My, how times have changed.
Political persecution will still be among the reasons a refugee can be accepted into the U.S., but will not be a priority group.
Biden’s order alters Donald Trump’s policy of limiting refugees — a task made more urgent by the coronavirus pandemic. Last fiscal year, only 12,000 refugees were accepted into the U.S. Biden’s order would expand that to 125,000 in the fiscal year beginning in September.
Earlier in the week, Democratic Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Zoe Lofgren urged Mr. Biden to craft refugee policy that takes into account migration fueled by climate change, particularly from Central America, a region ravaged by two hurricanes last fall. The World Bank estimated that 1.4 million people in Mexico and Central America could migrate by 2050 because of the effects of climate change, including crop failures.
“We are greatly encouraged to see that the Biden administration is aligned with our recommendations and that they are beginning the process of rebuilding this historically bipartisan program and returning the United States to its leadership position on the world stage,” Nadler and Lofgren wrote in their letter.
Trump tried to bring order to a chaotic situation which, thanks to the pandemic, no longer exists. The problem with vetting refugees in the Age of Terror remains, however, and the president’s executive order does nothing to improve the process.
Mr. Biden ordered the Department of Homeland Security to consider allowing refugees to be interviewed remotely and required the Office of Personnel Management to support the hiring of more refugee officers. The president also called for an expansion of private and community sponsorship of refugees, a partnership the Canadian government has relied on.
Biden rescinded the Trump order that gave state and local governments the option of refusing to resettle refugees. But there’s a question of whether the private religious groups that assisted in resettlement have the resources to handle the massive increase.
Matthew Soerens, the director of church mobilization at World Relief, one of those resettlement agencies, said his group closed eight offices during the Trump administration. He said resettling 125,000 refugees during the remainder of fiscal year 2021 would likely be impossible, given the current infrastructure.
“We’re really eager to rebuild and excited for the opportunity,” Soerens told CBS News. “But we’re also doing this as quickly as we can with limited resources. It’s not going to be something that’s going to be rebuilt overnight.”
I’m not sure we should be prioritizing gays from Pakistan over Christians from Pakistan, nor should we be looking to create refugees by arbitrarily declaring some people “victims” of climate change. The order pointed to two hurricanes that hit Central America last year that made 1.5 million people homeless as being caused by “climate change.” I don’t think the science is advanced enough that we can point to a specific weather event and blame rising temperatures. But we’re not talking about “science.” This is politics and the current political climate demands we pay homage to the climate change lobby.
We should learn the lessons that Germany, France, Greece, and Spain learned during the last migration of refugees in 2015, and severely limit the number of people allowed to resettle in the U.S.