Public Criticism of the US Refugee Resettlement Program

The Obama administration (including the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Health & Human Services) holds an annual meeting for public input on the refugee resettlement program. The attendance has been generally confined to representatives of the organizations that assist in locating refugees, preparing them for travel to the U.S. and are involved in assisting them in resettling in US communities. FAIR has usually been the only dissident voice in these meetings calling for reforms to focus the intake to true refugees. There has been no video or sound recording of these events and no conferencing to allow any broader public awareness or participation in these meetings.

This year the meeting was more raucous than usual. Besides FAIR’s statement calling for reforms to the program, there were 21 written statements from citizens around the country calling for a moratorium on new refugees or a much reduced level of entries. Additionally, three other organizations attending the meeting gave presentations calling for changes in the resettlement program. Both the public written submissions and the increased in-person statements critical of the program were unprecedented.

Especially interesting was a written statement provided by Theodore Gatsas, mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, calling for a temporary halt in sending new refugees to that city because a saturation point has been reached and further refugees would undermine the ability of the community to properly assist those already there to assimilate into the community. Mr. Gatsas wrote, “it is for these reasons that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the local governing body of the City of Manchester, voted on July 5, 2011, to request a moratorium on refugee resettlement in the City of Manchester. This action was taken because, as a City, we feel the need to ‘catch up’.”

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    we can no longer be a poltical refuge for all the desperate peoples of this world without destroying this lifeboat of democracy called the united states of america!political and socialreform in other countrys must take place by brave and committed individuals in those countrys and not running to the usa and talking for decades on how things should get better in the old country!we must save our country for our children!the politicians wont save our country-we must do it!it has nothing to do with compassion for other people,we have given foreign aid for years!its now about our own countrys survuival!!

  2. avatar

    Mr Rogers

    We are the third most popiulated country on the planet. This isn’t the turn of the century when America was in need of a population to build its cities, dams, roads and bridges. People need to fight for their freedoms and liberties in their homelands just like America did.

  3. avatar


    Good work on your part at the hearing. I wrote one of the letters that was read but due to poor health I was unable to attend. I wondered if my second letter had been read about the war criminals being let in a refugees and the refuigees who take a month long visit to the village they fled from?

    Keep up the good work!

    Jeannine Richardson
    Merrimack NH 03054

  4. avatar

    It seems as if we have forgotten the humanity of immigration. Families seeking a better life. Individuals looking for freedom and liberty. Our laws and process should foster and build on that, but they often fall far too short because of “political expediency.”