Massive suffering is occurring before our eyes through media accounts of the exodus of Middle Eastern citizens from their dysfunctional and violent countries, particularly as they struggle to get to -- and across -- Europe.
I have been getting a lot of requests from afar and from people I run into here in Washington, wanting to know what I think the humanitarian response should be from the United States. When the Chicago Sun-Times asked me for 350 words to state my position yesterday, I provided the following which ran today in the paper. You can see it on-line at: http://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/7/71/943404/counterpoint-u-s-isnt-ri...
This is not a particularly easy topic. To stand against re-settlement is to appear to be uncaring and cold. But I believe my position is the opposite of that. I hope you will take the time to carefully read my reasoning and provide your own thoughtful response in the Comments section at the bottom of the page. (And remember that I had only 350 words to make my case.)
Counterpoint: U.S. is wrong place for Europe's refugees
Written By Roy Beck
The United States should not be resettling what would be only a tiny fraction of the current flow of refugees and migrants from the other side of the world.
Instead, we should join other nations in providing for the greatest comfort to the greatest number of people fleeing their destabilized countries. By long experience, the United Nations has primarily recommended safe, internationally supervised camps in adjoining countries, or at least the same region, so refugees can eventually more easily move back home.
Offers of resettlement on other continents might at first seem the humanitarian response. But that can easily cause far more suffering, both to migrants themselves and to receiving communities which risk their own destabilization. The United States certainly should not add to the enticements for people to risk their lives and those of their children through dangerous travel to obtain what only a few can be offered.
Here at home, nearly 500,000 refugees have been placed into local American communities through federal resettlement programs since 2009. We have been taking about 70 percent of all the refugees resettled by the United Nations each year. There has been little to assure us that these programs are capable of screening out present and future criminals and terrorists who often exploit the chaos of emergency migrations. And the programs show little regard for the multiple long-term fiscal costs imposed on the local receiving communities that already are suffering from the same depressed wages and low labor force participation rates as the rest of the United States.
Rather than taking in a new wave of refugees, our government should be considering enacting the Resettlement Accountability National Security Act (H.R. 3314) introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas). It would place an immediate suspension on the resettlement programs until the Government Accountability Office completes a thorough examination of the full costs on local, state and federal governments. And as Babin said introducing the bill last month, the suspension “gives an opportunity to examine potential national security issues related to entry and resettlement, particularly as federal law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about home-grown terrorists.”
Roy Beck is president of NumbersUSA Education & Research Foundation, founded to promote findings of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Arlington, Va.
Updated: Wed, Sep 23rd 2015 @ 8:20pm EDT