Column: Ohio State slasher prompts major refugee questions

Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s exact immigration status and his history continue to unfold publicly. Authorities are uncertain about his age, but think he moved from Somalia to Pakistan in 2007, and then came to the United States with his family in 2014 when he was granted permanent legal residency. 

What’s known is that the allegedly 18-year-old Artan unleashed a vicious, unprovoked attack on his fellow Ohio State classmates, first with his car, and then with a butcher’s knife. Because Artan was angry about not knowing where to pray on campus and afraid of what he perceived as anti-Muslim sentiment on campus, he victimized 13 bystanders. 

University administrators and Ohio Governor John Kasich, a refugee resettlement advocate, refused to connect Artan’s attack to terrorism. William Clark, OSU engineering professor and one of the victims, made this politically correct statement: “Before I pass judgment on this young man, I would like to see exactly what the circumstances are and exactly why he took the course of action that he chose.” 

Professor Clark implied that despite Artan’s rantings on his Facebook page, including one that warned the U.S. to stop interfering in Muslim nations, terrorism might not be one of the “circumstances.” In various interviews last year, FBI director James Comey insisted that refugees from terrorist-sponsoring nations cannot be adequately vetted, a statement which the OSU attack confirms. 

On his Twitter account, President-elect Donald Trump stated the obvious – that Artan should not have been in the U.S. But Trump’s tweet has more truth in it than the obvious. Although Artan was born in Somalia, he was admitted as a refugee from Pakistan where he had lived, assumedly in relative comfort, for about seven years. That makes Artan a refugee from Pakistan, a Muslim country that is not at war, not under fear of attack and not recovering from a natural disaster. The U.S.’s willing acceptance of a Muslim living in a poor but peaceful Muslim nation, yet who claimed refugee status, proves the resettlement system’s dysfunction. 

Mostly under the radar, the Obama administration has escalated Muslim resettlement from the already high Reagan, Clinton and Bush State Department’s levels. Specifically, Somalis have been welcomed at an alarming rate, nearly 25,000 during the last three fiscal years, and in defiance of Americans’ wishes. Nothing underlines resettlement’s illogical and self-destructive nature more than the fact that since 9/11 more Muslim refugees have been admitted than before that fateful date. Based on nearly four decades of resettling mostly undereducated, low-skilled, non-English speaking Somalis, about 150,000 total in all, the trend is clear: without a policy change, the U.S. will continue to resettle Somalis forever. Artan’s case, others that also ended with fatalities and FBI warnings don’t matter a whit. 

Over the long-term, admitting more refugees who immediately receive generous welfare entitlements is neither sustainable nor affordable. The Heritage Foundation estimates the net cost of resettling 10,000 refugees averages out to $6.5 billion over the lifespan of those mostly young migrants. Obama’s commitment to resettle 85,000 refugees in the last fiscal year will, according to Heritage, eventually create a net $55 billion taxpayer cost. 

Legislation from the incoming Congress that restricts resettlement is possible. But Trump doesn’t need a bill to halt or temporarily freeze resettlement. President Trump will  have the authority to say no more lives will be put at risk until future notice, a use of executive power that Americans would welcome.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org

Joe Guzzardi ©2016 Joe Guzzardi and Capsweb.org. This column is distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.