Tag: refugees

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A panel discussion was held and sponsored jointly by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the Hungarian Migration Research Institute (MRI), which examined the challenges posed by the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unleashed a deluge of refugees on Europe comparable in size only to the massive displacement of people at the end of World War II. Front-line countries in Europe – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania – opened their borders to those fleeing Ukraine, and the EU in an historic decision offered them temporary protection, including the right to work. The United States has focused on helping Ukrainians where they are in Europe, pledging up to $5 billion in humanitarian assistance. In addition, however, the Biden administration has pledged to take in 100,000 Ukrainians, granted Temporary Protected Status to those already in the U.S., and created the “Unity for Ukraine” program to allow individuals to sponsor Ukrainians who don’t want to stay in the EU.


A new report and podcast from the Center for Immigration Studies provides an overview of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, which has seen more than four million people flee Ukraine for neighboring countries. The report describes the European Union’s response to those seeking protection in various countries in the region and also highlights the U.S. response, which has been primarily aimed at providing economic and humanitarian assistance to enable Ukrainians to remain in their own region. However, President Biden, under pressure from refugee advocates, eventually committed to resettling 100,000 Ukrainians. The report provides a snapshot of the Ukrainian population already resettled in the U.S. which these individuals would be joining.

Most Ukrainians already resettled in the U.S. arrived under the “Lautenberg Amendment”, a Cold War-era program that gives priority to Ukrainians and others from the former Soviet Union who claim to be persecuted because of membership in a religious minority group. The program is on automatic pilot, being renewed yearly despite the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists. It will undoubtedly be used to fast-track the resettlement of Ukrainians in the coming months despite the lack of religious persecution in the EU, where the Ukrainians are located.

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I think that Biden is facing three huge issues which will sink his Presidency, rising inflation, rising crime and his refusal to effectively deter an onslaught on the Mexican border.  Trump was able to justify his “Stay in Mexico” policy for refugees on Title 42 on the pandemic.  Well, the pandemic is essentially over and […]

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What do we know about regugees and the process of identifying, screening and resettling people from foreign lands who cannot go back home? For Jaisang Sun, research associate at The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute, and the guest on this week’s episode of JobMakers, correcting misinformation and disinformation about refugees is paramount, especially today with the potential for an influx of refugees who assisted our special forces in Afghanistan and the consequent public discourse around it. Jai clears the air with JobMakers host Denzil Mohammed on refugees and the resettlement program, including costs and benefits to us, and more importantly, he profiles just who refugees are – people like you and me, except displaced and persecuted with nowhere to go, something many of us will never experience.



With the fall of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, large numbers of Afghans are fleeing the country. In particular, the United States has sought to evacuate those Afghans who would be in danger of Taliban reprisals for their cooperation with American authorities.

To discuss this urgent issue, this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy features two analysts at the Center for Immigration Studies. Dr. Nayla Rush, a senior researcher at the Center, explains the potential size of the flow of people to the United States from Afghanistan and the various programs (like Special Immigrant Visas and the Priority 2 refugee program) that Afghans will use to move here.

Howard Husock interviews four remarkable leaders of nonprofit groups who were recently honored as part of Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Awards and Civil Society Fellows Program.

Manhattan Institute and City Journal have long sought to support and encourage civil-society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, do so much to help communities address serious social problems. In this edition of the 10 Blocks podcast, Husock speaks with:

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The American Revolution was not just about battles, international politics, and the men who willed the nation into being. It was also about the changes occurring in society that took men and women from observers in the political system to active participants. This was a period of intense strife among the civilian population. Those who […]

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Turkey’s Southern Border


Turkey has been adamant about preventing the Kurds controlling a contiguous area immediately South of its border with Syria. To that end, it entered Syria and has recently expanded the zone it controls directly (turquoise, labeled Afrin) and perhaps also indirectly (light green, labeled Idlib) in Syria’s North West:

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So I read this book, The City On The Heights. Without edging too far into spoiler territory, it’s a work of alternative (recent) history which starts in Mosul and ends in the Golan Heights.  It is written from a number of points of view – including a Jihadi’s .  What was remarkable was that it’s […]

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Refugee Resettlement Reckoning on Obama Administration


Refugees come to the United States through several legal channels, and this post will focus on only the Refugee Resettlement Program. The Refugee Resettlement Program has its own issues, and is a high-profile element of our immigration policy. We have discussed this before at Ricochet, and it is time for an update. I am posting here to provide some background on Refugee Resettlement, to specifically discuss refugees from Syria, to comment on the program under the Obama Administration, and to document that @JamesOfEngland owes me a beer the next time we cross paths at a meetup.

The Refugee Resettlement Program brought 572,924 refugees to the United States during the Obama Administration (Feb 2, 2009 through Feb 1, 2017). In recent discussions, religion was an issue, so here are some highlights:

  • 196,900 were Christians (34%)
  • 160,622 were Muslims (28%)
  • 47,679 were Hindu (8.3%)
  • 38,781 were Buddhist (6.8%)
  • 8,381 were categorized as “no religion” (1.5%)
  • 249 were Atheist

The Refugee Resettlement Program is operated by the State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. They provide an on-line database, which is the source of the numbers above. Links are in the comments.

