Wyoming still moving forward with refugee “recruitment” discussions; story goes national
Posted by Ann Corcoran on April 15, 2014
I’ve not seen that phrase before—refugee recruitment—it must be newly coined by critics of Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead’s proposal to study the possibility of a refugee resettlement office in the state, but I like it!
Here is yet another article on the controversy. Our complete archive, is here.
From the Wyoming Tribune Eagle:
CHEYENNE — State officials are continuing to study a proposal that could bring a refugee resettlement program to Wyoming.
But the governor’s office and others are also trying to quell worries that this will lead to an influx of immigrants coming here.
“Some people are concerned about this effort, worrying that Wyoming is ‘recruiting’ refugees,” Gov. Matt Mead recently wrote in a letter to the editor sent to newspapers in the state. “There is no recruitment; there is, however, an effort to understand the issue.
“Right now, our state is learning more on the issue.”
Mead sent a letter last year to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement*** to explore setting up a public-private resettlement office here.
The federally funded program would provide refugees with a range of assistance, including help finding housing, employment and health care, for the first several months after they arrive in the country.
The feds and their resettlement contractors would like Wyoming decision-makers to think that the whole program is funded from Washington. It is not! For a few months US taxpayers foot the bill for the refugees and then the responsibility falls on the state for all of those refugees who never find work. Wouldn’t you think that a Republican governor would be sensitive to taxpayers and jobs for Americans everywhere before getting into a contract with Washington?
Barnett: Federal refugee contractors are no different then your Lockheed Martins in that they have the same incentives.
The Tribune Eagle continues:
Don Barnett is a fellow for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for a reduction in the number of immigrants coming into the country.
He agreed that refugees can impact the state’s and federal government’s budget.
And he cautioned that the federal government and the groups picked to be its contractors rather than the state would largely control how many refugees come here, where they will live and where they come from.
He said the contractors also proactively try to set up the refugees with the welfare programs.
“I don’t think people realize that the state will not have much control of this program if it is institutionalized or implemented,” he said. “It’s largely these contractors that will have the say, and these federal contractors are no different than your Lockheed Martins in that they have the same type of incentives.”
*** Gov. Mead wrote his letter of inquiry to the Office of Refugee Resettlement which is in the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (they dole out the $$$ to the contractors after the refugees are resettled. It is the US State Department (and the UN) which makes decisions about who comes to the US and it is the State Department which doles out the $$$ to the contractors for the initial resettlement and decides where they will be located (in consultation with ORR). Contractors are PAID BY THE HEAD.
Wyoming controversy goes national, including discussion about Mead challenger Taylor Haynes
The Associated Press has picked up the Wyoming refugee story. Here it is at the Washington Times:
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Gov. Matt Mead is addressing criticism about the possibility of opening a refugee resettlement program in Wyoming.
Mead recently sent a letter to the editor addressing the issue to newspapers across the state. Mead wrote that the state is still learning more about the issue and said that Wyoming is not recruiting refugees.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle (http://bit.ly/1m21Fj0) reports that Mead’s challenger for the Republican nomination, Taylor Haynes, is among those who have criticized the move.
Haynes said refugees could strain Wyoming’s budget by relying on state and federally funded safety net programs like Medicaid. He is also worried that they may not be screened for ties to violence or for diseases such as HIV and the Ebola virus. [Haynes is a medical doctor, so it is interesting that the story doesn’t mention those credentials.—ed]
Two Wyoming cities are the subject of discussion for locating the federal offices—Gillette and Casper. Once established, it is only rarely (extremely rare!) that a city can stop the program when they find out that there are problems and there will be many problems!
Addendum: I see our fact sheet on refugee resettlement is attracting large numbers of readers (again!). If you haven’t seen it, click here.
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