Hmm—Are We About To Invade Iran?
Time To Cap The Refugee Industry]
America is opening its doors to “religious minorities
Buried in this year`s $373 billion spending bill is the
annual reauthorization of the Lautenberg Amendment—now
known as the Specter Amendment after its new principle
sponsor, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA). The Amendment,
originally designed for Soviet Jews, is the gold
standard for (expedited, subsidized) immigrant
importation into in the U.S. All
ethnic lobbies aspire to their own version.
year, it was expanded to include
"religious minorities from Iran" including
Baha`is, Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews. The bill
was a legislative priority of the Refugee Industry,
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).
head Leonard Glickman gloated:
"Religious minority refugee applicants from the former
Soviet Union and Iran will now have greatly increased
access to the
[U.S.] refugee program….The entire Jewish community
and others helped by this program should join us in
celebrating the passage of the Specter Amendment because
it will have a direct impact on many needy and worthy
Jews from the former Soviet Union and Iran.” [HIAS
Iran? Does Glickman know something we don`t?
Probably not. A likelier explanation: HIAS, like the
rest of the
Refugee Industry, is just after the U.S. taxpayer`s
There are only
25,000 Jews in Iran. Though HIAS is one of the main
beneficiaries of the bill, perhaps half of the Iranian
migrants it processes are not Jewish.
Refugee Industry likes the Lautenberg/ Specter model
because it dispenses with any boring need to establish
that its immigrant clients are, in fact, refugees.
Instead, Congress just decrees that anyone in a
specified group is to be regarded as persecuted i.e. all
Jews in the former Soviet Union.
These favored immigrants meet a U.S. legal definition of
“refugee.” But as virtually all experts from all
points of the immigration opinion spectrum agree, in the
main they are not refugees.
Which is a wonderful racket. An officially-designated
refugee gets instant access to all welfare as well as a
wealth of federal handouts. For the elderly, it means a
retirement plan courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, 30 days
Defending this racket is how the Lautenberg Amendment
was conceived. In the 1980s the Soviet Union allowed
increased levels of Jewish emigration. Exiting the old
USSR with visas for
Israel, most would deplane either in
Vienna or Italy and seek entry into the U.S. as
refugees. Automatically approved by the U.S. Consulate,
their next stop was New York. The taxpayer footed the
bill for airfare—and absorbed the fees charged by
“refugee contractors,” Non-Governmental
Organizations like HIAS whose role is to hustle the new
arrivals onto welfare programs.
1988, the Reagan Administration began using more
common-sense criteria. Many Soviet emigrants no longer
qualified as refugees because they were not,
Needless to say, the Refugee Industry hated this. And it
lobbied Congress to pass the Lautenberg
Amendment—quasi-automatic acceptance into the U.S. for
an array of special groups including Jews and some other
Lautenberg Amendment has been the main vehicle of Jewish
immigration to the U.S. from the old USSR—a total of
perhaps 400,000. But, today, for various reasons, the
flow of refugees are a mere fraction of the original
totals and most are non-Jews, usually evangelicals.
is a problem for HIAS. Like other federal refugee
program contractors, HIAS is paid by the U.S. government
to manage the refugee program on a per refugee basis and
out millions once the refugees reach U.S. shores. It
is also paid for activities overseas. For example, it
provides courses in `CO` (Cultural Orientation)
to refugees. And it functions as an OPE (Overseas
Processing Entity) to those navigating the refugee
placement bureaucracy. A robust and uninterrupted
refugee pipeline is
essential for business. And it`s big a business: HIA
$8.5 million in 2003.
Enter Iran. It has one of the highest concentrations of
UN-recognized refugees (i.e. potential clients for the
Refugee Industry) in the world. The U.S. has no
diplomatic relations with Iran, but Austria does.
Through immigrant social networks—undoubtedly aided and
abetted by federal contractors—it became known that
Austria was pretty much rubber-stamping special visa
applications from Iran with the understanding that these
immigrants would stop only temporarily in Vienna on
their way to the U.S. as refugees.
most of these emigrants were not refugees by any common
sense definition, let alone that of the U.N. A
relatively small number were being rejected by the U.S.
They would then refuse to go home or elsewhere, even
though many could have gotten visas to other countries.
A small number, less than 1,000, had piled up in
Austria, becoming a burden to the Austrian state, their
relatives in the U.S. and HIAS.
refugee pipeline had to be kept full and flowing. And a
legislative champion was found to make it happen—Senator
impossible to speculate on eventual numbers coming in on
the new provisions of the Specter Amendment. The
numbers are small now (less than 1,000 a year). But
these programs tend to become self-propagating, as we
have seen with the original Lautenberg Amendment.
Although there are relatively few Jews left in Iran,
religious minorities do comprise 2 percent of Iran`s
69 million people. That is, about 1.4 million
potential “refugees” have just been given the
right to come here.
him) is a recovering refugee worker.