You may have noted Obama’s recent pronouncement that the royal we are going to grant residence to another 110,000 refugees in 2017. Rather than repetitiously mocking this term every time it is deployed, let’s just settle on the following usage convention: a refugee is a non-white who wants to live in a different country. If we limit that desire to only America, then one study suggests a global US-centric refugee population of 138 million. I am certain this figure is dramatically understated.
In absorbing less than a tenth of one percent (not including regular green cards) of that number in the next year, I suppose Barack should be congratulated for his restraint. Though upon reading such imperious declarations of demographic replacement as his refugee edict, I always think: says fucking who? The head of one of three branches of the federal bureaucracy holds unilateral authority to forklift half the Earth’s population at his whimsy? You may be surprised at the answer to that.
Every reader here is familiar with the immigration acts of 1924 and 1965. One was intended to preserve a sovereign nation and the other to dissolve it. For America, and all countries of the West, it is whether the spirit of 24 or 65 ultimately prevails that will determine whether the northern boundary of Africa is the Mediterranean or the Barents Sea.
Though I doubt many people are fluent with a little piece of legislation tucked in between those two named the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. This law has been amended multiple times since its christening, and so isn’t particularly useful to discuss at length here, aside from one Section 207. This part dealing specifically with the admission of refugees. What it grants is simply remarkable.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (b), the number of refugees who may be admitted under this section in any fiscal year after fiscal year 1982 shall be such number as the President determines, before the beginning of the fiscal year and after appropriate consultation, is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.
Shall be such number as the President determines. That’s stunning. And it’s precisely the sort of well-unadvertised authority that might give prudent voters pause before elevating exotica like Barack Obama. Anyone wanting to tweeze the nits on this point can mention the consultation requirement. Though consult is not a synonym of consent until Anthony Kennedy says otherwise. So as it stands, the White House occupant is obliged only to provide congress with his decision and tell them to consider themselves consulted.
That such extraordinary nation-altering power was relinquished to one person without even a murmur of public notification or comment is one of congress’ greatest acts of self-nullification. And there have been many of those from which to choose. Theoretically they could deny funding for the enterprise if Madame Heart-Lung Machine chose to increase the figure to 20 million next year. Though how certain are you of the rigidity of republican spines in a deluge of racist anti-refugee accusations?
Again, considering the width of his available avenue, I marvel at Obama’s moderation. Section 207 represents a pernicious migration loophole that republicans should have closed years ago if conservatism were anything more to them than fertilizer for their vote farms.
Yet all of this avoids the most obvious and logical approach to dealing with refugees. Most who share the perspectives of this blog accept the state of human conflict as they do the state of gravity. And the best thing we can do in regard to perpetually warring foreigners is to make sure their problems don’t become ours.
But some people are driven to conspicuous displays of out-group altruism. In most cases this pretty posturing overwhelms all prudent restraint. For these people, foreign charity is obligatory. And where that is so we should recognize that the core of refugee compassion is to secure their safety, not move them to Stockholm. The hungry get soup kitchens, not Le Bernardin.
That millions of Africans and Arabs should expect, much less receive, accommodations in tiny Scandinavian gardens is nothing less than an act of war against the receiving populations. And refugees don’t belong in America any more so.
Because the intent, the non-malicious intent, should be to shelter them from temporary upheaval and dislocations. That does not require permanent residence with welfare stipends in a Western country. It requires something we can do with relative ease and economy: house them in provisioned camps until they may be returned to their homes. It is not luxury because it is not meant to be. They should want out as soon as possible.
I have mentioned this in various forums through the years, and finally our influence seems to be expanding into heads of state. Hungary’s inimitable Viktor Orban is now dragging the logical position public.
The European Union should set up a “giant refugee city” on the Libyan coast and process asylum claims from refugees arriving from Africa there with the help of a new Libyan government, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban proposed on Saturday.
Speaking in Vienna after a summit of European and Balkans countries on the refugee crisis, Orban said the European Union’s external borders should be under “total control” – including the Mediterranean border, in which Libya is instrumental.
Libya’s unity should be preserved, the Western arms embargo against it cancelled, the “Libyan liberation army” supported and a new Libyan government set up and brought into a cooperation agreement by the time migration picks up again next spring in the Mediterranean, he said.
All of those Africans fleeing the war in Syria. As heartbreaking as those optics remain to mush-minded westerners, their importation serves no purpose suited to compassion. Rather it simply moves their conflicts onto our soil. And that represents peace and safety for no one, least of all our own children.
But where could a President Pepe ever find the authority for constructing large temporary habitats on foreign soil? I wouldn’t much let that dissuade me from the effort. For intrepid executives with an action in mind, there’s always a Section 207 somewhere.