Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for April 15th, 2008

The “McCain Program” brings in more refugees from the Vietnam war

Posted by Ann Corcoran on April 15, 2008

I know, I know, you are saying, but the War ended more than 30 years ago, are there still refugees we need to bring to America?   Doesn’t John McCain know we have normalized relations with Vietnam and although the country’s growth is slowed by its Communist government, generally the lives of people there are getting better.  

Surely those who wish to come to America can just get in line for a visa like others who are not “persecuted”.  Remember refugees receive all sorts of taxpayer funded benefits, job counseling and English lessons while normal immigrants are on their own.

Last night a reader brought the McCain Program to our attention.  

The McCain Amendment provides that certain sons or daughters of former Vietnamese re-education center detainees are to be considered refugees of special humanitarian concern and may be eligible for resettlement in the U.S. if they meet the following criteria: [go to the Consulate General website here]

Read this article at VDARE by Thomas Allen for more on the reopening of the Vietnam refugee program years after it officially closed.

Posted in 2008 Presidential campaign, Refugee Resettlement Program | 2 Comments »

A more thorough explanation of the Iraqi refugee situation

Posted by Judy K. Warner on April 15, 2008

Walter Pincus has a very informative article in the Washington Post today, on a report from Refugees International about the Iraqi refugees. Its inadequate headline is “Iraqi Militias Offering Aid to Displaced.” It begins:

The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which has provided little financial assistance to the more than 2 million Iraqis who have fled the country’s sectarian violence, has also failed to support millions more internally displaced persons who are instead being aided by militias, according to a report by Refugees International due for release today.

Our ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, says government officials are suspicious of the religious and political allegiances of the refugees. Further,

“They are suspicious of the statistics and think they are being inflated by host governments and NGOs so they can get more money from Iraq and the United States,” Crocker told Washington Post reporters and editors last week. Crocker also said Iraqi officials have questioned whether all the individuals qualify as refugees, saying that many of those who fled the country for Jordan, Syria and elsewhere “were opposed to the new order.”

The Iraqi officials are more savvy than the NGOs, that’s for sure. I hope the reason the refugee flow is slower than planned into the U.S. is that our Homeland Security officials are determining just that — which refugees fled because they supported Saddam Hussein and which ones did not (in addition to determining ties to terrorist groups).  Here are some important numbers:

The United States has provided more than $480 million to assist refugees and internally displaced Iraqis, and plans to add $280 million more this year. The Maliki government so far has granted $15 million to Syria, which has said it is home to nearly 1.5 million refugees from Iraq; $2 million to Lebanon, which has around 30,000 Iraqi refugees; and is still negotiating how to deliver $8 million to Jordan, which hosts 400,000 to 500,000 refugees, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

James Foley, the State Department’s coordinator for Iraqi refugees, said some other countries are not providing aid because they think the Iraqi government isn’t providing enough even though they have the money.

The Shiite movement of Moqtada al Sadr has stepped into the gap and has become “Iraq’s largest ‘humanitarian’ organization,” the Refugees International report says.

It said that Sadr’s group “‘resettles’ displaced Iraqis free of charge in homes that belonged to Sunnis.” It said Sunni militias “play a similar role with displaced and needy Sunnis.”

This stands to reason. Unless millions of homes were destroyed, there are bound to be a lot of empty houses left by fleeing refugees.  There has been a process of segregation going on, with neighborhoods becoming mostly Shia or mostly Sunni. It sounds like the militias are helping this along and getting refugees resettled. I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that Shia and Sunni are separating themselves out, but the militias seem to be more competent than the government at getting refugees connected with empty houses. I wonder if there is a way for them to resettle some of the people who have left and want to come back.

It is a great thing to see an article on the Iraqi refugees that goes farther than bemoaning the low numbers that the United States’ has brought in and actually provides us with excellent information.

The full report from Refugees International can be downloaded from this site.

Posted in Iraqi refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 4 Comments »

Lobbying campaign on Iraqi displaced persons underway

Posted by Ann Corcoran on April 15, 2008

This is going to have to be a quick mention of a very important issue, but no time today to do it justice.  Since the campaign was launched yesterday, I couldn’t let too much time pass before telling you about it.

Here is the appeal from Human Rights First.  The goal here is to get a so-called “grassroots” movement going to pressure Congress and the Administration to bring more Iraqi refugees.

On April 14-16, Human Rights First and more than 20 other U.S.-based NGOs – and activists like you – will travel to Washington to educate and persuade members of Congress to take the Iraqi refugee crisis seriously, and to make it a part of any future plan for Iraq and the region. The Iraq Action Days kick off with an all-day Iraq Policy Forum* featuring a keynote speech by the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, followed by advocacy training and Congressional visits. Our own Amelia Templeton will cond uct some of the advocacy training.

This is a great opportunity to broadcast a powerful message on behalf of the more than four million Iraqis who have fled their homes. That’s one out of every seven Iraqis – people who are now struggling to find food, shelter and medical care, unable or afraid to return to their homes.

* Check out the speakers at the Forum here.

And here are the NGO’s involved.

This is all part of the lobbying and PR campaign that began with the meeting of bigwigs earlier in the month, and includes the introduction of the Kennedy/Biden/McCain bill I wrote about yesterday.

All ties in to Judy’s excellent report on Laurence Jarvik’s paper on NGO’s and the role they play.

More later…….

Posted in Iraqi refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 7 Comments »

 
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