I don’t think so. He is a Republican (right?) and that is something out of the Democrats’ play-book! Any time someone disagrees with them on the issue of immigration, and they want to shut up the critics, out comes the “r” word. It happens so often, it has become a joke!
If he, or anyone on his staff, had followed our work over the last almost seven years, he would know that, first and foremost, we inform the public about a federal program that in our opinion has gotten way out of control and acts, to a great degree, in secrecy, while spending your tax dollars!
Our driving motivation is to inform you of the details of the US State Department’s refugee program so that you and your community may have a thorough discussion about what it is that the federal agencies (including ORR in Health and Human Services) in conjunction with a private contractor (Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, in this case) have in mind for your town or city.
The most important thing the governor said in the Casper Star-Tribune interview over the weekend is this:
At this point, Mead is working with volunteers to gain more information about establishing a refugee program in the state. Wyomingites will get to comment on a program as it’s developed, he said.
Please! Anyone with concerns should ask to be involved as one of the “volunteers” he is working with and then Wyomingites should insist, at the very least, that hearings or public meetings be held in the Wyoming cities which are being targeted for refugee placement.
Here is more of what the Casper Star-Tribune reports from an interview with the governor:
CHEYENNE — Some of the opinions on the Internet about refugee resettlement in Wyoming are inaccurate and racist, Gov. Matt Mead said.
For instance, a blog called Refugee Resettlement Watch has a picture of a Gillette man and his family with the headline “The man who started the Wyoming refugee controversy.”
Refugee Resettlement Watch, run by a Maryland resident, also lists crimes committed by refugees throughout the United States, and in one place the site asks, “Are you ready for this in Wyoming?”
“In terms of the comments, I’ve seen some of those, too, in particular, the racist comments,” Mead said. “I don’t think that represents Wyoming. But it is hard to see and hard to read. And some of them, frankly, I will not read.”
Refugee resettlement in Wyoming is a worthy debate, Mead said.
“Let’s not have the debate in terms none of us would be proud of,” he said.
Ann Corcoran, who runs Refugee Resettlement Watch, did not respond to an email from the Casper Star-Tribune.
I’m so sorry to have missed that e-mail. As regular readers know, I’m pretty awful about getting to all of my e-mail (what I wouldn’t give for a secretary or an intern!). I apologize and going forward I should have more time to be more responsive to readers. I will e-mail the reporter today.
Then near the end of the article we learn this:
Mead’s spokesman, Renny MacKay, said Friday that the discussion of a program is in its preliminary stages. The governor’s office is looking at federal laws to understand the program. Mead doesn’t want to spend state money on it. Wyoming would work with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Just a reminder in case you (new readers) are confused: The US State Department (in conjunction with the United Nations) chooses and admits the refugees. Working with their major contractors***, the US State Department (Barbara Day) plays the significant role in deciding where the refugees will initially be placed. They are running out of “welcoming” communities and they need Wyoming!
The Office of Refugee Resettlement in the US Department of Health and Human Services doles out grants to contractors (rarely to state or local governments) to care for refugees for a short time. Because the program responsibility is divided by two major agencies of the federal government, it makes it more difficult for the average citizen or even state and local government officials to understand.
The program will cost the state of Wyoming money, but how much is always the ‘$64 thousand dollar question.’ Some states are attempting to figure out exactly what refugees do cost their state and local taxpayers (schools, healthcare, housing, crime etc.), but the feds make getting that information very difficult.
The Casper Star Tribune has very early on editorialized in favor of refugee resettlement for Wyoming, here.
If the governor really wants to know how the program works, he might visit our fact sheet, here. And, if he and his staff are ambitious, then they should check out our over 200 posts in a category we call ‘where to find information.’
***Nine major federal contractors, all others subcontract to the nine. In most cases these contractors (below) operate on 90 plus% federal funding. No longer may they be considered private charitable enterprises. They are also not financially audited, so between the major contractors and the 300 or so subcontractors it makes it hard to follow the (your!) money:
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)