Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies Explains Why He’s Called for the Withdrawal from the 1951 Refugee Convention Treaty

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies Explains Why He’s Called for the Withdrawal from the 1951 Refugee Convention Treaty


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies Mark Krikorian to the newsmaker line to discuss his recent call for the withdrawal of the United States from the decades-old 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol as the southern border leaks more than Latin American refugees.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by our very good friend, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. Mark, welcome and thank you, thank you.

Thank you for writing your very important article at the National Review Online. Time to Withdraw from the UN Refugee Treaty. Thanks so much. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Krikorian: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Because we’re talking about a lot of loopholes in the law, and how are we going to, you know, sort of nip here and tuck there. But you got to go to the root of the problem which is that we are subject, we signed a treaty 70 years ago.

This is a lifetime ago. A UN treaty on refugees. But it was written in – the terms of it are based on post World War II and the beginning of the Cold War conditions. That’s a world that no longer exists. And yet we have signed the treaty.

We signed the sequel to it, but it doesn’t matter. We’re still subject to its terms, and we incorporated them into our law. And the main problem here is not refugees that we go and pick and resettle in the U.S. That’s a problem.

But that’s something that’s up to us. We run refugee resettlement. I know Nashville has a real issue with a lot of refugee settlements, but that’s something that we under our law and under our decision-makers do. And I think we need to change it, but we have the power to do that ourselves.

The real problem with this treaty is that it sets up asylum law as well. Which are illegal immigrants coming into the U.S., sneaking in, overstaying a visa, whatever it is, and then saying, you have to let me stay because of the terms of this refugee treaty.

And that’s what we need to fix because if we don’t, we don’t have control over our own borders. Basically, the rest of our immigration laws are irrelevant. If illegal immigrants can just hop over and say, you have to let me stay, I don’t really care what your immigration law is.

Leahy: This treaty was the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees. President Harry Truman in 1951 did not sign that because he felt it infringed on U.S. sovereignty. This is from your article.

In 1968, Lyndon Johnson reversed course and signed the protocol, and the Senate ratified it, binding the U.S. to its terms. The provisions were formally incorporated into a U.S. statute called the Refugee Act of 1980. But you say in your article, Truman was right not to sign it.

Krikorian: Truman was right because he chose not to sign it at the time – 1951 – because he viewed it as infringements or provisions of it as an infringement on U.S. sovereignty. And we resettled refugees between Truman’s decision and then LBJ’s getting us into that treaty, with Congress, passed legislation.

And we did it on our own decision. What happened in 1968 is we bound ourselves to these asylum provisions. But even then, it didn’t make that much difference because, how many people were sneaking across our borders and then saying political asylum in 1968?

It wasn’t seen as a problem – was only when the Cold War ended and transportation and communications around the world became dirt cheap, relatively speaking, and easy and quick. So now, instead of one ballerina from the Soviet Union defecting – which is what asylum is for, defections.

Now we’ve got 200,000 people a month coming across our Mexican border. Not from Mexico or Central America, but from Uzbekistan, Mauritania, Romania, and you name it. We got people coming from all over the world and saying, oh, I fear return. You have to let me stay and let me stay as a refugee.

And Europe faces the same problem. But you know, that’s their problem. They need to deal with it, too. We need to deal with our own problems. And that is not that we’re never going to give asylum to anybody, but that we need to set asylum rules based on the national interest. Based on what’s good for the United States and not based on some UN treaty.

Leahy: Mark, you reference in your outstanding article at National Review Online, a book written in 2011 by John Fonte called Sovereignty or Submission, which is about the struggle between national sovereignty and global governance. Now, I guess, was prophetic. The past 10 years have not been so great for American sovereignty.

Krikorian: No, definitely not. And this book, Sovereignty or Submission, deals with a whole bunch of things. It’s not about immigration. My point was that this issue of refugees and asylum fit into that broader push by these mainly left-leaning groups that see themselves not as citizens of their country.

Not as American groups or French or German or British organizations. And the people in them don’t think of themselves that way. They think of themselves as citizens of the world and they want there to be more and more rules that countries have to follow, whether their people like it or not.

Globalism is kind of the shorthand we use. This refugee treaty is an important part of that globalism push because the point of it is to limit more and more the control a country has and therefore the people of that country have over their own borders.

Because if there are rules set by the UN about who you can deport, who you are legally required to let stay in your country, even if you didn’t choose it, even if they came against you without your consent, then you progressively lose sovereignty over your own borders.

Leahy: I agree with your suggestion that we withdraw from the UN refugee treaty immediately. Let’s talk about the politics of this. What’s the likelihood that in the current Congress that a proposal like this would have any chance of success?

