Christine of The Center for Vigilant Freedom has written an important post, which you can read in its entirety below. H.R. 2265 is being presented as a compassionate attempt to rescue Iraqi refugees. But the bill is much more than that!
Christine's article is brilliant. Make time to read it!
From this source, in its entirety, is what Christine has posted:
Do you recognize the words in that last paragraph? They come from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, from Marc Antony's speech in which he sarcastically referred to the conspirators who, in spite of their good intentions, brought Rome to chaos by assassinating Julius Caesar on the steps of the Senate.
Here are the Frequently Asked Questions and answers for the dangerous and defeatist Democratic Iraqi refugee bill in the House - H.R. 2265 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:h2265:) (S. 1651), with Kyle Shideler’s more detailed analysis here. It’s being sold as a way to get at-risk Iraqi employees - Iraqi translators, contractors, spouses and kids - into the U.S. as “special immigrants.” But the reality is that the bill seriously undermines provisions in US immigration law, opening immigration to those identified as terrorists or supporters of terrorist groups.
As you’ll see, this bill gives refugee status to broad sections of the Iraqi population, with additional exemptions to all other aliens, and with special favorable treatment for anyone with a terrorist background. It’s as if the Bill assumes only two policy options:
(1) Surrender Iraq to al Qaeda and Iranian forces and blame the ensuing genocide on Bush OR…
(2) Surrender Iraq to al Qaeda and Iranian forces, blame the ensuing genocide on Bush, and create a program (designed to be confusing, poorly managed and dangerous) to get out as many Iraqis as possible, with a proactive effort to include Iraqis with terrorist and anti-American histories of violence.
First, here are your coordinates to track the Bill’s progress this fall. HR2265 (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:h2265:) provides “special immigrant status” for some Iraqis and assists Iraqi refugees living in other countries. It was introduced in May 2007 by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Christopher Shays (D-CT), and currently is referred to the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Who gets to be a special immigrant? The “principal alien” group of “Special immigrants” are any Iraqi and his immediate family who has worked alongside the US government, contractors, U.N or U.S.-based non-governmental organizations for at least a year. Presumably this would include all contractors, most members of the Iraqi military and police in units who have fought alongside American troops, Mayors and town councilmen for every single hamlet and village, many a tribal sheikh or construction business owner, their family and employees.
Wait - who will be left to turn out the lights? Isn’t this for people who will be killed if they stay in Iraq? The Bill gets cute here in a left-wing gallows-humor fashion. It states that a principal alien has to be someone who “has a not manifestly unfounded fear of persecution, violence, or harm to the alien or the alien’s family on account of their work.” That’s clear enough…..except then it neatly states that any Iraqi who worked for a year with the U.S., contractors, U.N. or any U.S. based NGO “shall be presumed to satisfy the requirement” of having that fear of persecution. So everyone who has had any employee relationship for a year with any of those entities qualifies.
Even if they work for the U.N.? But we thought the Democrats wanted the U.N. to replace the U.S. in Iraq. Yes, even if they work for the U.N., which makes you wonder about Democratic plans for “peacekeeping” or policing after they force out a real military presence. This Bill defines any Western presence in Iraq including the U.N. as a violent threat to any Iraqis who cooperate with them. According to this bill, Iraqis will have no security of any kind.
You’re sure al Qaeda didn’t draft this Bill - that sounds like their line? No, we think it sounds more like the extreme left-wing of the Democratic party, with a compassionate pretext. But we take your point.
If the NGO they work for has a headquarters in, say, Brussels or Dubai, are their workers safe? Absolutely. This Bill says that only workers for U.S. based NGOs are at risk (plus the U.N. of course…). Al Qaeda in Iraq must have promised the Bill’s sponsors to check the location of the main office address for your NGO before you are bombed.
How many “special immigrants” will enter the U.S.? For four years, from FY 2008 - FY 2011, 15,000 immigrants (”principal aliens”) will enter the U.S. each year, for a total of 60,000 Iraqis in this category. The bill creates more categories of immigrants from Iraq too, but they are not “primary aliens.” These 60,000 principal aliens will be in addition to existing immigration quotas.
What benefits will these “special immigrants” receive? All will be eligible for the same resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits as refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. This program has serious security and management problems and coming under fire from local communities. This Bill provides “such sums as may be necessary” to accommodate the new refugees. In the private sector we call that a blank check, but this is Congress where it is compassion. The bill also states that the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund can exceed its normal legal cap of $100 million during this refugee resettlement process.
