Refugees Are (Still) Being Resettled Despite the Coronavirus Outbreak
Posted on: 03/24/2020 05:52 PM

While people are sheltering in place and the economy is tanking, more than 3,000 resettled since late January, when the pandemic task force was created. And yet potentially ill “refugees” looking to take US jobs and keep wages down, who burden our courts and burden our health care, are being escorted in like a walk in a park.

Following the alarming spread of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 that appeared in China in December 2019, the world is taking extreme measures to try and contain this contagious virus that is mainly transmitted from person to person. Necessary steps undertaken by many countries, including the United States, entail travel restrictions, quarantines, closing of borders, etc.

Despite tough measures undertaken by the Trump administration these past weeks to limit the virus outbreak inside the United States, refugees are still being admitted into American communities. From January 29 (the day the president's Coronavirus Task Force to lead the U.S. government response to the coronavirus was formed) to March 18 (the deadline I used for this report), the United States resettled 3,037 refugees, including 19 Iranians (Iran is one of the countries particularly affected by the coronavirus). Before I sent this piece for publication, I checked again for admissions: On March 19, two Syrian refugees were admitted into the United States. Both were placed in New Jersey, in the city of Highland Park. These could be the last refugees to be resettled into the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Refugees Are (Still) Being Resettled Despite the Coronavirus Outbreak

But that doesn't answer the following: Why were these thousands of refugees allowed in when, by the admission of both chiefs of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, "refugees may be particularly targeted" by the coronavirus?

Why were 3,037 refugees allowed in after the president's task force was formed, or after January 30, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency, or after March 11, when WHO characterized the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic?

And, more importantly, were they tested for the coronavirus beforehand? I couldn't find any indication they were anywhere. Let's assume they were, and the results came back negative (we are told that even if one is tested negative it doesn't mean one is not carrying the virus), were they quarantined upon arrival? Were there any follow-ups to make sure they were fine? Were governors of the states they were placed in (such as California, Washington, Texas, New York, etc.) made aware of such arrivals and risks? In view of this dramatic health crisis, state and local officials might want to reconsider their relentless commitment to the refugee resettlement program, and finally take advantage of the opportunity given to them by President Trump to have a say in the number of refugees placed into their communities.

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