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tv   Niskanen Center Discussion on Refugee Resettlement Programs- Panel 1  CSPAN  September 23, 2018 12:54pm-2:00pm EDT

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>> good morning and welcome. i'm a senior vice president with -- animated by the spirit of moderation. many of you can acknowledge given the current state of american politics can often be a bit of a challenge. anen test respect for pluralism and resistance to extremism. promote solutions that are innovative and most important improve the lives of real people. i would like to start by thanking senator lankford's
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office. senator lankford has been an important republican voice for the support of refugee resettlement and has highlighted the role of admissions programs play in national security. we appreciate his leadership and hope to continue working with that office. i would like to thank the event's cosponsors including the national immigration reform, human rights first, it international refugees -- they're inspiring work on behalf of refugees is essential to the people they serve and is critical to keeping refugee resettlement program afloat during these difficult times. i would like to thank the experts on today's panel. the topic of our conversation today. i would like to thank all of you .for being here
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personalhis is a issue. more than a decade ago i served in the as a sergeant u.s. army national guard and having served overseas, working as -- having witnessed the damage and displacement caused , ensuring that we would provide safe haven for refugees became an issue of importance to me. one of my closest friends and essentially an adopted member of my family was an interpreter who are met while deployed in iraq. his language skills helped de-escalate many tense situations and helped keep american soldiers and iraqi citizens safe. a few months after i left iraq i got a frantic call and he was
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terrified. he received death threats. beenamily member had killed and a few of his friends who were fellow interpreters had been murdered and he needed to get out of iraq. not knowing anything about the process we set out what would be a long and difficult process to get him out. affiliateda u.s. iraqi with no home to return to safely in iraq. america promised him him thousands of others protection through special immigrant visa program but all our resettlement avenues stalled putting his life in jeopardy. bandar was routed through the refugee system which was a long process. he fled baghdad living off the money i could scrape together as a d.c. in turn and the generosity of friends and family until he got him a visa three years later. after arriving in the united bandar work multiple
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jobs, got himself enrolled in school, started a beautiful family and ultimately he returned to iraq for two years as an american citizen working as a translator with coalition forces to push back militant groups that were terrorizing villages including his own. you will not meet a person more proud to be an american than bandar. he was lucky. hisacles notwithstanding circumstances would be different if he tried to come to america now. mother, the ailing only remaining member of his family, was delayed entry into the u.s. after obtaining her visa because due to the administration's travel ban. it required time, money and intervention from a congressional office to bring her here.
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as we know, the current administration has program. our refugee in terms of quantity and process they announced their intention to slash the refugee cap from the historic low of 45,000 to the new historic low of 30,000 refugees. they impart invoked national security. ours is a country that has historically welcomed those who .ace persecution this administration aside, refugee policy has been a bipartisan issue. having been on the ground i've seen firsthand how important foreign allies are and how critical it is to ensure their safety. they are fleeing the persecutors and violence we so often rightly condemn. we need to make sure lawmakers better understand what is happening on the ground and how it affects national security and foreign policy more broadly which is why am happy to be with
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you today and why i believe this paper and this event is a necessary corrective to the fear and cynicism that seeps into politics >> we need to allow more people like bandar into this country not because it's just the right thing to do which i unequivocally believe it is, but because refugees strengthen rather than weaken u.s. national security. this is the topic of today's discussion. so to begin the discussion, i like to turn things over to my colleague, director of immigration policy and senior counsel. panelll monger our first on refugee resettlement -- monitor our first panel on refugee resettlement. [applause]
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>> good morning. thank you for the introduction, joe. i wanted to kind of dive right in here. we are going to start today by discussing strategic national security and foreign policy case for refugee resettlement, including important findings from our new paper. on that note, it is my pleasure to introduce our speakers on this panel. to my immediate right, we have linda chavez, a senior fellow at the scam and center and the director of becoming american initiative. is a syndicated columnist whose works appear in "the washingto wall street journal" and "the atlantic." she's also the author of a book that discusses the timeline of our lingual immigration, voting
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rights, immigration, and affirmative action. linda served in the reagan administration, making her the highest ranking woman in the white house. in 2000, the library of congress named her of living legend. she received a ba from the university of colorado and a masters at george mason. next to her is scott cooper. he leads the veterans for americans ideals project, which is a nonpartisan movement of military then ran to advocate for making leadership on human rights. rightso joining human first, scott spent his career in the marine corps, serving five tours in iraq, two and afghanistan, and one in the pacific. he is a recognized expert on air power and national security issues and has been published in a very long list as well. he is named as one of the mighty 25 influence are supporting the military community.
