A conservative lawmaker wants to halt the national refugee program that helps immigrants seeking humanitarian asylum in the United States settle into their new communities.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced a bill last week that would suspend the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program until the Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied “the costs of providing benefits to such individuals, and for other purposes.”
“It is extremely unsettling that the Obama Administration would continue to expand the U.S. resettlement program at such an irresponsible pace in light of our economic and national security challenges,” Babin said in a statement announcing the bill’s introduction. “While this program may be warranted in certain situations, it is continuing at an unchecked pace. For the past decade the U.S. has been admitting roughly 70,000 new refugees a year, with little understanding of the economic and social costs on our communities.
His office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
For decades, the U.S. has granted asylum and assistance to immigrants fleeing their home countries on the basis of their political opinion, religion, race, nationality or membership to a particular social group. It is estimated that some 3 million people have resettled in the United States since 1975. The resettlement program, overseen by the State Department working in conjunction charities and other non-government organizations, provides financial assistance and healthcare for refugees for a period of time while they assimilate.
The U.S.’s refugee policies has come under scrutiny since the 2014 migrant crisis, in which tens of thousands of Central American women and children crossed the border seeking asylum. However, conservatives have also singled out Muslim refugees fleeing from the war-torn Middle East.
Babin is known for being a hard-liner on immigration and joined Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) failed effort earlier this spring to block funding to the Department of Homeland Security over President Obama’s immigration executive order.
According to Congress.gov, Babin’s bill has no co-sponsors yet, although it has been cheered by some conservatives.
The Conservative Review praised Babin for taking on a program it described as being an “insidious tool used by the elites to remake American society and burden the states with a huge fiscal drain.”