Appleton, Wisconsin alderman dares question city’s readiness for more refugees
Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 18, 2014
Uh oh! The fur is flying (or something is hitting the fan!) in Wisconsin where an elected official is bucking the Mayor and other city council members about the plans for US State Department resettlement contractor World Relief*** (subcontractor World Relief of Fox Valley) to bring in more third world refugees from Burma (Myanmar), Iraq and the Congo.
I told you about Appleton here last November and it’s a post worth re-visiting. Check, out the Mayor and his diversity coordinator!
In this story the Mayor says like a petulant child: “These are the diverse people I want in our city.”
Readers need to help spread this latest news about one (rare!) brave alderman standing up to the ‘diversity is beautiful’ crowd that has launched willy-nilly (as usual) into resettling more refugees before a city is capable of handling large numbers of poor and needy people.
The US State Department HATES news stories like this one where someone dares to say NO!—because consequently as the news gets out, others, elsewhere in America, learn that there is resistance!
From the Northwestern.com (emphasis mine):
APPLETON — An Appleton alderman says he has serious concerns about 75 refugees relocating in Appleton this year, setting off a furious response from City Hall.
Jeff Jirschele, who represents a portion of the city’s south side, said this week that planning has been lax and the region needs to be sure it’s prepared for the challenges with the resettlement — which is expected to bring people here from Congo, Iraq and Myanmar.
“I’m worried about these people and our social safety net when they arrive,” Jirschele said. “These are real people and real lives … we have no room to flounder on housing or medical care despite the best intentions of the groups involved.”
Jirschele authored a resolution with some tough language aimed at World Relief Fox Valley, the Oshkosh-based group shepherding the resettlement, and its selection of Appleton for a resettlement city.
He said the group had “not been vetted” and called for an immediate suspension of all city efforts in the relocation until a group could identify the impact of absorbing the refugees into the community.
“I understand it’s emblematic of our community to help people, but we need to slow down and take a breath,” Jirschele said. “I’m already hearing some folks that think this resolution is cold-hearted, but the reality is good intentions aren’t good enough to produce a successful outcome.”
Alderman hits a nerve!
Jirschele’s sentiment hit a nerve Thursday among fellow aldermen and Mayor Tim Hanna.
Hanna said he spoke for all City Hall departments in criticizing both the tone and content of Jirschele’s resolution.
Read on. A representative from World Relief says that most refugees are not on food stamps. Not so, from the latest available figures, 63% of refugees nationwide are on food stamps and I doubt the numbers are somehow much better in Wisconsin.
***So what is World Relief?
Just a little bit about World Relief whose full legal name is World Relief Corporation of National Association of Evangelicals. It is one of nine major refugee contractors the US State Department has chosen to resettle refugees. The State Department pays them by the head for each refugee they resettle. In turn, World Relief contracts two dozen subcontractors including the one in this news story—World Relief Fox Valley.
It is very hard to track the federal dollars that flow from the primary contractor to subcontractors (there is no financial auditing done by the feds). I could not find a Form 990 for the Oshkosh/Appleton subcontractor, but World Relief’s most recent Form 990 is here. Note on page 9 that their income that year was $51.8 MILLION and you (the taxpayer) paid them $34.1 million of that. This is not a charitable effort from the goodness of their Christian hearts and pocketbooks—it is big business funded by you!
One item that caught my eye on that same page 9 was a line in the income ledger that is also YOUR money. They received $1.3 million for “travel loan commission.” What that means is that taxpayers paid the airfare (in a loan program) for the refugees to fly to your city and it’s up to the contractor to collect the loan from the refugees. When they are successful (and we don’t know how many loans go uncollected) they keep a cut. In this particular year, the cut was $1.3 million of taxpayer money that also went to the contractor on top of the $34.1 million! Racket huh!
And, on page 10 note that they pay out approximately $25 million for salaries and benefits/other payroll expenses.
For more about how refugee resettlement works, visit our fact sheet here.
And, one more thing, once your city is deemed “welcoming” these contractors are paid to do the paperwork to bring the family members of those they had previously resettled and there is no end in sight!
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