Krikorian: First of all, it’s the president, whoever the president is can withdraw us from a treaty. The way a treaty works is that the president and the people who work for him sign a treaty, negotiate and sign it, and then the Senate has to ratify it.

Okay it or not. If they do that, it becomes law of the land according to the Constitution. The president can then back out of the treaty on his own. He doesn’t need a vote for that. President Trump, for instance, and I’m pretty sure President Bush got us out of a couple of treaties because all treaties have a provision that says, if you want to get out of it, you have to send us a notice.

And then however much time, in this case, one year later, you’re then free of the treaty. Obviously, (Chuckles) President Biden is not going to be pulling us out of the treaty. So this is something that would have to wait until we had a President who was not just more in touch with his surroundings, but just generally speaking, ideologically and politically, very different.

Maybe, hypothetically, a President DeSantis might do something like that. But even then, it’s the necessary first step. But even then, just getting out of the treaty doesn’t free us from the UN provisions. We have to then change the legislation, the law, and that’s something Congress will have to do.

You’ll have to see what the makeup of Congress is at some point. It’s certainly not going to happen with a Democratic majority. It won’t happen immediately with the Republican majority potentially either, because this is one of the reasons I wrote the article.

And that is that no Republican politicians have submitted changes, proposed changes to the refugee law. So this is a discussion that I’m trying to move along. And this kind of, you’re addressing the issue on your show is one step in that direction.

Leahy: We’re talking with Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. Mark, can you stay with us because when you come back, I’m going to ask the big question about the politics and your outstanding proposal that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations Convention relating to the status of refugees. Can you stick with us through the break?

Krikorian: Sure. I’d be happy too. Thank you.

Listen to the first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “1951 Refugee Convention” by UNHCR. 
















U.S. Congressman Mark Green Explains His New Bill Addressing the Status of Migrant Children in Tennessee

U.S. Congressman Mark Green Explains His New Bill Addressing the Status of Migrant Children in Tennessee


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed U.S. (R) Rep. Mark Green, a Tennessee congressman to the newsmakers line to outline his new bill that establishes illegal migrant children’s status that are coming into Tennessee and preferential treatment of refugees in Central American countries.

Leahy: On our newsmaker line our good friend, Congressman Mark Green from Tennessee. My congressman who does a great job, by the way. Good morning, Congressman Green.

Green: Hey sir. How are you? Good to be on your show.

Leahy: Well, we’re delighted to have you on. And we want to have you in studio someday soon. You’re introducing a new bill apparently or have to address the issue of migrant children being brought to Tennessee. Tell us about that.

Green: Yes. We found out that with this incredible border crisis, the open door and open border policy that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have created, it’s resulted in a lot of children showing up at our doorsteps.

And what’s happened with the federal government and its clandestine methodologies decided they just fly these folks to Tennessee without letting Tennessee know. In fact, they asked Governor Lee and Governor Lee said no but they sent them anyway in the dead of the night.

The problem is the incentives that have been created, we have to shut the incentives down. What we’re basically saying is that the federal government has to ask the governor for permission.

The governor has to give permission. But one of the things we’re doing to make sure that the children are still taking care of we’re moving them from the control of HHS and the refugee program to Homeland Security so that it’s still an immigration issue and not some kind of refugee issue.

Making those guys be classified as migrants keeps the legal status in a way that the federal government can’t force them on Tennessee. The other issue is with this bill is we’re addressing the preferential treatment to certain countries in Central America that get automatic refugee status.

And so we’re trying to fix that as well. And then, of course, to take care of the children. We leading their ability to be housed with HHS because DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, the actual law enforcement folks don’t have the resources to house these children.

So if we leave that portion in law and then change their status, we can address the immigration issue and still take care of the children. And so that’s kind of what the bill does.

Leahy: So it’s interesting you mentioned something that was kind of a mystery to me. I never understood exactly why the Office of Refugee Resettlement was involved in moving these kids here.

Were they trying to just flaunt the law or using a loophole in the law by bringing them in under the Office of Refugee Resettlement? The issue is in the weeds but it struck me as interesting.

And I was wondering, well, how could they do that because these are illegal aliens because they are not coming in through the refugee program.

Green: So that doesn’t make sense in the law. And it’s very interesting. We approached multiple people, former immigration judges. We approached the folks here in D.C. who write the bills for us.

They’re our lawyers on our side that are Republicans and think the way we think. And no one seems to be able to agree on the status of these children and whether they could technically be refugees or not. And so we want to clarify that ambiguity by making sure that the unaccompanied children are, in fact, unaccompanied migrants.

And they can’t, therefore, be treated as a refugee because once they’re treated as a refugee, the state either has to get out of the refugee program completely, which governor chose not to do, or we don’t have to say at that point.

