How has Delaware dodged the refugee bullet for decades? Answer: Joe Biden

There is a short news item at Delaware Public Media about how a Jewish refugee agency in Delaware is waiting for seven families (likely Muslim families based on their country of origin) they hope they will soon be settling in Delaware—the First State.  So I thought I might revisit a topic I haven’t discussed for a long time and that is the origin of the Refugee Act of 1980.

Senators Biden and Kennedy are responsible for the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program. See list below of other Senators deeply involved in 1979.

But, first here is a portion of the short piece at Delaware Public Media:

The state of Hawaii’s stay on Trump’s second travel ban suspends the FY17 cap for refugees – currently set at 50,000.

That opens the door for refugee families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Eastern African country of Eritrea in line to come to the First State, but none of them have travel plans in place yet.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware Refugee Resettlement Coordinator Sarah Green says that currently, the families are stuck in Jordan and Ethiopia.

“It’s hard to know what’s happening,” Green said. “We just have to wait and see. We get a very limited view of what’s happening over there.”

She says her agency is taking the approach that these families could arrive any day – and working to ensure they’ll be comfortable when they reach Delaware.


There’s reason to expect they could arrive soon. According to the U.S. State Department, 900 flights for refugees to the U.S. are being scheduled every week.

As of this morning, 831 new refugees arrived in the US in the past week (5/5-5/12) according to Wrapsnet. And, that puts us at 44,072 this fiscal year.

At this rate the Trump Administration will hit 50,000 in about 7 – 8 weeks. Will they stop at 50,000 which should happen around the first week of July? That is the question!

Delaware, in some ways, is more interesting to me than some of the other very low refugee admission states (LOL! including Hawaii).  See chart below.

And that is because then Senator Joe Biden was one of the chief sponsors of the Senate-generated Refugee Act of 1979 (S.643) which became the Refugee Act of 1980 when Jimmy Carter signed it in to law the following year.  You can learn more about it here.  Pay special attention to the part about how states were NOT to be burdened with welfare costs of refugees.

Here are the co-sponsors of S.643 another of Senator Ted Kennedy’s swamp-America-with-immigrants bills:

So how is it that Delaware is in the bottom ten locations for refugee seeding when then Senator and now former Vice President Joe Biden is that state’s most prominent political figure?  Did he welcome refugees to America in 1979, but keep them from swamping Delaware with diversity for decades?

Wrapsnet data only goes back to FY2003, but that gives us enough years to see a pattern. (For researchers more diligent than I am, you can go back through all the previous annual reports and put the data together from the very beginning, but I expect the pattern is similar in the early years.)

So from FY03 through today (in FY17) we admitted 886,324 refugees to America (not including asylum seekers) and Delaware got a whopping 139 of them!

In the years Joe Biden was Vice President, Delaware got only 50 refugees.

Here are the last ten locations for refugee placement from FY03 to the present. What the heck is “Unknown State?” Does that mean 68 refugees were placed secretly somewhere? Yikes!

If Delaware Public Media really wanted to do some important work, reporters there should try to find out exactly why and how Delaware dodged a bullet for so many years when their claim to fame, Veep Joe Biden, sponsored the original law and then apparently kept diversity-seeding from the state! (It is not because of the state’s small size since Rhode Island got thousands more than Delaware).

For new readers, this post is filed in mywhere to find information’ category and in ‘Refugee statistics.’

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