Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate who is helping to run President Trump’s “voter fraud” probe, claimed in an interview with Breitbart News’ radio program this morning that the U.S. has no “moral obligation” to accept refugees because they do not tend to be the “poorest of the poor” in their home countries and “a significant number” will eventually “become terrorists.”
Kobach was discussing an article he wrote for Breitbart on Wednesday arguing that the “greatest benefit” of Trump’s travel ban from certain Muslim-majority countries is that it includes a suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
Breitbart’s Alex Marlow faulted the Trump White House to some extent for “poor messaging” on the refugee issue that has allowed the media that “seeks to filter and demonize so much of conservative thought and really pro-America thought in a lot of ways” to shape the issue.
Kobach insisted that when it comes to refugee resettlement and immigration in general, “the facts are on our side,” arguing that “many” refugees will turn to terrorism.
“The people who we are bringing into the United States from these impoverished countries usually aren’t the poorest of the poor,” Kobach said. “They’re actually people in the higher levels of incomes in those countries, so by bringing them to the United States, we actually reduce the chances of economic growth in that country. So this notion that we have a moral obligation to bring in refugees, many of whom will become terrorists, not the majority of course, but a significant number, as my article points out, it’s ludicrous. We’re probably doing more damage to the countries we’re trying to help and we’re certainly putting our own citizens at risk. So it is a very rational policy to tighten down the level of screening we do on people.”
In his Breitbart article, Kobach claimed he had found that “at least 30 terrorists have used refugee status (or presence in the United States based on asylum claims) to carry out their terrorist activities in the United States since the 1993 World Trade Center attack.” His count includes people who have made asylum claims—different than the refugee resettlement program—and even the Tsarnaev brothers, who were the children of asylum seekers.
In reality, as the Atlantic noted in January, citing a September 2016 Cato Institute report, “Over the last four decades, 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed to the United States have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s.”