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finally, we are joined by dr. idene from the university of north texas and the codirector of the social conflict analysis database project. these affiliated with the robert strauss center from the national security of law at the mercy of university of texas and the john goodwin center for political studies at southern methodist university. he is authored a number of books and articles as well and received his phd from uc san diego. welcome, panelists. we are very happy to join. we will have 30 minutes of discussion followed by 15 minutes of question and answer. et ourite you to twe participants and use the #refugees in america. let's begin. professor, you publish the research paper that i believe the audience is leafing through.
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can you give us a quick history of the refugee program and tell the audience about your major findings from this paper? >> it is certainly the case that the intent and the outcome of the program clearly saves lives. that is undeniable. however, because the president has the prerogative to set admissions criteria, foreign-policy considerations have often crept into the admissions process. years, this was to the consternation of human rights defenders and refugee advocates who wanted a more purely humanitarian program. and this is acase policy area in which the united states's moral an align with its
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strategic foreign-policy goals. refugeeefore the 1980 act was passed, the very definition of a refugee in u.s. meonescaping criteria for admitting people was in order to embarrass the soviet union for its human rights abuses and drained them of human resources, encourage defection from key assets and ld tt democracy and human rights rule of law were preferable to falling under the soviets feared influence. -- soviet sphere of influence. even after the act that eliminated the restrictive definitions of the refugee and brought it more in line with the international refugee regime and international law, you could bias see a foreign-policy
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or foreign-policy prerogative playing into the refugee admissions program. the top sources of refugees were people fleeing from communist cubaes, such as vietnam or , and also places where the united states had key military interests and had military operations. yugoslavia,rmer somalia, kosovo, these are places where we were involved with fairly -- militarily and as part of that military effort, we agree to accept a share of the refugees stemming from the crisis . what is the case for refugee resettlement and why is it the right thing to do and also international security interests? first, the refugee program often to trouble ability regions. 85% of refugees go to developing countries.
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they're not coming to europe or the united states and canada. they are remaining in the region and countries that are typically poor, have poor capacity, have managed massive flows and often have the same ethnic and sectarian rifts and their society as the country of origin. the united states is strategically using the refugee program as a way to relieve some of the burden on the countries at first asylum in addition to providing generous humanitarian assistance packages. we saw that in vietnam and the coast of opiate and it worked -- and in kosovo and it worked. helped facilitate military cooperation with partners and allies in the region. it is undeniable that we go to places like iraq and afghanistan and syria and somalia that there's going to be a negative impact on countries in the region who are expected to deal with the sizable refugee flow could unite states has facilitated military cooperation
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from basis to logistics and other support functions by accepting a share of the burden from those countries of first asylum. not only the countries themselves, but ensuring cooperation of partners on the ground in the countries that are affected, such as the case with iraq interpreters and contractors. , and this is less tangible, but the refugee admissions program serves to promote a positive image of the united states as a welcoming multicultural society that's committed to human rights and the rule of law and is a better alternative to living in societies that are closed, authoritarian, and run by extremists. that message that the united states is not only championing human rights and democracy rhetorically but is also willing to put resources on the table when needed encounters extremists narratives that the
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united citizen on welcoming and hostile place. thent dramatic cuts to refugee resettlement program have been predicated on this that refugees put an undue risk on the united states, but all the evidence suggests that claim is unfounded. since the passage of the 1980 refugee act, so this is almost 40 years of history here, not a single refugee has been involved in a fatal terrorist attack on the united states and that includes the tens of thousands of refugees that have resettled from syria and iraq, often not to post the most risk, , a very the refugees small number of the refugees relative to the 6 million who have been displaced. about 20,000 refugees have done. are women and children under the age of 14 and not a single one has been involved in a terrorist attack. slashing the program not only runs contrary to american values
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and american commitment to human rights and democracy, but it's also counter to our national security interests in a makes it harder to gain the cooperation of regional partners and allies encounter engines -- and surgeons the efforts and feels the idea that the unite states as a hostile and unwelcoming place, which promotes the extremist narrative that the united states is hostile to islam, it is hostile to people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds coming here. we would do well not only to raise the cap to historical norms, but to increase our commitment both here and overseas to protect refugees. one of the things you mentioned that i think is important to confront head-on and a little more detail is this very progressive -- pervasive idea that refugees post a risk to americans in the form of terrorism despite the fact that we know that they are vetted more thoroughly than any other immigrant that comes to the united states.
