Nativism Watch

Rosemary Jenks: Refugee programs a vehicle for ISIS

Imagine2050 Staff • Feb 26, 2015
Rosemary Jenks, Director of Government Relations at NumbersUSA
Rosemary Jenks, Director of Government Relations at NumbersUSA

After a federal judge stalled President Obama’s executive action on immigration, it was no surprise that Frank Gaffney hosted Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at NumbersUSA, on his radio show last week to discuss the recent ruling. But the show took an anti-Muslim conspiratorial turn when Jenks built on Gaffney’s fear mongering and attacked U.S. refugee resettlement programs.

Gaffney, a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, regularly features anti-immigrant figures like Jenks on his program Secure Freedom Radio to hear about their latest efforts to intimidate, harass, and disenfranchise immigrant and Muslim communities. NumbersUSA is a member of the anti-immigrant Beltway Big Three and the largest grassroots organizing network for the anti-immigrant movement in this country.

During the show, Gaffney brought up U.S. refugee resettlement programs and referred to them as “a vehicle” for the “legal” importation of “large numbers of people who may actually be very problematic, particularly from a national security point of view.”

Fittingly, Jenks, whose group uses concern about immigration numbers to mask its nativist agenda, was no fan of these programs.

“The refugee system has essentially become an industry of its own,” she said, arguing that this system is run by taxpayer-funded groups who are “supposedly charitable organizations.”

Jenks contended that “large numbers” of refugees who “can’t speak English” and have “no job skills” are dropped into towns, provided with housing, and then abandoned by the resettlement organizations.

“They go on welfare immediately,” she lamented. “They are entitled to every welfare program the United States offers on day one.”

Jenks also took issue with U.S. plans to accept potentially thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom are surviving in very harsh conditions. Rather than show empathy for the refugees’ plight, Jenks told Gaffney that extremist groups like ISIS have “infiltrated” refugee camps and plan to use refugee programs to gain entry to the U.S.

“We know that they are placing terrorists into the refugee camps and we don’t have the means to vet them,” she said.

However, leading refugee advocates and officials have assured the public that strict vetting processes are in place. According to news reports, the U.S. has only admitted approximately 500 Syrian refugees thus far, while countries like Jordan, Germany, and Sweden have taken in thousands.

Gaffney used Jenks’ remarks as an opportunity to air his outlandish suspicions about refugee programs. He claimed such programs have “relinquished our sovereignty to the United Nations,” which he says, “is largely driven these days by something called the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.” He argued that this is all part of a greater Muslim plot to “colonize non-Muslim lands like ours” and plant individuals to wage both “pre-violent” and “violent” jihad.

It looks like this radio show was just one more example of how Gaffney and Jenks play on Americans’ basest fears to promote their xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim vision of the future of the United States.

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