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 Obama to visit flood-ravaged Louisiana. Bad optics, they said, to be on the links when 13 people died and 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
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 Obama and his powerful administration disregard Americans’ well-being. Obama’s controversial refugee resettlement program that is on target to bring 10,000 Syrian Muslims to the U.S. before September 30, a 500 percent increase from last year’s 1,600, has been a festering sore for nearly a year.
From the moment Obama announced his upwardly revised Syrian refugee goal, done without congressional approval, many states’ 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 Obama’s plan.
Americans want a sober evaluation of the risks inherent in resettling refugees from a nation that has vowed to destroy the U.S. In the last 11 months, 184 cities and towns in 38 states have received Syrians, mostly against their will. Little wonder then that citizens, whose communities have to absorb the refugees, were dismayed when Obama gave temporary protected status – amnesty – to Syrians already living here, including those who overstayed their visas and became illegal aliens.
More than just Syrians are included in Obama’s grand scheme. According to the State Department, as of August 9, 2016, the administration has admitted 61,232 total refugees this fiscal year, of whom 8,114 are from Syria, 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 the studies which show that a greater number of refugees could be protected if they were placed in neighboring countries. Resettling a refugee from Syria in the U.S. costs 12 times more for 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, Obama proceeds, and insists that accepting refugees is “who we are.”
But if mass resettlement represents “who we are,” how can Obama explain that according to government data first reported by Daily Caller reporter Peter Hasson, almost all 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, 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 as racist and xenophobic. To look at the refugee distribution in and around D.C., however, the policymakers seem to share the same worries about inviting refugees into their communities as the rest of America.
A Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization, Joe Guzzardi is at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.