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that is not to say that there is no risk. so i asked the panel and perhaps got wants to take this on -- what makes the national security community so confident in our betting systems? are refugees the populations of people that we need to worry about with regards to terrorism? scott: great question. first, let me say what an honor is to join these panelists today and thanks for having me. you might imagine that might politics are not on the far left having spent 20 years in the marine corps. approaching this challenge that we have, which is how do we keep the country safe, you can't illuminate risk. -- eliminate risk. every time we went out on a patrol in iraq and afghanistan, we will look for iud's and determine what the risk was. there was no choice of whether or not we were going to go on patrol. eliminating risk is something you can't.
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you try to minimize it. that's a challenge that you face as national security expert and every military operation. we established an incredible system of how we vet these people. the notion that they are a threat is completely false. i was in jordan last year on a thet with unhcr to look at vetting system they are in jordan. it's extraordinary. the notion that we don't know who these people are is just a complete falsehood. syria is a police state and one of the things that a police state does very well is keep track of people. when they for instance that they were trying to filter 300 refugees that they were going to dominate to a country that wanted to take 300 refugees, they could that them by almost every category. you could have a blonde hair, refugee orazel hair
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even in the category. if you know every address that they live that for the last 10 years and all those things. that is just the u.n. system. once they nominate people for instance to come to america, those refugees are vetted by our own intelligence agencies, national security agencies. travelerno more vetted than a refugee coming to the united states. let me talk about a strategic point if i may about what the value of this is. war,ur point, in the cold we welcomed refugees in large measure to embarrass the ussr. one of my close friends who actually happens to be on a board was a young man who teaches at hunter college now. he came here as a refugee with his mother as a seven-year-old. he went on to be a rhodes scholar and teaches at hunter college. that is the success story. joe's point, i have dozens and dozens of stories like that.
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these are not people that would wish to do harm. these are the peoples who display courage and i want on my team. what better way to counter the narrative of an organization like isis or a regime in syria than to say we are welcoming those victims of the conflicts they started? kristie: on the question about whether refugees are really the populations of people in the united states we need to worry about in regards to terrorism, do you have any thoughts? with regards to refugees, is that the population of people in the united states that we really need to worry about committing terrorist attacks given that we've not seen a refugee commit a terrorist attack in the better part of 40 years? idean: absolutely not. let's be clear. there are two different procedures which someone with a well-founded fear of persecution
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can come to the united states. first is the asylum process p that is someone who appears at a port of entry or border crossing facility and present themselves to authorities or someone who is already in the united states perhaps on a different visa who now fears going back home. at that point, while they are here in the united states, those claims are that it and we make sure that they are who they say they are and make sure they have a legitimate claim to asylum. europe is receiving tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers. people that are entering european union territory and only then having their claim be processed. so yes, for europe and the asylum procedure, industry key to know who is who and to make sure that bad actors are screened out, although i would argue the europeans are doing a good job with it and we have historically done a good job with that. the refugee resettlement procedure -- these people are screened overseas. it takes 18 months to three
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years to pass through all the background checks, multiple security agencies screening the files, health checks. it's no guarantee of entry. if someone who is willing or seeking to do the united states harm, a process that takes 18 months to three years to go through and has no guarantee of entry, it's not the way to get. this has helped people who are innocent civilians fleeing brutal conflict, with the united states having an interest in resettling being that they cooperated with military efforts come or bring some other benefits to the united states. the screening procedure is extremely robust. the fact that not a single fatal terrorist attack has been committed by a refugee since the passage of the 1980 law is testament to that. there have been isolated cases where there has been dangerous
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plots, but when you look at the , the versus the benefits benefits are enormous in terms of our economy, our national security, our image around the world. while the risks are there and have to be a technology, they are negligible -- acknowledged, they are equitable. your odds of being killed by a refugee terrorist is one in over 3 million. your odds of being struck by lightning twice is higher than being killed by refugee. i'm really glad that you brought up the difference between what is happening in europe with regards to refugees and what happens in america. there are stark differences on a number of different trends. one of the other pervasive undercurrents is that once refugees are in america, they don't assimilate when in fact we are seeing the opposite.
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linda, you have been a strong proponent of a simulation. can you talk about why assimilation is different in america and perhaps other than in europe with respect to both immigrants and refugees more broadly? linda: sure. it's a very interesting position to be in today because i have been an advocate for immigration and assimilation. all of my professional career going back 40 years or so. i used to be a bit more on the left because i talked about a simulation. now i'm a bit more on the right because i talk about assimilation. i do believe that the united states has almost a unique position in history. they are a handful of other countries that have similar histories, but we are the biggest country that has essentially been formed around around principles and not on the basis of history or blood or soil. who we are as a nation is
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different than most countries and what i see happening right now is a real identity crisis going on. in america. somehow we cant protect ourselves against all idean anden both scott talked about the notion of , the ideas threats that you could possibly eliminate all risk and life is a kind of crazy idea when you think about it. none of us would be in this room today if we live our lives that way. simply getting up in the morning and stepping foot outside our house or even staying in our houses does not protect us from risk. the important thing about the american idea is that we have a history of bringing people here from all parts of the world.
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the fact that we only had a formal refugee program starting in 1980 doesn't mean that we haven't always been a refugee nation because we were founded in part as a refugee nation. thele fled to what was english colonies and later became united states because they were fleeing religious persecution. people ability to help become part of our society has been very aggressive and has worked very well. better than, for example, in europe. my old boss, ronald reagan, used to like to say you can move to france or move to germany and you can live there all your life, but you're not necessarily ever going to become a frenchman or a german. that isn't true of america. you move to america and you become american. some of it has been because of policy, but i think a great deal
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more has had to do with culture. and with the idea that we are a culture that encourages people to become part of the whole. our very motto that dates back to our founding, e pluribus unum been our goal and we are very successful at assimilating people who were born elsewhere. that is certainly true of immigrants and it's as true today of the immigrants who are coming from asia and latin america as it was the immigrants who came from europe in the early 20th and 19th centuries. people whoct turn had previous allegiances and different cultures and to of times over a period and it's certainly true with refugees. if you look at refugees and how they for grass in society, they
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prefer to learn english. some of that is because of what idean described in terms of the coming of refugee in united states. a lot learn english in refugees camps. it's a big deal to take english classes and to prepare yourself to be able to migrate. they learn english at a more rapid rate. they actually have higher education levels as adults than the native one population. they move into the economic mainstream and have higher rates of entrepreneurship, homeownership, and other indicators of social and economic integration and other groups do. they do in fact become american. to make one referenced today to an article that's in the washington post today because it's an absolutely beautiful op-ed.
