Tennessee Senator Corker wants refugee program back to ‘normal’ ASAP, by Ann Corcoran on May 1, 2017
The Republican Senator from Tennessee might be called out-of-step with his constituents in his home state where the Tennessee legislature voted to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement and filed suit in March. (Waiting now for the Trump administration response to the lawsuit.)
Over the Easter recess Corker went to Africa and declared that he wants Trump to “normalize” refugee resettlement which means he has zero interest in taking on the contentious issue of reforming the over 35-year-old flawed system where nine non-profit groups, funded by the federal government, determine how many refugees and from where are seeded in to a state (including his!).
BTW, we were relieved that Trump did not pick Corker for the top job at the US State Department, but we didn’t do any better (at least so far) with Rex Tillerson who is obviously continuing to rely on entrenched bureaucrats to make refugee resettlement decisions. (See Trump admits over 12,000 refugees, including Syrians and Somalis, since Inauguration Day, here)
Here is what Pajama’s Media told us last week about the Corker/Coons trip to Africa (hat tip: ‘Seneca the Elder’): WASHINGTON – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he hopes the Trump administration begins to “move back to a regular process” and “normalize” the admission of refugees into the United States.
Over the Easter recess, Corker and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) visited the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda, which houses about 270,000 people who fled the civil war in South Sudan. Corker was asked if he has recommendations for the Trump administration on refugees after his experience on the trip.
“It’s my hope that what they’re going to do is go through a process of, as they’ve already stated, of understanding how people are being vetted, do the things they feel are necessary to ensure that when people are coming here they are coming in a way that continues to make sure our whole nation is safe – and then we’ll move on and move back to the regular process that we’ve been in for some time, or hopefully an improved process if there are issues that need to be dealt with,” Corker said on a Monday conference call. Corker praised the Trump administration decision to remove Iraq from its list of countries covered by the revised executive order that restricted travel and the admission of refugees from some Muslim-majority nations. A federal court blocked the executive order.
“I was thankful they decided Iraq would not be a part of that. I hope they are actually, right now, going through a process of looking at this whole issue of travel. Hopefully, they are stiffening their resolve to make sure it’s done in an appropriate way, and then, hopefully, when that is done we can move on and more normalize what we have been doing in this regard for many years,” Corker said. Coons said he respected and appreciated Corker’s comments about refugees. More here.
Sure looks like no hope in Corker’s case for reform by Congress of the whole UN/US Refugee Admissions Program. And, if the US Refugee Admissions Program (as designed by the 1980 Act), is not reformed now, in the coming months (with leadership from Trump), it never will be. By early 2018, members of Congress and many Senators will be focused on only one thing—getting re-elected!
Just a reminder, in September the Trump Administration will send its ‘determination’ (the ceiling!) to Congress for how many refugees (and from which regions of the world) could be admitted to the US in FY18. What they send to the Hill for “consultation” (Congress does not have to approve, just consult) will tell us everything we need to know about whether Trump will have the guts to stick with campaign promises and get the program under control, or not!