I am a principal alien with a not manifestly unfounded fear of persecution. How will you protect me? If you apply and are in imminent danger, the Secretary of State will provide you with protection that may include temporary housing on United States military bases or at provincial reconstruction team offices, or the immediate removal from Iraq of such alien.
But wait - if the Democrats withdraw from Iraq, all 60,000 of us will be in imminent danger (plus our spouses and children, religious minorities and others). That’s 60,000+ people for Secretary Rice to protect right now. How will she do this? She will put you in base housing and in team offices. It might be a little snug.
But if the Democrats withdraw from Iraq, you will not have temporary housing, military bases or provincial reconstruction team offices. They will be in the hands of al Qaeda, the way facilities in Gaza fell into the hands of Hamas when their adversaries withdrew. So how will Secretary Rice protect us? The Bill says she will immediately remove all 60,000+ of you who are in imminent danger. Perhaps she will fly you out.
From where will she fly us out? After the Democrats surrender to al Qaeda, there will not be military bases where airplanes can land. The Bill does not specify how you will be able to leave Iraq, but we remind you that carpooling and bicycling meet Al Gore’s demands for a small carbon footprint.
I have arranged my carpool to flee Iraq under Secretary Rice’s protection after the Democrats surrender the U.S. airbases. Where do I go to apply as a principal alien? The Secretary of State will set up processing facilities in two locations in Baghdad, one location in southern Iraq, and two locations in Iraqi Kurdistan. She will do things to “minimize to the greatest extent practicable security risks” to you.
But all the Iraqi police and military will also be in line with me to flee, by the definition of this Bill, and the Democrats will have removed the U.S. Military. Who will provide security as I wait in line? Secretary Rice will protect you, “to the greatest extent practicable” which under these circumstances will be not at all. The Bill is worded to set up the U.S. Government to fail in protecting former Iraqi employees, but to show the compassion of the Bill’s drafters.
Will I need a passport and visa? The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security will work with the Iraqi government to issue passports to all 60,000+ of you in imminent danger, and will waive all fees. They will do this with careful scrutiny of each of your backgrounds as well, and in cooperation with an Iraqi government that may not exist because the Democrats will have withdrawn all U.S. military support for it.
I trust Secretary Rice and the Democratic Congress to protect me, but my big worry is that this activity will not generate a government report - can you reassure me? You are in luck. “Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to Congress a report on aliens described in this section who worked directly with the United States Government, the United Nations or other international organizations, certified government or international organization contractors or subcontractors, or international nongovernmental organization as a translator for a period of at least one year.”
Wait - the report will cover “other international organizations” or “international nongovernmental organizations” - and it sounds like maybe only translators can leave? You said above that it was only U.S. based NGOs, but other kinds of contractors too. This is confusing! Yes, you are confused.
What about help for other countries housing the refugees? Actually, that’s one of the few sensible sections of the Bill, and should be submitted as separate legislation, to help Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon with resources to support Iraqi refugees. Sadly this Bill provides no details. However, since Syria has been actively supporting al Qaeda in Iraq, in order to create the instability that has created the refugee situation (H/T Shideler), it seems they should pay the costs of their meddling themselves.
Will you be checking my background? I might have a parking ticket or two. The Department of Homeland Security will create a plan, ninety days after the Bill is enacted, to check the backgrounds of all “principal aliens” and other categories of refugees. Right now these processes are a bottleneck in bringing in the current quota of 7,000 Iraqi refugees, but good intentions and another blank check for funding will theoretically fix everything. The Arabic speaking translators needed to do background checks, who will be first in line to leave Iraq, will somehow not be needed for all the other background checks.
I am still worried there will not be enough bureaucratic reports on this compassionate program, in order to blame the Bush administration when the program fails. Can you reassure me? Yes we can! An annual report will report on the “adequacy and effectiveness of United States and United Nations programs to protect and assist Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons.” This will provide an opportunity for hearings blaming the Bush administration for the genocide resulting from the Democratic withdrawal of U.S. military from Iraq and the chaos resulting from the provisions of this Bill.
Who else can be a “special immigrant” under this Bill? The bill states that from 2007 to 2008, no fewer than 20,000 other refugees will be admitted.
No FEWER than 20,000? Then the Bill sets no upper limit, only a floor, for other refugees leaving Iraq in 2008 alone? You are correct.
Who is included in this unlimited category? I have many relatives and friends I would like to include in my carpool. Here is the list:
(1) Female-headed households and unaccompanied children.