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oya. by a woman named r the title of it is "i came to america as a refugee. you took me just as i was." she talked about the experience of being a refugee where unlike being an immigrant, where you may have had a lot of planning and foresight and you may have tried to put together money in a safe, you knew what your path was, you knew how you wanted to get there, and being a refugee where you are uprooted. you don't have anything to say about whether or not you are going to be forced to leave your country. sometimes you end up fleeing with only the close on your back. the interesting thing about a refugee is that they come here with nothing. and yet, they succeed. now we give help to refugees. we give more help to refugees do to immigrants
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because we understand they did not have that process of being able to plan ahead and save and plan for their future. the fact is this woman describes how it was that she came as a refugee from iran and had been reversed in death to america and had to recite that in class every morning at her school. she ended up here as a late distortedith very views of what america was. she thought we were just totally into materialism and the only thing that mattered in america was getting ahead financially. it was because of her status as a refugee with nothing that she learned the true meaning of america. i think that experience is almost universal. are there going to be some -- there have been a handful people involved in plot. i don't think we can ever eliminate that risk, but is that
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guideomehow supposed to our entire policy and make us give up on a principle and an idea that is fundamental to who we are as a country, i think no. things ione of the want to talk a little bit more about and you mentioned it is this idea of the refugee as an individual. when a lot of people talk about refugees, we hear these anecdotal stories about someone who broke the mold and made it big and it makes it seem like the refugees as a population are just desperate people crossing the border that have lower levels of skill, are uneducated, are poor when in fact that's not the case. that's just a common misconception. in the paper are some highlighted cases of high-ranking, extremely well-educated individuals that
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have at least in the past used our refugee system as a way to defect from their country. n calls list allowing people to vote with their feet in favor of coming to the united states. to the panel, how do you think that this has impacted the areas of the world that they are ussr and its the proxies, and what do you think is the potential gain for the united states if we were to allow this to happen more frequently? i would love to take that one on. the first thing i think to recognize is the number of refugees that were resettled is miniscule in comparison to the problem. the most recent united nations report notes that there 68 million displaced people, 22 million of which are refugees. if we were just at a hundred thousand refugees in america,
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which is three times what the administration is asking to resettle, that is a most statistically insignificant. most refugees will return to their home countries and that's important to understand. however, the narrative behind this and i mentioned my old friend. the narrative that what america is doing is so counter to what those other countries are doing is something that catches on. it's no mistake it's from iran. tot powerful message to send the resistance that they had to flee the regime because of your narrative. instance hisor final farewell address in which he talked about a naval story and the uss midway. refugee -- they
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saw a refugee boat and you had a southeast asian refugee that way to the sailor and said hello, mr. american, hello mr. freda manfre -- freedom man. the power of that i don't think can be overestimated. this program is so critical and why we are shooting ourselves in the foot with a way we approach it. kristie: can you talk about some of the stories voted in your book? idean: refugees were often called effectors and the very reasons that scott was mentioning was showing the world that the falling under the soviet sphere of influence that life in the united states, life in the west, life and the liberal democracy that champions
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human rights is better. that's a powerful message. at the same time, we also did gain key intelligence assets. in the paper, there are a number of stories of estonian officials and high-ranking officials who defected to the west and provided intelligence to united states. at the same time, if you carry forward to today, those refugees that come, many of them are not the poor and the destitute as is often believed. poor and have become they become disadvantaged due to a germanic circumstance back home, but many of these refugees are people with skills. they are doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, people who come to the united states that become ambassadors of american ideals that also enrich the united states through their ability to work and so on. refugees actually do have higher
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entrepreneurship rate, a higher citizenship rate, higher homeownership rate than other immigrant categories for we gain cultural knowledge, language skills, things that promote engagement with the world in the long run. even if you look at high-ranking officials in the united states government, henry kissinger and madeleine albright, came from refugee backgrounds. several entrepreneurs, including the founder of google, came as a refugee. we gain valuable skills and resources through this program. it's at miniscule risk to ourselves. it's like shooting ourselves in the kristie: in addition to shooting ourselves in the foot, i want to talk about the countries of asylum, which we are hearing about now given the
