Once upon a time, Joe Biden prioritized Americans over refugees

In 1975, a freshman senator from Delaware exclaimed that he saw no U.S. "obligation, moral or otherwise, to evacuate foreign nationals."

That senator was Joe Biden, who opposed an attempt by then-president Gerald Ford to resettle hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the U.S.  At the time, Biden made clear that he wanted the American government to prioritize American citizens over foreign nationals.

"I feel put upon in being presented an all-or-nothing number," Biden said at the time.  "I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out.  I don't want it mixed with getting the Vietnamese out."

At the time, America was retreating from a decades-long conflict, scrambling to get its citizens out, while a refugee crisis loomed on the horizon.  Now history is repeating itself, and this time, Biden is the man who occupies the Oval Office.  While Biden hasn't spoken much about the looming refugee crisis, his overall immigration agenda and his scarce public statements suggest that he is preparing to flood the U.S. with Afghan refugees.

"Once screened and cleared, we will welcome these Afghans to their new home in the United States with open arms," Biden said in early August.  "We are a nation that has been strengthened by generations of immigrants adding their unique talents to our American tapestry."

Biden has flip-flopped on nearly every major issue, and immigration is not at all different.  His statements on Vietnamese and Afghan refugees could not be more diametrically opposed.  As I've written before, I support efforts to help Afghans who aided our war effort, but that does not mean they all should be given a one-way ticket to the U.S.  As Biden seemed to understand in 1975, the U.S. government has a responsibility, first and foremost, to its citizens, our safety, and our security.  Bringing in tens of thousands of unvetted refugees from one of the most dangerous parts of the world would present a clear danger to America's national security.  Unfortunately, there's already evidence that this is happening.

A recent report from Bloomberg News stated that the Biden administration has alerted refugee organizations that it plans to bring in 50,000 migrants from Afghanistan.  These migrants would be part of not the Special Immigrant Visa program, which is intended to help Afghanis who helped the U.S., but rather a vague "humanitarian" program the administration is promoting.  This is in defiance of the wishes of the American public, which has consistently disapproved of Biden's immigration policies.  In fact, a recent poll from Rasmussen found that a majority of Americans oppose bringing in this many refugees, including 68 percent of Republicans.

In addition to security concerns, there are also legitimate concerns about what importing tens of thousands of refugees would do to the social fabric of our deeply divided nation.  In 2013, a Pew Research Center survey found that a whopping 99 percent of Afghan Muslims support sharia law, and 61 percent believe that all citizens should be subject to sharia law.  Of the Afghan Muslims who favor making sharia the law of the land, 81 percent support hudud punishments for crimes such as theft and robbery.  Hudud punishments include amputations, flogging, and brutal executions.  Beliefs in subjugating Christians, Jews, women, and gays are deeply ingrained in sharia law and are incompatible with a Western liberal democracy.

This is not to say that Afghan refugees are bad people.  Many of them may be great people, but importing tens of thousands of refugees from a completely different culture and with little knowledge of and tolerance for American principles could have devastating consequences for our deeply fragile social fabric and our national security.  The U.S. government should put the interests of U.S. citizens first.  They should not exploit the compassion of the American people in order to dramatically change the makeup of the country.

This is not the time for our chief executive to again pander to his radical left base by flip-flopping on this critical issue.  He needs to channel his former self from 1975 and prioritize American lives and interests.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Image: USAID via Pixnio, CC0 public domain.

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