Refugee Resettlement Watch

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    Ann Corcoran
    P.O. Box 55
    Fairplay, MD 21733

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The Fix is in, Hagerstown Herald Mail does free publicity campaign for VCC

Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 14, 2007

The Herald Mail of Hagerstown, MD is a liberal newspaper (like The New York Times) and uses its position as the only newspaper in town to promote its own political world view.   It does not present all the news so that citizens can weigh the issues and come to their own conclusions.  That became evident again this week on the issue of Refugee Resettlement for Washington County.  The paper has now stepped up its politically-correct drumbeat in support of  the Virginia Council of Church’s (VCC) plan to bring more refugees to our community.   The ‘puff piece’ published yesterday is just the most recent example of tugging at peoples’ heartstrings and using guilt to shut people up.  It is disgusting! 

Read the whole front page story here and note how VCC has crassly staged a media event by taking some Burmese refugees to a local home for senior citizens to sing hymns and cook a meal the week before the public meeting to bring the facts to the public.  But, it’s not just any senior citizens home, it’s one scheduled to be shut down for lack of funds and one many critics of Refugee Resettlement have pointed to when they have complained that we don’t have the resources to take care of our own poor and elderly and then we import more poverty.

The entire Refugee Resettlement is funded by you, the taxpayer.  You have every right to know exactly how your money is used.   In addition, immigration (legal and illegal) is rapidly changing America and it is your right and duty to participate in the debate that will change us all forever, for better or for worse.   The Herald-Mail has purposely kept the facts from you so that they can control the debate.

As a matter of fact, I credit the Herald-Mail with helping give birth to Refugee Resettlement Watch.   I was not particularly concerned with the Virginia Council of Church’s screw-ups.  And, I am sure many of the refugees are fine people.   My driving force is my interest in good government.  I hate it when government teams up with anyone—developer, preservationist, church group— on the taxpayer’s dime, all the while keeping residents in the dark.  It is patronizing and elitist.

I would not have embarked on this if the Herald-Mail had done its job in the first place and researched this issue so citizens knew how refugees came to be in Hagerstown.   But, obviously the Herald Mail editors must have assumed their position in support of more refugees would not have stood up to public scrutiny if the facts were known.   Since they can’t win in the arena of ideas, leftwing publications, like the Herald Mail,  turn to their weapon of choice—manipulation.

Ironically, the  reporter who wrote the puff piece above, is the same reporter I sent many questions* to back in May.  The reporter said he would ask his editor, but the answer came back loud and clear—they weren’t interested in finding facts.  Another editor, Bob Maginnis, told me there was nothing to look into.   So, now I’m looking into it myself!

If you are sick and tired of the news being slanted by the media monopoly (the elitists) in your town or city, start a blog of your own.  It’s power to the people!

*  If you want to read further, below are the questions I asked last May.  They seem naive now!

Hi Andy,

Here are questions that I believe need to be answered….  I think people in a community are always better off knowing all the facts.  When all the facts are gathered then a political solution can be found.   And, of course that’s why we have a newspaper!   

Here are some (maybe more than you were looking for!) questions:

1)  Under what authority can a private religious group choose to bring refugees into a community?  Why Hagerstown?

2)  Are assessments done of the community and its ability to absorb more people who will, at least initially, live below the poverty line?   Do we know how many people in Wash. Co. live below the poverty line?  How many in Hagerstown?

3) Is there any accounting done of the cost to the community?   For instance, is there high demand now for low income apartments in the Hagerstown area?  Will more immigrants push up the cost of housing for all low income people in the county?

4)  Are elected officials consulted before and during the process?  Is there any legal authority that requires such consultation?    Was there any outreach to Commissioners and City Council prior to the establishment of Virginia Council of Churches program here?

5)  Who pays for the immigrants housing, food, medical until they are fully established? 

6) Is there a saturation point determined, or can this program just go on indefinitely?  Who determines saturation point?

7)  Since these refugees will have low skilled work, is health insurance available to them, or must they depend on public health care?   Is there any accounting of how many in the first group are now covered by medical insurance?  What has been the response of public health services?

8)  Are schools in Washington County overcrowded?  Maybe the initial 200 refugees have not put a burden on the schools, does anyone know?   Will the next 200 put a burden or the 200 after that?

9)  Have there been any crimes committed or use of police services during the first wave of immigrants?

10)  How well has the original group of refugees learned English?  Did all adults attend ESL classes regularly enough to learn?

11)  What programs are in place to encourage other assimilation to living in America?

12)  Who were the volunteer groups and churches in Washington County that helped support the first wave?  Are they still helping with the newcomers?  What sort of support did they give to the immigrants?   Are there such people lined up to help with the next wave?

13)  Are there regular meetings in Washington County to assess the problems/progress of the first group?

Do elected officials attend?  Does the public attend?

14) Is it a normal practice for a group such as Virginia Council of Churches to go to elected officials and ask for funds ($15,000 in this case)?  

15) Why did VCoC leave Carroll County?  Why are they not locating these people in Virginia?  Have those cities in Virginia been saturated?

16)  Does VCoC get government funds for its overhead?  If so, how much? 

Thanks for your interest.  If the Herald Mail editors do decide to put some time into investigating this, let me know and I can steer you to some agency contacts I’ve found.   Ann Corcoran

6 Responses to “The Fix is in, Hagerstown Herald Mail does free publicity campaign for VCC”

  1. […] us that we were all immigrants once.   The sort of questions I wanted answered are listed in this post.  These questions were ones I wanted our local paper, the Herald Mail, to answer for the public.  […]

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  2. […] have any say in the matter, who would employ the refugees, what services would they receive etc.  Here is a post I wrote in September 2007 in which I tell readers the questions I asked the Herald Mail to research […]

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  3. […] rumors abound.  And, frankly it is to the program’s detriment.  From the very beginning in Hagerstown, MD I’ve contended that informing the public is critically important.   If the program is a good […]

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  4. […] VCC and our local paper acted you would think I wanted to know about some important state secret.  Here is what I said at the […]

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  5. […] to the citizens of Washington County, MD there wouldn’t be a Refugee Resettlement Watch.  Here is what I wrote on September 14th, […]

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  6. […] call the newspaper and the county commissioners in numbers greater than just about any other issue, no public discussion had […]

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