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refugees that scott said earlier. country it is the first that will provide them some type and equate protection durable solution under international law. neighboring t is a country where a refugee arrives and they usually take on very refugees lations of which i'm sure that everyone in this room is aware of and it is we see the e formation of refugee camps. n many of these cases we are seeing these countries are becoming very burdened by this refugees. so i want to talk a little bit about what the impacts to of first asylum are, especially given that not only numbers ofe on large refugees, but they do so in a way, which you touched on earlier, and whether impacts to gative the united states when these by the are left unstable
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influx of refugees in these regions. can't to be clear that the vast majority of refugees in political ate violence in either joining a terrorist group or other forms militant organizations. he vast majority of refugee flows, countries that host to gees don't succumb massive destabilization. there are cases where a hugering countries see influx of refugees. if you think about jordan, a country, where now one in four residents in jordan is a refugee. think many of those countries are in the developing where they have poor bureaucratic capacity, limited means to care for these refugees, and often the same thnic, sectarian, where they hl
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divisions in that society with that they are fleeing from can become an issue. where hundreds of thousands of albanian refugees into macedonia, where ethnic albanian foundation. part of its d as agreement to cooperate with u.s. and nato military efforts to to allow a share of the efugees provide there was adequate international mans to care for -- assistance to care for them. look at syria, think about the neighboring countries that are receiving the most -- you know, now five-plus million displaced people from that conflict. it is turkey, lebanon, and
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jordan. same ethnic he divisions, similar ethnic as syria has and their politics have been closely intertwined for decades. turkey, even though it has been coming towards these refugees, you are tensions as see those populations move from becoming temporary and trains to becoming a -- transient to becoming a permanent fixture. you are seeing questions about heir integration, their long-term prospects on turkish territory. turkey is dealing with over three million refugees. is a significant challenge for them. this is very clear in the state annual report to congress about refugee priorities, part of the reason refugees from where we're accepting them is to elp alleviate some of that
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pressure on countries of first asylum. the number of refugees that we is a drop in the bucket often. 18,000, talking about 20,000 syrian refugees out of a millions, that's not a whole lot. generous ther packagings, it -- assistance, it can help to make for and are well cared not breeding ground for militants that extremists don't access to the refugees and their recruitment efforts. where this is a part can help revent the worst regional destabilization. in addition to cutting the numbers, the administration has also cut unding for many of these agencies. it is not just the number of
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efugees that we are supporting here, we have cut help to camps as well and leaving countries in the region that we allies partners and basicry on -- basically on their own to deal with the challenge. i would like to add something to that. i know we'll get into it later next panel. but what both of you described s a system where refugees fleeing their country first enter often very poor countries have no means whatsoever to they hem the assistance need. when the -- linda: when the refugees move end up in places in europe where there is a well and they have -- they get put into the well fair state welfare state, and in my view one of the great problems with and ack of assimilation integration in some european countries is that they become
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that way too. they don't become integrated into the society because they taken care of by the state, which is not a good human beings as a general rule, becoming dependent is not necessarily permanently dependent. not good for the human spirit. great things we do in ur refugee program is we bring hem in and give them assistance. we resettle them into communities where we know there integration, of there are jobs available, there may be some people in the origin y from the countries to provide a little an enclave an enclave where th feel comfortable the we expect them, after they have been given temporary assistance, to move on.
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i think that has been one of the key successes. it may not be possible to do hat when you're talking about millions of people, but it is 1-00,000 and 200,000 people. there is no indication that they the number. what they seem to be doing of thethe board with all programs admitting people who are foreign born to the united not, in fact, ever meet the caps that are in place. kristie: that's a great point and it brings up something else just a o touch on with few minutes left. mentioned that payotary of state mike pom -- pompao mentioned that there will be 30,000 refugees, which is a 30% drop of last year with a cap of 45,000.
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to linda's point, of that 45,000 as of the end of august, we havo -- 20,000 refugees. while the administration needs to consult with congress about final number, we can expect that number to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000. what i want to kind of touch on regard that too is whether we have seen or whether we can to see other nations responding in kind when they see numbers continually being lowered and what type of impact know, on theve, you u.s. and just the global crisis to the refugee at-large. of the conversation should we be doing this, should obligation to do this and they are a threat.
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that.k we have debunked you're having a conversation with officials in jordan. to find a is harder closer strategic ally in that less the world, than jordan. 6-00,000 people they have absorbed and we are the number of refugees to 5,000 and reduce he amount of aid that we will provide in the international affairs budget. jordanian, i would say, mine?u really an ally of because i really don't see that. that. struggling to do t is not as though jordan has ,000 n to absorb 6oo refugees. we have a responsibility.
