Update from Appleton: community meeting puts refugees on display

They say it was planned before the latest uproar about Appleton, Wisconsin and whether it could support more needy refugees, but this—a show and tell of sorts—is a standard practice for refugee contractors like World Relief.  They know if they can showcase some happy refugees it becomes easier for them to demonize anyone who objects to more resettlement as motivated by racism and xenophobia when residents are simply concerned with the economic viability of the plan.

Be sure to see our previous post on Appleton a few days ago, but don’t miss this morning’s post, also from Wisconsin, about Somali gang fights coming across the border from “welcoming” Minneapolis.

Myriam Mwizerwa appears to have moved from Nashville World Relief to direct resettlement from Oshkosh.

From Post-Crescent Media:

The long-scheduled educational panel came on the heels of a weeklong controversy after Alderman Jeff Jirschele raised concerns about preparations for the 75 refugees due to arrive this year from Congo, Iraq and Myanmar.


Myriam Mwizerwa, the Oshkosh director for World Relief Fox Valley, explained that refugee status is a narrow classification determined by the United Nations. Rounds of interviews determine if individuals meet the persecution requirements based on race, nationality, religion, political opinion or social affiliation.

“A refugee is not someone who has fled due to an economic or natural disaster,” Mwizerwa said. “Only refugees whose lives are threatened and that have crossed into another country for asylum qualify.”

Regarding the above comments, many of the refugees we are accepting into the US are not in danger for their lives.  I’d like to know how many rounds of interviews convicted murderer Esar Met had before being granted permission to enter the US.  And, keep in mind the Senate-passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill would do away with refugees having to prove they are persecuted personally at all.  If S.744 (which World Relief lobbies for) should become law, whole classes of people will be considered eligible.  For example, just being a Somali, an Afghani, or a Rohingya would get you in automatically.

Ms. Mwizerwa continues:

After achieving the status, host countries begin resettling the refugees. Last year the U.S. took 70,000 refugees — a number set by Congress that will remain the same for 2014.

Congress does not set the number the President does in his annual determination letter.  Congress could change the numbers, but as far as I know they just rubber-stamp whatever the President wants.

U.S. communities accept 80 percent of the world’s refugees, Mwizerwa said, but that’s less than 1 percent of the 14 million worldwide refugees seeking a move.

After the two-year vetting process by the U.S. State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations, the refugees are handled by the contract agency, in this case World Relief.

Two years?  I have never heard an exact time-frame for vetting.

“We have 90 days to help make people self-sufficient,” Mwizerwa said. “In that time we do the airport reception, help with housing, food, basic needs and do a community orientation.”

Almost none are self-sufficient in 90 days.  She only means that the federally-supplied contractor’s bucks start to run out.  It pretty much means they have 90 days to get the refugees signed up for welfare.  There is nothing that says World Relief can’t find private money to keep them afloat.

And, if refugees are becoming self-sufficient in 90 days, why do we have articles published like this one just yesterday at The Huffington Post—In the war on poverty, don’t forget the refugees!

The airfare for refugees is considered a loan, and eventually paid back. Each refugee receives about $925 for the 90-day period for essentials, a one-time gift, Mwizerwa said.  [A gift from the US taxpayer—ed]

Again, not the whole truth.  Yes, the refugees are required to pay back the airfare, but how many do so is a tightly held secret at the State Department; and World Relief takes a cut of whatever they can wring out of the poor refugees as their reward from the State Department for their collection agency services.

Refugees are eligible for permanent residency status in the U.S. after a year, and after five years can apply for citizenship. They only face deportation if they are convicted of a crime.

I would love to know how many are ever deported, even the rapists and murderers get to stay.  We did have some reports of Somalis being deported, but I’ll bet its a tiny handful.

Mwizerwa said the decision on a specific community is largely based on history.

The decision is really based on whether they (State Dept and its contractors) can get away with flooding a city with impoverished people before the local complaints get too noisy.  I call it the “squawk factor.”  The squawk factor seems to be coming into play in Appleton.    And, it depends on how demanding the local business community is for cheap laborers.  By the way, the State Department, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and their contractors are always out scouting now for new “welcoming” territory in which to drop off refugees.

Photo is here at World Relief Nashville unless there is more than one Myriam Mwizerwa.

If you’ve never checked out our Refugee Resettlement fact sheet, check it out here now.