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An Immigration Con Job

Welcome.US gives cover to the Biden administration’s open-border policies under the guise of compassion.

Yuma Arizona Border Crossing
(Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

Our country’s powerful immigration lobby has launched a new national campaign called Welcome.US. The initiative is an effort to find sponsors and support for hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of new migrants. Welcome.US is a massive public pressure effort by the “largest coalition in refugee resettlement history” that also serves to give political cover to the Biden administration’s open-border policies. 

The Welcome.US approach is a full-court press on all Americans to sign up to sponsor every last refugee the Biden administration deposits on our shores. Sounding as preachy as DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Welcome.US argues that more contact with the coming waves of refugees will do us all good. This campaign is headed by all living former U.S. presidents and First Ladies (except one noteworthy couple), a long list of celebrity policymakers, business, academic, and religious leaders, plus professional advocates and humanitarians, and of course a few Hollywood types (like Cher). 


The website states:

Resettling our newest neighbors requires a whole-country response. That’s why four former Presidents and four former First Ladies have joined us as leaders of this effort – above all, to lift up our collective efforts and remind us that this is our opportunity, in a time of too much division, for a common purpose.

So much for former presidents remaining above partisan conflicts. Carter, Clinton, Obama, and Bush are thrusting themselves, under the guise of accommodating refugees, into the scorching controversy of Joe Biden’s immigration and border policies. Any national program for resettling these refugees and migrants must address why they are coming. But typically, as was the case so often during the Bush and Obama years, the Welcome.US coalition seeks to avoid an honest debate on immigration, choosing instead to camouflage the issue behind something else—in this case, refugee support.

Welcome.US is in fact a clever smokescreen. The group’s hullabaloo about taking care of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees belies another intention, which is to draw popular attention away from the Biden administration’s January 5 unlawful decision to open the country to at least 360,000 economic migrants a year from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela—and very likely many more. Biden’s unprecedented executive overreach constitutes a new immigration program that the White House knows Congress would never approve.

There are in fact 20 U.S. states currently challenging Biden’s 360,000-a-year Caribbean-migrant policy in federal court, illustrating again just how controversial the White House decision is. Welcome.US appears to hope that the Caribbean migrants just get lumped in with the more popular support for fleeing Afghans and Ukrainians. It is no surprise that a visitor on the group’s website has to click around—past all the talk about those two nationalities—to find out that sponsors are also sought for Biden’s highly questionable Caribbean-migrant program.


Like the White House, Welcome.US has big immigration plans and no time to wait for federal courts: “We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. Our ultimate ambition is for every American community – and the nation as a whole – to have the resources and willingness to welcome newcomers, now and in the future.” Apparently, there is a lot of transformational work to do on the yokels.

There can be, of course, an honest debate about how many legitimate refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine the United States should accept, but that discussion has nothing to do with Secretary Mayorkas’s scheme to open America’s frontiers to massive numbers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. The administration does not want to work within Congressionally approved refugee resettlement procedures and quotas, as if following the law was an option, and the advocates of Welcome.US have enthusiastically signed on to the White House’s questionable approach.

Consider that the administration originally agreed to a maximum of 125,000 refugee spots in fiscal year 2022—and then only filled 25,000 places. Instead, Biden and Mayorkas essentially threw out the authorized refugee process, which they considered too slow and too limiting, to invent their own speedy but unlawful “new paths” that simply deem selected foreign nationalities as refugees and admit them. Therefore, almost all of Biden-Mayorkas migrants that Welcome.US is sponsoring do not even meet the U.S. government legal definition of “refugee.”

The existing system was designed to create a manageable process that is supported by a domestic political consensus and an internal resettlement capacity. It also requires that individual refugees and their family members be interviewed and vetted outside the United States. That is admittedly a tedious, time-consuming procedure, but it is rightly designed to screen people before actually admitting them into the country.

The more refugees, the more federal resources that flow to Welcome.US. It is an old Washington con-game for foundations and service organizations to lecture the rest of us on their commitments to advance the public good, while they derive profits and power for their efforts. Exactly in this spirit, Welcome.US is replete with advocacy groups and activists who for years have lobbied for expansive immigration in a way that also nicely serves their narrow financial self-interest. 

Thus, embedded in the broad Welcome coalition is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the National Restaurants Association, along with other commercial interests such as large employers Walmart and Microsoft, all eager for new tranches of cheap laborers. These businesses are laser-focused on their profits and just fine with passing the inevitable disruptions in community social services, schools, and housing onto the backs of ordinary citizens. The Welcome.US coalition likewise consists of numerous refugee resettlement agencies and their affiliates such as the United Way and Goodwill, all theoretically non-profit, but destined to be lavished by the Biden administration with hundreds of millions in new federal grants.

Welcome.US is already hiring staff and is ready to dispense its own grant money as it prepares for a long campaign. In fact, this campaign represents the full force of the country’s mighty Immigration-Industrial Complex, mobilized and deployed, on a mission not only to win more migrants, but to defend against a coming policy counterattack, because it correctly fears the Biden-Mayorkas overreach is actually vulnerable to a great political rebuke.   

Welcome.US has also already deployed lawyers in depth, starting with the American Bar Association, whose concern for due process and rule of law apparently does not cover the Biden administration’s shenanigans in legalizing faux refugees. But the ABA leadership is no doubt already preparing constitutional attacks against any post-Biden, conservative administration that might want to return those migrants whose genuine identities prove to be other than what they claim. If only middle-class Americans had such advocacy firepower working on their behalf. 

Welcome.US planners have also recruited faith leaders, signing on numerous main-line church representatives. But compassion needs to be smart and aware: Very few, if any, of these national church leaders are voicing any disapproval or condemnation of President Biden’s policies that lure desperate migrants to America’s frontiers, resulting along the way in countless smuggling deaths and the exploitation of women and children through human trafficking. 

To be fair, objective observers must acknowledge that some participants in the Welcome.US coalition are genuinely only motivated by the plight of refugees. But that fact does nothing to diminish the reality of the political chess game that Welcome.US is playing at the behest of the White House to advance policies opposed by a majority of Americans.  

The foreign-born population in the U.S. is approaching 50 million people, and Americans rightly believe they already shoulder their fair share of international charity without being preached to by the country’s elites. Despite the best misdirection efforts of Welcome.US, this debate is about much more than America’s generosity toward refugees; it is fundamentally about defending the rule of law against a reckless administration.


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