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nd that's among the great strategic costs whether well 100,000, o refugees or the rhetoric behind it is what is so harmful. kristie: with just a few minutes lawmaker, towere a each of you, and you were blown away by what you heard today, wanted to make a change now we handle refugee resettlement, what would be your step in what would be your goal? policy quite simply to restore the cap top what it was previously nd to meet the number that you set out. i mean this -- i mean, it is even having ing this conversation. mmigration has often been a controversial issue on capitol hill, but this program, the program wasttlement not a controversial program. sacrosanct.dered
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work visas, l with but republican and democratic dministrations from ronald reagan to barack obama used it those in critical need numbers ess passed the with hardly without question. republican congress, democratic didn't matter. this was considered a program that could not be touched. important for moral and strategic reasons. to a t need to get back commonsense policy that we had years.arly 40 there's no sort of magic formula how do we we get -- get this through. we need to do what we did before. we need to do something that has een, as linda eloquently
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stated, part of our national -- we need to get back to where to are, and the boogieman terrorist, that narrative needs to be countered. scott: if i was a lawmaker -- in -- welcomed iamed refugees. there was a crisis, and the of 1980, decided it as going to be a power to the executive branch to decide how many refugees would we resettle. worked well for my iraqi allies, the executive branch was to say we're going to welcome more allies. if i was in ld do, charge, because we're not seeing he executive branch do what is strategically important to the country, i'd duf a bill --
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where congress sets a minimum number of refugees. i know it requires congress to it, but when you have an not tive branch that is proceeding along what makes strategic sense, that is what first branch of government, legislative ive -- branch should be doing. linda: if i were in congress, i would vote for that. the world is experiencing the largest refugee crisis since the ii. of world war there was conflict, certainly east,onflict in the middle conflicts in africa, and different kinds of conflicts, conflicts nonetheless, in latin america, are posing a challenge. i think we have as an obligation our ericans to live up to die deals and -- to live up to ideals and accept more refugees. i'm not sure that you could minimum hat there be a
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number of persons admitted. think there might be some constitutional issues involved, i'm not sure it would work. the principle that we would go our tradition of taking -- 1-00,000eople in people in is the bear minimum. needs to be pushback and i'm happy that senator lankford has been involved in this. this has not been a partisan issue. this is not conservative versus liberal. i'm happy that about being american and about standing up for our ideals that we the country have always been and helping build the greatest nation in the are a part ofgees that building. great.e: thank you. we have 15 minutes for question
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and answer. is in the center aisle. i encourage you to come up with a brief question. i know we have only skimmed the complicated very set of topics so we look forward to your questions. >> hello. first of all, thank you to the amazing for that panel. my question is more to chavez, but anyone can feel free to answer. you mentioned a lot about refugees.on for how much do you think the fear is that refugees won't the ilate plays into rhetoric of we don't want refugees to resettle? thank you. linda: i think it is at the hard the heart of some -- heart of this. that we will let in the next
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actors ctors -- 9/11 with the refugee program. the fear for people is the assimilation. it is driving the immigration debate as well. somebody who as has written about immigration for some 40 years, this is while we are an immigration and talk about welcoming people. when there is a large-scale united ion in the fears have e dominated among the population much it was true ben franklin was terribly worried that we to be germanized and the germans would take over the alexander hamilton thought that foreigners, as he alled them, were going to foreignize america. century there was toward the irish,
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scandinavians. in the early 21st century, we like to think of europe as one big happy family, didn't think about that r- the -- about the jews or the polish. all of the evidence shows that eople, no matter where they come from, do, in fact, assimilate and assimilate refugees seem to assimilate even more quickly are already ts who oing a pretty good job of assimilating. >> hi, i work for senator ed markey. bill fice is working on a now to set a minimum number, and i wanted to hear your input on that number should be.
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100,000 is a good number to start with. we proved that we could do that. 2016.d that in the key to that is the three p's. you need to put people behind to have process, and then you have to figure out policy. and what we're doing right now the reductions is we have nine refugee resettlement agencies, they have to slash their staff. doing a process for that. i think 100,000 is a good place means that we have to expand as we did in 2016. the vetting process happens overseas. i would start r with. joe: i would add the number, and if there's a regional criteria has to be flexible and adaptable. you can pass the bill now but you don't know when the next crisis is coming.