(2) Religious communities of antiquity, including Chaldo-Assyrian Christians, Jews, Sabean Mandeans, Yazidis, Bahais, and others.
(3) Other religious, ethnic, social, or minority groups, including gay and lesbian Iraqis, subject to violence, intimidation, or discrimination by state or non-state actors.
(4) Iraqis with family members in the United States.
Is it possible that category 3 could include the entire Iraqi population, since Sunnis are subject to violence at the hands of Shiites, and Shiites at the hands of Sunnis? Yes, category 3 provides an unlimited number of “special immigrants” and by definition includes the entire Iraq population. The politically correct drafters of the Bill did not want to leave anyone out.
My brother-in-law Hussein engaged in youthful indiscretions with IEDs this spring, but my wife will never stop nagging me if we cannot bring him. Will Secretary Rice help? Hussein is also a lucky guy. The Bill allows the Secretaries of State, Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to determine that the definition of a terrorist does not apply to an individual or a group. Even better for Hussein, that determination will be made with “unreviewable discretion.”
And this is just for Iraqis, this amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows them unreviewable discretion to let in groups formerly known as terrorists? No, our reading of Section 7 of this Bill is that it uses the Iraqi refugee issue to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow this discretion for all aliens, not just Iraqis. We think the Bill’s optimistic drafters are thinking ahead to a future Democratic administration where the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General, will have a politically correct and multicultural view of who constitutes a terrorist, regardless of country of origin.
My cousin Ali also did bad things but it was not his fault - he was under duress. Will you let him in? Before this Bill, Ali would have been kept out of the U.S. by the law banning those who commit an act “that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons (including chemical, biological, or radiological weapons), explosives, or training.” But this Bill now adds the language “other than an act carried out under duress” to that law, so tell Ali to say he was made to do whatever he did. The drafters of the Bill trust that all applicants will tell the truth about any duress they experienced, and that the Homeland Security background checks will find any fibbers, as long as they speak English since all Arabic translators will have been evacuated.
Ali’s son and wife approved these terrorist actions by Ali, which were done within the last five years (well, last Tuesday and a few dozen times before…). Can they still be special immigrants under this bill? You bet! Before this Bill, it would have been a problem - the old language required that a spouse or child of a terrorist either be unaware, or renounce the terrorist activity, and the terrorist activity could not have been in the last five years. The Bill changes this to exempt any spouse or child of someone who committed a terrorist act in the last five years, regardless of whether they were aware or renounced the act.
The Bill calls this change a “Technical Correction,” but the change is actually substantive. The Bill’s drafters just believe in modest understatement, and were not trying to hide anything.
My cousin Abdullah applied two years ago as a U.S. immigrant and was rejected because of his youthful indiscretions with al Qaeda. Will this new law help him? Yes indeed. The amendments will apply to: “(1) removal proceedings instituted before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this section; and (2) acts and conditions constituting a ground for inadmissibility, excludability, deportation, or removal occurring or existing before, on, or after such date.” Everybody is welcome, because the Bill’s politically correct drafters do not want to exclude anyone. We also think this applies to all alien proceedings, not just Iraqi aliens.
This Bill and its Senate counterpart should die in committee.
I am all for being loyal to our friends. My own extended family fled their various homelands on two continents to survive the Germans in World War II and the Iranian revolution a generation later, years in displaced person camps and then years of drifting from country to country looking for a home. I agree that granting “special immigrant” status to a selected list of Iraqis who are at genuine risk regardless of political outcomes in Iraq is worthwhile. But the best way to make Iraq secure for all Iraqis is to fight to victory over al Qaeda in Iraq, to stop the Iranian subversion of the region, and to build up Iraqis’ own capacity to maintain order among sectarian factions. That requires staying in Iraq just as we stayed in Japan, Germany and Korea.
If left-wing legislators had met this spring with CAIR and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood to draft a bill, using the pretext of helping a defined group of “targeted” U.S. Iraqi contractors, to create an actual program that could result (no doubt completely inadvertently) in admitting terrorists into the U.S., they might have ended up with similar provisions.
Lest we forget, it has been alleged that lobbyists for this bill are “conservatives” Grover Norquist, founder of the Islamic Free Market Institute (copies of canceled checks funding it from Saudis, Kuwait, Safa Trust and Qatar here) and David Keene, lobbyist for the Carmen Group and new friend of the ACLU. We cannot confirm this information.
Perhaps they are all honorable men. So are they all, all honorable men.