- - Wednesday, August 31, 2016


August is American’s big vacation month, especially for Capitol Hill workers. With Congress away, lobbyists, lawyers and other elites head for tony beach areas where they can mingle with their peers. President Obama was on Martha’s Vineyard playing golf with NBA superstars even though a growing number in the national media urged him to visit flood-ravaged Louisiana. It would be bad optics, they said, to be on the links when 13 people died and 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Mr. Obama’s stubborn unwillingness to take time away from Martha’s Vineyard until the last minute to visit Louisiana is another example of the growing divide between Washington, D.C. elites and everyday Americans. Apparently, thousands of displaced Louisianans weren’t reason enough for the president to interrupt his taxpayer-funded golf game to make a reassuring visit to flood victims.

Indifference to the Louisiana crisis is just the latest illustration of how Mr. Obama and his powerful administration disregard Americans’ well-being. The president’s controversial refugee resettlement program that has brought 10,000 Syrian Muslims to the United States — a 500 percent increase from last year’s 1,600 — has been a festering sore for nearly a year.

From the moment Mr. Obama announced his upwardly revised Syrian refugee goal, done without congressional approval, many state governors and their residents strongly objected. The most recent polling, done by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, found that 64 percent of likely voters reject Mr. Obama’s plan.

Americans want a sober evaluation of the risks inherent in resettling refugees from a nation that has vowed to destroy the United States. During the past 11 months, 184 cities and towns in 38 states have received Syrians, mostly against their will. Little wonder, then, that citizens, whose communities must absorb the refugees, were dismayed when Mr. Obama gave temporary protected status — amnesty — to Syrians already living here, including those who overstayed their visas and became illegal aliens.

Others besides Syrians are included in Mr. Obama’s grand scheme. According to the State Department, as of Aug. 9, the administration had admitted a total of 61,232 refugees this fiscal year, of whom 8,114 are from Syria (since rising to more than 10,000), 7,322 from Iraq, 7,067 from Somalia, 2,838 from Iran, and 1,924 from Afghanistan, all countries that are enemies of America.

Adding to mainstream America’s frustration with the White House’s refugee policy are studies that show a greater number of refugees could be protected if they were placed in neighboring countries. Resettling a refugee from Syria in the United States costs 12 times more over a five-year period than caring for that individual near his home country. Many more refugees could be provided for abroad, and at the same time, the American homeland would be more secure. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama proceeds and insists that accepting refugees is “who we are.”

But if mass resettlement represents “who we are,” how can Mr. Obama explain that, according to government data first reported by the Daily Caller, almost all of Virginia’s refugees since October have been placed in towns with low incomes and high poverty rates, far away from Washington D.C.’s well-manicured suburbs. Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital, while suburban Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties, among the nation’s wealthiest neighborhoods and home to the D.C. elite, have received only nine.

The rich and powerful who embrace more refugee resettlement call themselves compassionate and caring while labeling concerned, skeptical citizens racist and xenophobic. Looking at the refugee distribution in and around the nation’s capital, however, the policymakers seem to share the same worries about inviting refugees into their communities as the rest of America.

Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.

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