Leahy: Exactly. By the way, this was a very good catch on your part. I’m delighted you’ve done it because you’re kind of solving a bit of this mystery because there is an act called The Refugee Act of 1980 that governs refugees.

Green: That’s exactly correct. With Tennessee in the program, we can’t basically block refugees being resettled in Tennessee as long as the state is in the program because of the court rulings and the way the court rulings found on those original refugee laws.

So that’s why these children, I’m trying to classify them as unaccompanied migrants. And therefore, when they get into that status, it’s a law enforcement and a migration issue and not a refugee issue.

Which is essentially what they truthfully are. So that’s the dilemma we’re fixing. The bill, we’ve had it vetted by tons of different people. And I will tell you, Michael, the people in Tennessee who are smart on this came to us.

We shared the bill. They are the ones who provided the idea on this. This is constituents informing their congressman and educating me on some of the nuances of this that resulted in a much better bill.

Leahy: Well, what’s going to happen with this bill when you introduce it?

Green: What we’ve got to do is find four or five Democrats who are willing to buck Pelosi, which in this day and age is hard to find. It makes it hard for us to get anything done.

Leahy: Do we need to give you Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s phone number? Do you think she’ll be one of the four or five? That’s a joke. (Laughs)

Green: I don’t want that on my phone.

Leahy: (Laughs) That’s a bad joke on my part.

Green: (Chuckles) She’s the wrong one to go to. But there are a couple out there that are trying to save their seat and what’s going to happen in the next cycle.

Leahy: Will it be a Democratic member of Congress from a border state?

Green: There are a couple, actually, that are pushing for Kamala Harris to come down there. So we might be able to get those guys to say, hey, yeah, Let’s do it.

Leahy: But it could also be somebody from a state like, I don’t know Tennessee. Do you think Jim Cooper is going to jump in and say, oh yeah, we don’t want these illegal aliens shipped in here in the dark of night? Or Steve Cohen, you’re good friends?

Green: It’s hard to read where Jim is going to be on this one because of just the dynamics of what’s happening to his district. It’ll be a little bit hard to predict where Jim will be. We could sit down and talk with him about it. I would have to do that.

Leahy: I would like to be a fly on the wall when you have that conversation with Jim Cooper.

Green: Yeah, we’ve had several. (Laughter)

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.












Mayor Andy Ogles: ‘Tennessee Has Become a Magnet State for Illegals’

Mayor Andy Ogles: ‘Tennessee Has Become a Magnet State for Illegals’


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss the influx of illegal immigration and refugees and how they receive benefits before American veterans.

(Border Patrol Agent Art Del Cueto clip plays)

Leahy: That is Art Del Cueto who works on the border there and is saying something obvious. The fact that people think, oh, it’s just on the border, they’re just having problems in the border state. And Texas to Mexico, Arizona, California not true. Those problems are coming every day to Tennessee, Andy Ogles, mayor of Maury County.

Ogles: I think the problem is that, yes, they’re coming through the southern border but then where do they go from there?

Nashville is a Mecca for illegals coming into the country, and policies that have been in place here in Tennessee are not being enforced and it has made us a magnet state for illegals.

And that’s a problem as we go forward and the notion that you can just call for hearings is preposterous. So you have a Democratically controlled Senate, you have a Democratically controlled U.S. House.

So what’s the purpose aside from just bringing hot cocoa and marshmallows, because that’s all you’re gonna get.

Leahy: And generating some video clips that mean nothing. On June 10, Governor Bill Lee and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds joined with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, in calling for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding the crisis of the southern border and an ensuing flow of accompanied minors to states all around the country.

This is from a press release from Governor Lee on June 10. Well, let me just begin. Senator Chuck Grassley, he’s not the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He’s the ranking minority member because Democrats control the Senate.

They’ve got 50 Republican senators and 50 Democrat. And because of the legal but not legitimate November 2020 election, Kamala Harris, who’s not into the border yet, is the deciding vote.

That’s why we’ve got a Democrat majority in the Senate. Is there anything more useless, Andy, than begging the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on all the bad things happening at the border?

Ogles: Again, it’s a do-nothing attempt for a future campaign talking point. It really amounts to nothing. You’re not going to get anything out of this Congress. Now, that being said in 2022, I think we’re going to have a wave election.

I think it’s going to be similar to Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, where we just swept everything. I think you can see that happening and building as you have more data coming out of Arizona and Georgia elections where you have more and more illegals and refugees coming across the border, that people are fed up, they’re frustrated and they want their country back.

And then on top of that, you have critical race theory where you have now it’s in our universities, it’s in our schools. There is no poll that can be accurate going into 2022, because when you have a group like Mom’s for Liberty out of Williamson County.

