Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) introduced the SECURE America Act, a bill that would end the mechanism which allows the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to amnesty illegal aliens through the use of “administrative parole.” The bill also makes needed changes to the way the U.S. administers its refugee admission and resettlement process.
The bill proposes many changes to our immigration system. First, the bill gives Congress – not the president – the authority to set refugee ceilings. Rep. Rosendale’s legislation makes it so that the executive branch cannot admit refugees until Congress sets the annual cap. The founders envisioned Congress acting as the primary institution through which national policy flowed. Something as impactful as the ceiling for refugee admissions deserves to come from agreement in Congress, rather than through the personal policy preferences of one individual. This is in line with the intent of the founders and would prevent disparate changes between different administrations.
Second, Rep. Rosendale’s legislation would require greater consent from the states. Currently, states have little say in whether the federal government resettles refugees in their borders. Under the SECURE America Act, the federal government must notify state governors 30 days before any resettlement occurs. Governors could reject any proposed placement, giving states a say in the refugee resettlement process.
Third, the bill establishes new screening requirements to evaluate whether refugees will assimilate into American society and culture. This reinforces the common-sense alternative approach to refugee resettlement, where the U.S. would support resettlement efforts in-region to ensure that refugees live in countries that share their own language, cultural beliefs, and societal outlook. Research shows that the cost of resettling a single refugee from the Middle East in the U.S. is “12 times what the UN estimates it costs to care for one refugee in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.” In other words, we could assist 12 times as many Middle Eastern refugees by resettling them in neighboring countries that are closer linguistically, geographically, and culturally, rather than resettling them in the United States.
Finally, the bill would rescind the use of administrative parole to amnesty illegal aliens who do not qualify as refugees or are otherwise inadmissible to the United States. Already, the Biden administration is investigating the use of parole to give tens of thousands of Afghans a pathway to citizenship. Contrary to popular belief, not all of the Afghans who fled Kabul worked with the U.S. government and military. In fact, almost none of those who arrived in the U.S. ever did. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted that only three percent of Afghan evacuees had special immigrant visas (SIVs). The SIV is the visa program the U.S. used to reward Afghans who assisted the U.S. military in Afghanistan. The Biden administration is investigating the legality of using its parole authority to amnesty mass numbers of Afghan evacuees, even though they did not assist the U.S. in any documented way.
Speaking in support of the legislation, FAIR president Dan Stein remarked that:
Rep. Rosendale’s SECURE America Act makes desperately needed changes to our broken refugee and parole systems. The Biden administration has made clear that they will use every tool in their arsenal to shield illegal aliens from removal – including blanket parole. Rep. Rosendale’s bill would end the misguided use of administrative parole to grant thousands of illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship. FAIR supports this bill as a crucial step needed in the fight to restore integrity to our immigration system.
Rep. Rosendale also appeared for an interview with FAIR president Dan Stein, where the two discussed the legislation and analyzed the state of the American refugee program in light of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Watch this video below: