Mr. Bacon, this makes no sense!

We’ve written before about Refugee International’s head honcho, Ken Bacon.  Yesterday, Mr. Bacon breathlessly reported on his blog World:Bridge: 

I spent the afternoon with a whirlwind working to protect Iraqi refugees in Egypt.

He is talking about his afternoon in a Cairo apartment huddled with assorted activists (see the list here) on the Iraqi Refugee Crisis

All have been inspired and educated by Barbara Harrell-Bond. All are passionate in their commitment.

 Among the group are two Iraqi refugees. 

But for two in the group, the passion is turning into fear and frustration. The two Iraqi refugees–both highly fluent in English, both former workers for the U.S. cause in Iraq—have begun the long process of trying to resettle in the U.S. They are running out of money; one already had to send his wife and child back to Baghdad.

This doesn’t make sense!  If it is so dangerous to stay in Iraq for anyone who ever worked for us or their families how is it that any decent man would send his wife and child there.   Think of the men in your life, would they ever in a million years do such a thing—send their family into danger while they lolled around garden apartments in Cairo with a bunch of political activists and film makers?

Food Stamp fraud cropping up everywhere

As I mentioned in my previous posts on Food Stamp fraud, this doesn’t have anything to do with refugees.  Although refugee food stamp useage is increasing and more than half of all refugees use food stamps, we hope they are all using taxpayers’ funds to feed themselves and their families.    I suspect they may, however, be susceptible to the temptation of turning food stamps into cash via the increasing number of small convenience stores like the one we have in Hagerstown, MD that was recently raided by Federal agents and where local police arrested the owner for suspicion of selling drug parapharnalia.

Thanks to Janet Levy we learned that there has been another Food Stamp scam bust in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Three men connected with Twins Market and Meats in St. Paul have been ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution for fraudulently redeeming food stamps.

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Store owner Anwar Sarama, 32, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and store manager Soud Salem, 46, of Farmington, was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

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Both men were ordered to pay a total of $757,320.66 in restitution.

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Store employee Amjud Musleh, 28, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $402,302.91 in restitution.

We followed up and obtained a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota and it reported that under the previous owners of the store the average monthly food stamp redemptions ran around $9,000 a month.  Under the new owners sentenced above,  Anwar Sarama, Soud Salem, and Amjud Musleh,  the redemptions gradually increased until they reached $100,000 a month.   That’s a lot of bread and milk!

St. Paul Police Dept. Commander Dave Korus said, “Joint operations such as these work to not only bring people to justice for criminal acts, but also bring peace back to the neighborhood.   This store was a seat for criminal activity….”      

Bottomline,  if you have a convenience store in your neighborhood getting some heavy traffic, keep an eye on it and report anything suspicious to authorities.

We are going to follow-up with this and attempt to learn the immigration status of those sentenced.

Where to find information category: Negative Population Growth

We have a category that we often neglect, but we are trying now to beef it up some with links to information you might need about refugees or immigration generally.  Actually it’s also a way for those of us with old brains to keep track of information that we might normally lose in the sticky note desktop jungle.

The other day I heard a local radio advertisement for an organization called Negative Population Growth; check them out here.    Some of our readers have wondered where the environmental organizations are on immigration and we have reported that the major groups are silent.  This appears to be an organization that is concerned with preserving the quality of life for Americans as uncontrolled immigration puts pressure on our resources.

Vanishing American blog says we are excellent!

Wow!   We are very honored to have been chosen by the Vanishing American to receive this blog award!   Thanks so much, all of you go over to Vanishing American and check this out and while you are there spend some time reading about the other winners. Vanishing American we think you are excellent too (see our blogroll)!

Here is my list of choices for the Excellent Blog Award.
It’s always hard to choose recipients for one of these awards; there are so many great bloggers out there, and I know I have missed some that deserve it. However, at the same time, I don’t want to overrate the importance of my opinion but I trust many of you share my high opinion of these bloggers.

Am hoping this inspires you all to go out and start a blog!