Obama Agrees to Resettle 70,000 Muslim Refugees – Fiction!
Obama Issues Social Security Numbers to 5 Million Illegal Aliens – Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
President Obama has agreed to resettle 70,000 Muslim refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
President Obama has awarded Social Security numbers to 5 million illegal aliens.
Both of these claims are false.
The first claim, that President Obama had “silently agreed” to resettle 70,000 Muslim refugees, first appeared in forwarded emails in December of 2014. Another version of the eRumor claimed that Obama had agreed to resettle 70,000 refugees from Syria alone.
Those claims appear to stem from a misinterpretation of a United Nations Resettlement Program handbook that was issued in November of 2014. The handbook states that the U.S. planned to resettle 70,000 total refugees from 2014 to 2015 — but the vast majority of them were not from predominately Muslim countries.
According to the handbook, about 33,000 of the refugees were expected to come from countries in Southeast Asia like Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippians. About 17,000 refugees were expected to come from Africa, and about 13,000 were expected to come from countries in East Asia like China, Japan and the Koreas.
And President Obama also can’t “silently agree” to resettle refugees, as the eRumor claims. Congress must approve resettlements under the Immigration and Nationality Act. President Obama delivered a report to Congress on his proposed resettlements for fiscal year 2015 in September of 2014. The report describes recent and future resettlement plans for Syrian refugees:
“While the vast majority of Syrians would prefer to return home when the conflict ends, we recognize that some remain extremely vulnerable in their country of asylum and would benefit from resettlement. UNHCR has announced that it aims to refer 30,000 Syrian refugees to all resettlement countries by the end of calendar year 2014. Those numbers will likely rise in 2015 and 2016. The United States has received more than 2,500 referrals as of August 2014 and expects thousands more in the remainder of the year. We will begin to welcome those Syrians who are approved for U.S. resettlement to communities across the country in larger numbers in 2015.”
So, while America does resettle a number of refugees from countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Iran each year, the claim that 70,000 Muslim refugees would be resettled in 2015 is false.
The eRumor’s second claim, that President Obama had issued social security numbers to 5 million illegal aliens, is also false.
In November of 2014, President Obama announced that he would take executive action to offer temporary legal status to 5 million illegal aliens. Under the temporary legal status, aliens would receive work permits — but not Social Security numbers, as the eRumor claims. The Washington Post reports that Obama said aliens who come forward, register and submit to background checks would be granted three-year work permits:
“I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not,” Obama said. “Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.”
Obama also called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his remarks.