Rural communities are woefully unprepared to accept thousands of refugees under the Obama administration’s refugee program, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) argued in his letter to the State Department this week. The presidential candidate is concerned that the federal government is taking advantage of localities without providing them the necessary resources to comply with the resettlement program.
In his letter to State and Health and Human Services, Cruz acknowledged how the refugee program demonstrates U.S. compassion, yet he quickly provided plenty of evidence to indicate we are in no way prepared to settle thousands of strangers.
“The refugee resettlement program is a testament to the extraordinary compassion and generosity of the American people,” Sen. Cruz wrote in the letter. “I am concerned that the federal government and the voluntary agencies that administer the resettlement program have been abusing the generosity and good will of resettlement communities by funneling refugees to those communities without adequate consultation and advance notice.”
Cruz referenced the GAO’s 2012 report which found that the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration “failed to provide sufficient guidance on how to ensure adequate consultation between voluntary agencies and the resettlement communities.”
This lack of communication, he said, is “unacceptable.”
Some of the specific burdens these communities face, Cruz writes, come in the form of welfare benefits (91 percent of Middle Eastern refugees receive food stamps and 68 percent receive cash assistance), school performance, which suffers because of new students who have English language deficiencies, and a strain on social services due to the new employment demand.
The list goes on.
So, the senator asked for a few simple requests. Among other unanswered questions, Cruz wants the government to provide him with a detailed report of how they determine where to settle refugees, along with a list of every community that asked for a moratorium on the refugee program.
Cruz’s message is clear: Don’t take advantage of Americans’ compassion.