A county that is affluent. And when you have affluence you have complacency that tends to set in. And you’ve got a Monday or Tuesday where you suddenly have 500 moms who haven’t been involved in politics for a very long time if they ever were.

And they are mad and they’re mad at their legislature. They’re mad at their governor, and they want this crap out of the schools. And again, it’s critical race theory, it’s immigration, and it’s the election.

There are all of these things that are stacking on top of one another. And so when you have leadership, not taking action, not truly leading, that’s what’s manifesting itself across the country.

And even here in Tennessee. And so to your point, under the governor, during the Trump administration, at a time when there were fewer refugees coming into this country, The Tennessee Star did an article talking about refugee resettlement went up. 46 percent in the state of Tennessee. So we’re now a magnet for these refugees.

Leahy: And one of the reasons is because Governor Bill Lee when he was given the opportunity to say no by President Trump. And the Tennessee General Assembly had said they filed the lawsuit back in 2015, saying we don’t want refugees resettled here because you plop them down here, and then we got to pay for their health care, their education, et cetera.

We don’t have the budget. It’s a violation of the Tenth Amendment. Neither Governor Haslam nor Governor Lee would back that lawsuit. It was thrown out of the federal district court for lack of standing because a governor wouldn’t join him.

Ogles: And what’s frustrating as a county mayor and we’ve talked about this before. We have veteran service offices in most counties across the state of Tennessee. And so you have people who come here as refugees, illegals, or whatever their status may be, and they’re immediately getting services from the state of Tennessee.

Meanwhile, I’ve got veterans who have served this country where we’ve made promises to them to take care of them, and they can’t get services. I have a disproportionate number of my veterans who have mental issues. They can’t get treatment.

Leahy: American citizens.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Who served their country in the military and who can’t get medical treatment. And yet non-citizens, illegal aliens are given everything.

Ogles: Everything.

Leahy: Everything. And Governor Bill Lee is there cheering that on.

Ogles: Not only that but wave the flag. He’s out there with the little orange flashlight helping the planes come on in.

Leahy: Come on in! Come on in!

Ogles: But to the point of the plane, because we become so friendly to this policy and again, we’re choosing illegals and refugees over our veterans that we now find out that you have planes landing in the middle of the night in Chattanooga and Knoxville, and God knows where else in the state of Tennessee because we’re now a pass-through for this federal program.

And I’m sick of it. And this is one of those issues where you talked about, how me being this nice Southern gentleman or whatever. And just kind of being even-keeled. This really ticks me off!

Leahy: Well, see, now, this is interesting. The nice Southern gentleman is ticked off by something, (Ogles chuckles) but for good reason. I think.

Ogles: Absolutely. It’s infuriating that we have our veterans who have served this country. I can’t get them services. I have employees every day fighting for our veterans. Meanwhile, if you come here illegally, if you ‘can get refugee status’, we give you food and we give you housing, and we give you health care, and we give you all this stuff, hey you want a phone while you’re at it? But then I’ve got veterans who aren’t getting the services that they truly need.

Leahy: Now, the other thing about this is and perhaps this is Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit and constitutional law professor in the University of Tennessee, has said often we have the worst political class in American history.

And I have to agree with him on that. When I say the political class, I mean, the decision-makers who basically are in the business of creating press releases and doing nothing except getting reelected.

Why do we not have strong, courageous leadership in this state that will stand up to the usurpers of states’ rights in the federal government? Why is that? How did we come to that mess?

Ogles: I will say that we actually do have strong leadership who’s willing to take those stands. It just happens to be the Governor of Florida.

Leahy: (Laughs) Now, that’s funny. That is funny.

Ogles: What would Ron DeSantis do? I mean, that’s the question. If you’re a governor of a red state and at the end of the day, when you wake up in the morning, you should ask yourself, what would Ron DeSantis do today? And if you’re not doing that, you’re not doing your dang job.

Leahy: That’s a really good line. I saw wasn’t there was kind of a Faith and Freedom convention recently with Ralph Reid and his group. And they do these straw polls, right? And there was a straw poll.

They apparently had governor for 2024 Republican candidate with Governor DeSantis was slightly ahead of former President Trump in that. I thought that was interesting.

Ogles: DeSantis has come out repeatedly and said he’s not running in ’24 against Trump and that he’s focused on his re-election in 2022.

Leahy: Which is the right thing to say. But really, look, if you want to look at the survival of our constitutional Republic, the most important period of time actually is not 2024. It’s the next 18 months.

What happens between now and the midterm elections and do we fix the election integrity problems and do governors’ step up and push back against the violation of immigration laws?

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.