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the president has the prerogative to exceed the cap or alter the numbers in consultation with the state department and other agencies, we don't know when the next syria is going to crisis in e next africa or southeast asia will erupt. adaptable should be to meet changing circumstances should be nd, but it robust. we did in at what kosovo, many went to new jersey. a great success, which we would not have predicted. going 't expect this was to happen. we did respond very well in kosovo. >> to your point. there is no statutory requirement that the president to fill that number. we're seeing that right now. on't that provide enough padding for adaptation of the number. cap, if we set a minimum
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that's one thing, but there's no obligation for the president to meet that cap. joe: the cap is a guideline. maximum number and the president can exceed or not meet the cap. fiscal year, i believe for the six regions that designated, the united states did not meet the cap for europeansm except for where we actually exceeded the cap, and you can think about sends.nd of message that so the regional caps, according not e 1980 refugee law are set in stone. they are guidelines that the resident can -- does have the prerogative to tinker with as circumstances arise. linda: i could just authorization we have a supreme out. decision it was one that opposed. an amicus brief opposing, but the president's authority in
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is pretty broad. so congress could pass something that would end a minimum, but you could not actually force the administration to do that, it is and i o be difficult, think that the bigger issue and try igger challenge is to to make this a public issue, to try to get the american people side, to try to educate people about who refugees are and why they are good for the country. that's really the best way to our goals. we can't simply do it by passing that he could obviously veto as well and depending on passed, it would likely not be veto proof. massive lly requires a effort on the part of nonprofits and other organizations to try to get out there and change opinion on this issue. name of you tell me the
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the supreme court case you're referencing. linda: it is the muslim ban case. i can't remember the name of it. >> thank you so much. >> hi. you talked about the importance of the narrative that established by our refugee program. reversible you think the current narrative just by policy changes. scott: how revirs ibl it is -- with policy is changes. i think it is the most difficult the plement based on reality of where we are. congress has been unable to push oversight on this, law you know, passing a that would be vetoed proof in
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of 1980 e refugee act is unlikely. i would point e, you to, for instance, the wonderful as a display called americans in the holocaust. strak striking and -- it is it quite striking and scary. we did alks about what in the 1930's. you will recall the conference we attended and there was ne country that stood up and said we'll welcome more efugees, and that was the dominican republic. having hearings about this and the validity of welcoming i think that's how we perhaps change public opinion. probably the more difficult task. kristie: are there anymore questions? >> i met with the u.s.
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of catholic bishops. e are honored to be cosponsoring this event and thanks very much for the very yoting -- riveting presentation. and for focusing on moderation, and values., i wanted to ask a question about american values that refugee programs support is fleeing roij persecution -- religious and what comments ou might have on that and how you feel about the recent cuts. thank you. inda: well, i know that we've heard a lot in right-wing media and about n refugees others in the middle east, minorities in the middle east, specifically hristians and how we're not
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taking enough christians. so, yes, religious persecution is a part. i think sometimes when we talk bout the muslim population, we act as if muslims themselves are ot being persecuted, and the divisions within these countries, the sectarian contributed e enormously to the problems we are seeing there. we're idea, you know, going to take one group because it is more -- it is similar to makeup as a country and we're going to seclude others -- exclude others, sometimes the fact that there are people who happen to be the rent religiously than majority of our population but persecution.s there is within the muslim there are the different people who face others in that
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religion i think should be a factor and we should elp those fleeing religious persecution. joe: as i noted in the paper, refugee -- helped hundreds -- housands of europeans in come to the united states in the 1950's.and it himmed the entry of -- and ed the entry of jewish catholic refugees. this was after world war ii. provisions that minorities ain because of animosity towards groups.ligious now the narrative has changed so supposedly, are muslim refugees. hen these populations are al qaedaxtremists like
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taliban, the he vast majority do not share the that these rld view groups do and actually become ambassadors of american ideals. show that the united states is a country that is welcoming all all religions, people of all faith, and all walks of life, regardless if thermos or have istian, jewish no religion at all. hat's what counters the narrative of an exclusive ethnic nation that groups like al qaeda and isis foster around the world. ristie: i want to thank keach of you for your wlky -- i want your nk each of you for wlkyness -- wlkyness --
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willingness to discuss this. 15-minute break which will discuss the people, the rocess, and some of policy regarding what resettlement looks like in the united states. many come age you to back, get some coffee, take a come back for our second panel. thank you. >> lawyers for -- announced a ago that their client as agreed to testify thursday before the senate judiciary committee at ten a.m. eastern. a.m. eastern. reports suggest that professor christine


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