station by posting the schedule of departuresnand the destination of thentrain, what the INS calls getting thenmessage “back to the villages.” Fromnthe perspective of the Soviet village,nthe deal being offered resembles annall-expenses-paid vacation to Disneyland.nImmigration, even with thenfreebies, is no picnic, and anyone whondoes not think beyond the “good life”nand 24-hour cable TV is bound forndisappointment. Indeed, the prime victimnof our policy may be individualsnlike one of my Soviet friends. He isnalone, has no skills, does not speaknEnglish, and is planning to immigratenunder the nominal sponsorship of angovernment-funded organization setnup to support refugees. If his case isntypical, the sponsoring organizationnwill first hear of his existence a week ornso before his arrival. His actual guarantornin the United States is the localnHealth and Human Services Department,nan organization abysmally illequippednto integrate him into Americannlife.nCongress, in consultation with thenadministration, allocates refugee quotasnon “humanitarian grounds” pursuantnto the definition of a refugee.nGiven the fairly inelastic nature of thensupply of refugee slots, it is a real coupn”” when an entire group receives automaticncoverage, which is what Congressnprovided with Morrison-Lautenberg.nAccording to the UNHCR,nalmost no one emigrahng from thenSoviet Union today would fit its definitionnof a refugee. I participated in an1983 National Opinion ResearchnCenter/University of Illinois survey ofnmostly Jewish Soviet immigrants. Ofntwenty or so randomly selected peoplenthat I interviewed not one listed religiousnor political persecution as thenreason for their decision to leave thenSoviet Union. Most of my Sovietnfriends, many of whom arrived in thenlast three years, agree — in private —nthat, for the majority of Soviets, persecutionnplays little or no role in theirndecision to leave.nA State Department official in Moscowntold me about the wave of dubiousnconversions among Christiannevangelicals, who have never been freernto practice their faith at home.n”Evangelical” is a catchall term fornvarious Protestant groups comprisingnBaptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Ad-nventists, and others. Past repression ofnreligion in the Soviet Union was equallynferocious against all who wouldnpractice their faith. The severity of thenrepression varied directly with the enthusiasmnshown by the believer in thenpractice of his faith. It has been observednthat- many evangelicals arenopting to stay home where their work isnmost needed. For the overwhelmingnmajority of Soviet emigres, religion isnof no importance whatever.nAnti-Semitism remains a problem innthe Soviet Union as it does throughoutnEastern Europe and parts of WesternnEurope. Jewish friends of mine whonemigrated from Soviet Central Asianreport experiencing no anti-Semitismnat home, while those in large cities innthe Russian republic are experiencingnincreased hostility in some circles.nHowever, based on acts of ethnic violencenand persecution, many non-nJewish groups in the Soviet Unionncould make a better case for blanketncoverage as a persecuted minority. Innthe end, part of the resentment againstnJews is explained by the fact that, withna few exceptions, only Jews have beennallowed to leave the Soviet Union andnsettle in other countries. Any Sovietncitizen with relatives in the West becomesna source for scarce goods fromnthe West — another explanation fornjealousy and envy.nVarious programs have been putnforward to privatize Soviet immigration.nAs opposed to steadily raising thenrefugee ceiling, the Reagan administrationnhad begun to use its authoritynunder the Public Interest Parole programnto process some of the overflownfrom the refugee program. Like thenDisplaced Persons Act followingnWorld War II or the parole programnused after the Hungarian Revolution, anprivate sponsor vouches for all costs,nincluding medical, which the paroleenmight incur. The parolee also signsnaffidavits to the effect that he understandsnhe is legally enjoined from receivingngovernment assistance. He isnfree to work, and, in time, may applynfor citizenship under the same constraintsnas any holder of a work visa.nSelf-regulating by its nature, programsnsuch as these may be the only way tonabsorb those who can be absorbed.nThousands of American homes werenopened for this purpose to refugeesnfleeing World War II and the Hungari­nnnan Revolution. Resettlement programsnbased on private sponsorship providenan organic link to an established communitynand hasten integration into thenculture, language, and economy. Theynimpart a strong impetus toward selfsufficiencynby placing the costs on thensponsor and the immigrant. Processingnimmigrants as refugees essentiallyntransfers the costs of resettlement fromnthe sponsor and the immigrant to thentaxpayer.nThe Public Interest Parole program,nhowever, was an Executive-branch toolnused to affect policy in an area that isnthe responsibility of Congress. Morenimportantly, it placed an increased financialnburden on the Jewish community.nPrivate sponsorship programs ofnany sort (whether linked to Morrison-nLautenberg criteria or not) have beennopposed by mainline Jewish lobbiesnbecause of fear that, along with non-nJews, the number of Jews emigratingnmay increase and at a higher cost tonboot. “We’re afraid they’ll all wind upnon our doorstep” one lobbyist told me.n(Israel’s adamant opposition to anynincrease in Jewish emigration to thenUnited States fits nicely with the Jewishnlobby’s defense of the status quonwhen it comes to refugee policy.)nNot only is the parole program nowneffectively dead because of lack ofnfinancial support, but those Soviet paroleesnwho were accepted in earliernyears have been allowed, under Morrison-Lautenberg,nto requalify as refugeesnafter settling in the United States.nYet, under current law, even if all costsnare guaranteed by a sponsor, there isnno way a private American citizen orncharity can sponsor a Soviet immigrantnwho is outside the group covered bynMorrison-Lautenberg.nAt issue is not whether the UnitednStates should be spending money onnhumanitarian aid. At issue is whether andollar spent in a Kurdish refugee campnhas a better chance of furthering humanitariannends than a dollar spentnhelping someone move to New Yorknwith an entire living room set and withnplans to return for visits at the familyndacha outside Moscow.nAt best Congress has set the stagenfor special interest group infighting fornprivileged admission status. At worst,nrefugee policy is a taxpayer-fundednpolitical tool that suggests to foreignersnthat passage to America is yet anothernFEBRUARY 1992/43n