I don’t know where to begin telling you about the State Department meeting yesterday to determine the “size and scope” of refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2014.
Thirty or so people who attended the meeting at the D.C. office of the State Department each received a voluminous stack of testimony, and it will take me a few days to find enough time to go over it all. Suffice it to say, on a quick glance, it looks like 90% of those testifying oppose bringing tens of thousands of third-worlders into the US next year.
Will it amount to anything more than a speed bump for the federal agencies and their non-profit contractors, only time will tell.
It is important that anyone concerned about high refugee numbers from countries that have a track record of producing terrorists, or are concerned with the fiscal cost of importing impoverished people, must let your Senators and Members of Congress know how you feel. That is especially so right now because the Gang of Eight plus Grover bill in the Senate (S.744) will make it easier for more refugees and asylum seekers to get here, and it will grant more $$$ to non-profits!
Only about ten people actually testified verbally. And, it was pretty much evenly split between those who want more refugees and those who said stop this program now!
Testifying for more refugees were contractors: Mark Hetfield for Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Anastasia Brown for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Erol Kekic of Church World Service (doing double-duty** because he testified for the Refugee Council USA as well. RCUSA is the lobbying arm for the non-profits), someone they all seemed to know, but I didn’t get his name from the Ethiopian Community Development Council, and not from a major contractor Pary Karadaghi from the Kurdish Human Rights Watch (who brought along two refugees to speak).
There is testimony in our packet from Duncan Breen of Human Rights First, but honestly if he testified he made no impression on me!
Where were the other five major contractors? Where was their testimony? Who knows, maybe they didn’t want to make it public. Maybe they didn’t want you to know what refugees they wanted for their collection in 2014. They probably have their own back-channels at the State Department. Heck, Anne Richard, the Asst. Secretary of State for Population Refugees and Migration, revolved into the State Department door from the International Rescue Committee.
Here is the list with links for all nine major resettlement contractors. The International Rescue Committee was not represented, nor was World Relief, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Episcopal Migration Ministries, or the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
The hearing was presided over by: Laurence Bartlett, Director of Admissions US State Dept, Ken Tota, Deputy Director Office of Refugee Resettlement (that is in the Dept. of Health and Human Services), and Barbara Strack, Chief, Refugee Affairs Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.
Those testifying to rein-in this program were Ed Hunter, testimony here, Anne Turner, Jim McDonald, Mark Tenney (here), and myself (I’ll post what I said in a separate post, just haven’t gotten to it yet). Critics focused on security concerns, fiscal impact, community disruption and the cultural degradation of America.
This does not conclude my discussion of this meeting. I need to now go back and review the written testimony. Watch for more news later.
For new readers who don’t know what this is all about, go to our category set-up to report on this hearing, here. (Scroll down through 14 posts prior to this one.)
**Double-duty! So next year some of us can request to get more time to speak for other groups—help me remember that!