Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for October 21st, 2009

Breaking News! Massachusetts terror bust

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 21, 2009

How is that for timing—just completed posting on Amherst’s petition to bring Muslim Gitmo prisoners to western Massachusetts while over near Boston the FBI was arresting the leader of a suspected Muslim terror plot.   Here is the bare bones story (check out the photo of the guy’s house, he’s a rich terrorist).  More later, but I have to go out.

A man from Sudbury was arrested Wednesday on federal terrorism-related charges for allegedly planning attacks inside and outside the United States – including a plot to attack people at a mall.

27-year-old Tarek Mehanna of Fairhaven Circle is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

Investigators say Mehanna conspired with others over a seven-year period between 2001 and 2008 plotting to “kill, kidnap, maim or injure” people in foreign countries and to kill prominent U.S. politicians.

I wonder which politicians he wanted to kill????

Posted in Crimes, diversity's dark side | Comments Off on Breaking News! Massachusetts terror bust

Only in Massachusetts, Amherst petition would bring two Gitmo detainees to town

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 21, 2009

The New England state, home to the Kennedys,  isn’t referred to as the “Peoples Republic of Massachusetts” for nothing.   The Boston Globe is reporting this morning that the town of Amherst will consider officially inviting two Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who fear persecution in their home countries, to live as refugees in their town.  Hat tip:  Mars.

AMHERST – This quaint leafy town in Western Massachusetts is known for its diverse mix of college students and retirees, a former farming community characterized by suburban small talk just as much as cultural institutions. But it is never one to shy from foreign policy, either.

“We like to set our own foreign policy,’’ said Ruth Hooke, a retired University of Massachusetts professor, a Town Meeting member, and participant in Pioneer Valley No More Guantanamos, a local chapter of a national movement calling for the release of detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

Hooke and others want to welcome at least two of the detainees to Amherst, population around 30,000 depending on whether classes are in session.

Under a petition Hooke submitted to the town’s Select Board – approved by a 2-1 vote Monday night – the town will call on Congress to rescind its ban on detainees resettling in the United States, and will welcome Ahmed Belbacha, originally from Algeria, and Ravil Mingazov, arrested in Pakistan, to Amherst. The measure will go before a Special Town Meeting on Nov. 2.

Only natural that they would go to Amherst!  And, what is this “open borders” business?

Hooke noted that Amherst has a sizable refugee population. And thus it was only natural that this town, home to UMass and two private colleges, would open its borders once again, possibly making its local government the first in the country to debate the issue.

They want Belbacha and Mingazov:

In Belbacha’s case, according to human rights groups, the Algerian-born man fled death threats in his country to London. While awaiting asylum, he vacationed in Pakistan [ROFLMHO], only to be sold for a capture bounty to the US military. His asylum in London was never granted.

Mingazov, a former Russian soldier who converted to Islam, had moved to Afghanistan to escape persecution. After the US invasion in 2001, he fled to a refugee camp in Pakistan and was arrested in March 2002 on charges of having ties to Al Qaeda.

Will the town also foot their bill for resettlement, or will the federal taxpayer be on the hook for that?

Back to the open borders remark.  Is Ms. Hooke going to assure that with the borders wide open they stay in Amherst and plan no more “vacations” in Pakistan or moves to Afghanistan?

Funny!  Just as I posted this the FBI arrested a Massachusetts terrorist suspect!

Posted in Asylum seekers, Crimes, Refugee Resettlement Program | 2 Comments »

Rochester, MN: Refugees see first snow

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 21, 2009

The timing of this story is perfect in light of Mr. Ralph Parker’s comment about why we don’t tell the good stories about refugees.  I had this article in my queue two days ago, but a reader sent it this morning and that reminded me to post it.   We have often joked on these pages about how the mainstream media writes a template story I have often called ‘refugees see first snow’ stories.   This one is literally one of those stories.

