QUESTION #2: Last week, a notice was issued to nine refugee resettlement agencies reopening the process to admit refugees. The logical question is who did it, and why?


Leo Hohmann:

Well, it came from the State Department, and somebody from the State Department leaked it to the New York Times, which wrote the story just as we were heading into the long Memorial Day weekend. What it basically said was that the number of refugees … the spigot was going to be re-opened, and the number of refugees, which are in the holding tank waiting to enter the United States, would more than double in a few months, starting next month, starting later this month now. The door never did close, as many people believe. Trump tried to put in a 120 day pause in refugee resettlement while he said he wanted to try to figure out how to vet them better. I personally think that they’re unvettable; but he wasn’t even able to do that, as you know, with the courts and what not.

I believe he went about it in an ill-advised manner by putting it into an executive order. It did not need to go in an executive order, according to the Refugee Act of 1980. I don’t know who advised him to do that, but all that did was give the court an ability to get their nose under the tent, so to speak, the federal court system, and hold it up, block it. We’re waiting now for it to go to the Supreme Court, where we’ll ultimately learn whether or not the executive order will be allowed to proceed.

However, this latest bit of news is shocking to a lot of people. They don’t even believe it’s true, but it is. They are going to start increasing the number of refugees by several thousand per month coming in from some of the most, as you know, dangerous areas of the world, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and such, Iraq as well. Now, you said, “Who’s responsible?” This came down from the State Department. Rex Tillerson is the head of the State Department. He is the secretary of state, so we have to assume that he has signed off on this. Something this major would not have happened without the secretary of state approving it. Then from there secretary of state answers to the president, so Donald Trump owns this policy, whether or not he personally approved of it, he owns it. Unless he acts quickly to reverse it, it will start happening.

I personally believe it’s part of a deal. Donald Trump, more than likely, cut a deal with a lot of the big business corporate executives in this country. A lot of them wanted to continue in this Paris climate deal that we talked about earlier, for various and sundry reasons. You know, Google, Microsoft, and several others, about a dozen large corporations came out publicly and stated they wanted us to remain in this Paris climate deal. Well, President Trump did the right thing and pulled us out, but who knows what he gave in return for that. Perhaps it was the continued influx of refugees could be one possibility, because we know large corporations love refugees. They employ them. They consider them a source of cheap labor. They’re very big in the hotel industry, for instance, which Donald Trump himself has worked in. Bill Marriott is a big supporter of refugees. The food industry also is a big employer of refugees. All of the hospitality industry that supports the hotel and airports in this country, cab drivers, food service, they all love refugees. That is why I am surmising that it’s part of a deal. We’ll give you the refugees, but we’re not going to give you the climate deal.”

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