Facing backlash, Republican governors are pitching refugee resettlement to opponents as a close cooperation between state officials and refugee contractors who are tasked with resettling refugees.
For Fiscal Year 2020, President Donald Trump will continue cutting refugee admissions by reducing former President Barack Obama’s refugee inflow by at least 80 percent. This reduction would mean a maximum of 18,000 refugees can be resettled in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020. This is merely a numerical limit and not a goal federal officials are supposed to reach.
Coupled with the refugee reduction, Trump signed an executive order that gives localities, counties, and states veto power over whether they want to resettle refugees in their communities.
Already, a total of 18 Republican governors have signed off on plans to resettle more refugees in their states and have given various recent interviews to defend their decision against opposition from residents and local communities.
Behind the scenes, an internal memo to state legislators from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) — one of those 18 governors — reveals how refugee resettlement is being pitched to opponents, mostly as a close cooperation between the state and refugee contractors, though the federal government gives nearly exclusive control of the issue to the State Department and the contractors they fund with American taxpayer money.
In one portion of the memo, Hutchinson admits that refugees resettled in Arkansas will be eligible for public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and TANF funds. These costs to taxpayers are portrayed as being only temporary and not permanent in the memo.
“100% of refugee households have seen reductions or terminations of this public assistance because of income within the first 6 months of arrival in the state,” the memo reads.
Hutchinson, in an interview with local radio host Dave Elswick, claimed that “generally” Middle Eastern refugees resettled in Arkansas would be nationals who are “under persecution because they cooperated with the United States of America.”
The memo portrays a similar scenario where likely refugees to Arkansas are arriving from “African nations and those countries in which the United States has engaged in military actions and cooperating nationals are at risk.”
These nationals described by Hutchinson would almost never arrive through the refugee resettlement and instead be eligible for Special Immigrant Visas like the special visa afforded to Iraqi and Afghani translators or the visa given to Iraqis who assisted the U.S. Armed Forces overseas.
Likewise, states are not allowed to choose the refugees they receive nor are state officials given background profiles of each refugee.
Refugee contractors have a vested interest in making sure as many refugees are resettled across the U.S. as possible because their annual federally funded budgets are contingent on the number of refugees they resettle. Those refugee contractors include:
Church World Service (CWS), Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and World Relief Corporation (WR).
Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.