This is the general outline: refugees arrive in some frigid city from some southern clime; they are trying to adjust; there are many column inches devoted to telling about their horrible former lives, but then they see their first snow and they marvel at it.  Then everything is going to be just wonderful in America thanks to the good people in the resettlement business.

From the Twin Cities Daily Planet, a column by Doug McGill, begins:

Since Feras Alkaisi, his wife Sulaf, and their two young children moved here four months ago, they’ve experienced a lot of firsts – backyard barbecues, a casino (Treasure Island), carnival rides (at the Mall of America), watching football on TV, and last week, falling snow.

“I saw snow once before but it was on the ground and just a little bit,” Feras recalls. “I never saw snow falling through the air until last week.” He paused for a moment to take in the new memory, then a question occurred.

“Is it often cold in Minnesota ?”

Incidentally, there is mention in this article that the family was originally told they were going to Boston, but were, at the last minute, switched to Rochester, MN.  That’s because Boston is overloaded with refugees and the IRC resettlement office was closed there.

Back to my story, Rochester, MN is a “welcoming” city and many more refugees will be coming soon:

The 16 new Iraqi families in Rochester comprise 77 people, with another 100 or so Iraqi refugees planning to resettle in Rochester in the coming year, according to Catholic Charities, the local non-profit that handles refugee resettlement. Some 32,655 Iraqis have resettled in the U.S. in the past two years.

After many column inches devoted to telling the former tragic lives of the family comes this wrap-up:

Sipping Sulaf’s strong black coffee, his two children tucked into bed by 8 p.m., Feras relaxes on his living room sofa. He asks me to be sure that in this story he can publicly thank the local Catholic Charities office for resettling his family.

“They’ve done so much for us,” he says.

He smiles broadly as Sulaf brings out glasses of 7-Up to follow our coffee. But a weariness creeps into his voice as he tells his story of escape from war.

This is the sort of mushy reporting that requires the balancing that RRW provides!

Hints that everything is not peachy in Rochester.

This is an article from the same paper a week ago that says to me everyone is not so “welcoming” in Rochester.   The local Catholic Charities director deals with tough questions at a Kiwanis meeting by falling back to the usual guilt-trip the audience strategy.

When Mary Alessio gave a speech at the Kiwanis Club in Rochester last summer, she was shaken when she looked out at her audience and saw dozens of men who looked exactly like her father – row upon row of her father, one father per seat.

“My father’s a tough critic,” Alessio recalls, “and here I was giving a talk to a whole room filled with him.”

To make matters worse for her, Alessio was speaking that day about a topic she knew her father would ask some very demanding questions about – the resettlement of refugees from the world’s most troubled war zones to here in Rochester, Minnesota.

Alessio knows a lot about the subject because she is Director of Refugee Resettlement in Rochester for Catholic Charities, the not-for-profit agency that has resettled thousands of refugees from Somalia, Sudan, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq and other countries gutted by violence, war and famine over the years to this town.

Sure enough, when the Q & A started, one of her fathers out in the audience immediately raised his hand and fired away.

“We have enough problems taking care of people right here in the United States,” he demanded. “Why don’t we focus on solving that instead of taking in all these new people for a short time and then just dropping them?”

There’s no surefire answer to that question, as Alessio has discovered over the past five years, first as a case worker and then leading the agency in its basic daily work of guiding new refugee arrivals through a jam-packed 90-to-180 day resettlement process.

How does she answer—with the standard “welcoming/you should feel guilty for asking” response.

But the larger answer to why Rochester is home to so many refugees is Rochester itself. Because of its success at absorbing them, more have been attracted to come.*

[….]

At her Kiwanis speech, Alessio didn’t hesitate when answering her tough first question.

“We have to remember what our country was founded on,” she said. “We began as a home to immigrants. We were founded on the idea of welcoming the stranger. That’s what makes this country great.”

* Attracted to come?  The refugees don’t pick where they go anyway, it’s Catholic Charities calling the shots—not the refugees, not the city government, not the citizens of the neighborhoods where refugees are resettled,  not even the State Department (until a problem develops).