A Further Qualified Defense of the Ninth Circuit Attack on Trump’s Executive Immigration Order


My recent post on Ricochet took the position that the Ninth Circuit was correct when it set aside Trump’s controversial executive orders on legal permanent aliens and refugees and asked the Trump administration to reexamine the result. Most people in dealing with this order claim that it went too far because it did not accept the President’s position that the order was wholly unreviewable, regardless of its content, which was viewed as self-evidently correct by some and wholly outside the bounds of decency by others. Indeed, many of the comments on Ricochet took the former position by arguing that Presidents should follow the lead of Andrew Jackson and tell the Court to enforce its own order. But it is, as other readers noted, a wild overreaction to a particular dispute to throw out a set of institutional arrangements that have by and large served the United States well for over 200 years.

I put these grander objections aside, therefore, to look at two more fine-grained challenges. I start by noting that in making this decision, the Ninth Circuit was right to avoid grappling on a thin record with claims that both the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause applied to the particular case. That analysis would have been a major transformation of American law that could quite literally upset established practices on allocating scarce immigration slots on the basis of national origin. It also allowed the Court to side step the very tricky question of the extent to which alien claims generated some positive right to become an immigrant. I regard these claims when stated in their general form to be wholly unsupportable. In general, the power of every nation to protect its own borders means that no outsider has a categorical right to enter this country but must allowed to apply before entry.

With all that said, the actual issues presented in this case were of narrower bore, dealing with standing on the one hand, and the relationship of this order to the President’s statutory authority to make unreviewable executive orders on the other. Both these points require further attention. Both of these issues are addressed in a serious and professional manner by David Rivkin and Lee Casey in the Wall Street Journal, and by Michael McConnell on Defining Ideas. I cannot address all of their points here. But I do hope to explain why the contrary view that I expressed survives their criticism.

Why the Ninth Circuit Was Right to Put Trump’s Executive Order on Hold


The Wall Street Journal today published an editorial, “Trump’s Judicial Debacle,” which takes a divided position on President Trump’s notorious Executive Order that has three key components.  It first attacks the entire process as a political debacle and social disaster, which it surely is.  But as a rear guard action it thereafter attacks the unanimous opinion of a panel in the Ninth Circuit that shut out the government on appeal.  It opines that some genuine risks arise whenever courts trench on the legitimate powers of the Executive and thereby upset the delicate balance of power among the three branches of government.

The Journal is clearly correct on the first point: the order is indeed a form of immigration insanity. On balance, it is wrong on the second. To set the stage it is useful to summarize the three key provisions of the Executive Order.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and David French of National Review discuss President Trump’s orders seeking to reduce federal regulations.  They also say Trump is on the right track with his refugee policy but did not implement it well, and they unload on the hysterical left-wing reaction to the policy.  And they practice their shocked faces as Iran defies the United Nations and tests a ballistic missile – the ones that carry nuclear warheads.

Richard Epstein explains why both the legal and policy complexities of immigration make the issue more difficult to tackle than most pundits imagine.

ISIS and the Refugee Crisis


shutterstock_319837088In 1956, Charles Tiebout published a famous paper that hypothesized that when faced with an inefficient government, people would “vote with their feet” and move to another jurisdiction. While he applied his model to local governments, we can think of this happening across national borders as well. This can provide us with some insights about the current refugee crisis.

ISIS views itself essentially as a government and has been at work establishing geographic boundaries. This government is clearly coercive and millions of people are “voting with their feet” by fleeing ISIS-controlled territory and territory that ISIS may control at some point. The fact that a vast number of people have fled indicates that either ISIS wants them to leave or it is ineffective in containing its population.

It doesn’t seem logical that ISIS would want a government with few people rather than one with a large number of people, so we might assume that it has trouble keeping its people within its geographical boundary. If it cannot keep people from leaving, the next strategy would be to keep anyone else from receiving those fleeing ISIS-controlled territory.

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When I first learned of PEGIDA, it was explained to me the organization had deplorable roots. Even so, an explosion of racism seemed a weak explanation for the group’s popularity. The more likely scenario was that the most organized and assertive communicators of common grievances would be cheered by kind and reasonable citizens even if […]

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We Know What’s Happening in Syria


Russian bombing is prompting a mass exodus of terrified Syrians from Aleppo to the Turkish border. Credible estimates suggest 70,000 have fled; they’re the lucky ones: Those who remain are apt to be starved to death. The Syrian army and allied militias, including Iranian militias, will soon cut rebel-held zones of Aleppo off from Turkish supply lines. Russian airstrikes have been hitting villages north of Aleppo on the road to Turkey. Aleppo is on the verge of encirclement, which means hundreds of thousands of souls will be unable to escape. What we’re about to watch live, if we wish to, will probably be the largest siege since the Second World War.

The news that the Syrian government is exterminating detainees is on the front page of The New York Times today. You can read the details here. At some point the world will issue a teary apology to Syrians and there will be memorials to the Syrians and lots of children will hear about the terrible first half of the 21st century, and everyone will ask how this could have happened. If anyone ever says, “We didn’t know what was happening to them,” tell them: Shut up. We did.