You can be sure I’ll be keeping an eye out for more news about refugees in Rochester!

Posted in Iraqi refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Resettlement cities | 5 Comments »

Comment worth noting: Why don’t you tell about the good side of refugee resettlement?

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 21, 2009

This is a comment from Mr. Ralph Parker writing from the Atlanta area.  He asks a question that we have answered but it’s been a long time ago, so for new readers I’ll answer again.

This is what Mr. Parker said in a comment to my post about Ethnic Community Based Organizations, here.

Why dont you look atthe web site of Refugee Family Services of stone Mountain, Georgia to see thw wondeful work they do for families. One of the grants they have is to organize ethnic comunity groups. i will be working with them to help th ehuge Bhutanese community in Atlanta organize a self help organization.

It might be more fair if you profile the great succeses refugees have had and the good things that EBCOs can do,.

Not everyone who is Muslim is a possible terrorist. I have been visiting refugees weekly for 12 years and while there are issues, you need to be more empathetic with the refugees and agencies. Faith based efforts do not work-there is just not enough to go around Agencies would prefer better and safer housing, but what can you get for the small subsidy. By the way refugee cash assistance in our state is $378. for a family of 5.Agencies are scrambling to come up with rent balances. We have an agency here doing yard sales to raise rent money. Our Indian community has paid over $20,000 to prevent evictions of Bhutanese refugees. The problem is lack of federal funding. I have spend several hundred dollas myself just for food and supplies for families.

Have you gone and visited any families?

How about telling the good side of refugee resettlement?

Mr. Parker, the “good side” of refugee resettlement is told every day across the country in mainstream publications, in pro-immigration websites, in the myriad websites created by every ethnic group, in government websites, in lectures to community groups and on and on.   Someone has to balance that news!  We are the only website I know of specifically criticizing aspects of the refugee resettlement program.

You yourself indicate and have in the past indicated that the program needs to be reformed on many levels.  Will reform ever happen if no one points out the trouble spots?  And, why do virtually none of those media and other groups promoting more refugees ever mention problems (except in passing)—because it is politically incorrect to do so and they are scared of being called names.   We aren’t afraid of people calling us names (and many have!).  

As for Muslim refugees, I think the US is making a huge mistake in resettling large numbers of Muslims, many of whom have no intention of assimilating.

Then on the ECBO (mini-ACORNs) issue.  I am a conservative and I fundamentally disapprove of taxpayer money going to set up any non-profit group.  It is an expansion of government over which taxpayers have no control and in this case is primarily a mechanism to foster separation of ethnic groups, not foster assimilation.  Why on earth does every city need a government-supported Bhutanese group, a Somali group, a Hmong group and so forth?   Each of these groups are and will demand political accommodations and will demand rights for THEIR people.  What happened to becoming Americans!

And, why should the taxpayer be expected to pay for the “charitable” work that you care about?  Should every charitable function in America be government supported?  LOL!  As I write this, I guess that is already happening as we march to socialism. 

Let me give you a ludicrous example.  I know something about animal welfare and rescue and a year or so ago an article appeared, I think it was in the Wall Street Journal, that reported on a woman who had gotten in over her head with too many horses.  She was proposing in all seriousness that the government set up a program to financially help such horseowners.  So, when does it stop?  Who is going to decide whose charity is more valuable than anothers.  People who love their horses, love them more than they love refugees—so who will be deciding what is “fair” when there is only so much taxpayer money to go around?  You might argue that it was silly of her to collect so many horses and she might argue that you have resettled too many refugees.

I won’t even touch the topic here of the fraud in these ECBO’s, I have been doing that elsewhere on these pages.

When all the pro-open borders media and groups are “fair” in their reporting, then our job will be done!

Posted in Comments worth noting/guest posts, Ethnic Community Based Organizations, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | 6 Comments »

 
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