Editors note: This is an example of what you can do as American patriots to help get the message out that the refugee resettlement program of the US government is flawed and in need of immediate reform—become a citizen investigator and help spread the word.
If you are in the vicinity of Union City, please get to this meeting!
The following article by special features editor Glenda Caudle is published with permission from The Union City Daily Messenger.
(Emphasis below is mine.)
Tennessee’s Citizens Pay the Price for Resettlement of Refugees Here
Think the resettlement of refugees in Tennessee has no effect on you and your family? Think again.
Joanne Bregman, an attorney with experience in the appellate division of the National Labor Relations Board and on Capitol Hill, was a New York native and longtime liberal when she chose, with her U.S. Army veteran husband, to make a life in the South and settled in Nashville some years ago.
Although she has kept her license active, she has not practiced in the Volunteer State. But that doesn’t mean she has been uninvolved or is unaware. It means, instead, that she has focused her attention on needs that are paramount for her family and, through it all, she has not only changed many of her political opinions, but she has used the analytical skills she learned as a young attorney, coupled with the passion to do what is best for her own special needs daughter, to find a new way to use that expertise.
Mrs. Bregman will be in Union City Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about questions related to the state’s refugee resettlement program and to give local residents an idea how that program affects their lives. She will be the guest speaker at the Obion County TEA Party meeting in the family life center at Union City First United Methodist Church at 420 East Main St. There is a parking lot for the church and an entrance to the family life center behind the sanctuary on South Ury Street.
Refreshments will be served at 6:30, with the program to begin at 7.
The special guest for the local organization is a writer and speaker and a student of the federal-state relationship in the refugee resettlement program.
She is the granddaughter of immigrants who came to this country with no English language skills at a time when there were also no government programs to assist those seeking a new life.
Still, through hard work and determination, her grandfather found a job in a candle factory, while her grandmother stayed home to raise a large family, with the goal of having their children become Americans.
“Today, when I think about what they did, I feel we are taking a hand in our own destruction in this country with what we are abandoning,” Mrs. Bregman says. Describing herself as a previous “low information voter” with little knowledge of how political systems, in particular, work, she says circumstances forced her to become more politically astute and more thoroughly educated on how states and local communities are negatively affected by decisions at the federal level.
Assisting families with special needs children, she found herself unraveling some of the intricacies of TennCare on their behalf and, while she doesn’t consider herself an expert on the subject, she says she can hold her own in any discussion about the program.
She also found out about some of the problems those families were facing with an education system that was not always abiding by the rules and with a Department of Children’s Services whose background checks for employees working with nonverbal special needs children were often deficient.
That discovery and the resulting effort to see a bill passed that would address the problems served as her introduction to the Tennessee State Legislature.
“There were lots of legislators there who were very kind to us, because they understood we were just citizens. They led us and assisted us to get a good bill,” she says.
Two years later, she found herself assisting Tennessee Eagle Forum, a group with whom she shares some views, though not necessarily all. Her efforts were always as a citizen lobbyist, since her priority was in meeting the needs of a disabled daughter who required 24/7 care.
Along the way, she met Don Barnett, who has devoted years to working on the issue of refugee resettlement. Barnett, she says, was a prophet, who noted as early as 2004 that America would find herself in precisely the situation she does today, with thousands of children streaming across her southern border, because of changes in the law about dealing with minors.
Barnett requested her help with a thorny problem and, through this work, Mrs. Bregman says she was flabbergasted by the things she learned.
“It was so symbolic of where we are with our federal government today,” she says of the experience. It has been more than a year, she points out, since she was part of filing a freedom of information act request related to refugee resettlement, and she still has not received the documents; nor have representatives of legislative offices been able to shake them loose from federal clutches. The State Department denied ever having received the request, in fact.
“Things are so dysfunctional and entrenched in our federal government that it astounds me,” she says.
Nevertheless, she has pressed on in her effort to unravel information and what she has learned has continued to astound and distress her, even as it has aided in her understanding of states’ rights and the ways fiscal priorities are addressed by the government.
In 2013, she says, Gov. Bill Haslam said that healthcare costs for Tennesseans in need of assistance would gobble up 60 percent of all new state revenue. Then, a few weeks ago, he warned all departments in the state that they must prepare for 7 percent budget cuts across the board. “So he’s predicting some bad stuff, and maybe cutting some essential services,” she says.
Meanwhile, she knows first hand about the backlog of citizens with disabilities in Tennessee waiting for assistance from the state.
Tennessee has a Medicaid waiver program with a proposed two for one match of federal and state dollars that is designated to enable citizens with disabilities to live in their communities, rather than in far more expensive institutions. The problem is, the program has been a low priority and has never been adequately funded, even under Democratic leadership at the state level.
As a result there are more than 7,000 Tennesseans on a waiting list to get this important assistance.
By contrast, the State Department, relying on the selection “committees” of the United Nations, takes upwards of 70,000 refugees into this country every year and passes them on to the states. In Tennessee, these resettled refugees immediately become eligible for TennCare, while Tennesseans with desperate needs languish on a list.
In 2008, Tennessee withdrew from the federal refugee resettlement program, so the federal government simply contracted with Catholic Charities to run it, instead.
“When people in Tennessee say, ‘Stop. We don’t want this program,’ how is it possible that the feds simply go through a private agency after that?” she asks.
The refugees, she points out, don’t always come with reliable documentation about their histories, so it is impossible to tell if they have terrorist ties. Think the mention of that fact is a scare tactic? Then consider that two refugees in Bowling Green, Ky., were charged with providing material support to al-Qaeda, and that is only one example.
If the program worked the way the federal government optimistically describes it, Mrs. Bregman says, most of the money to help these refugees would come from private donations, with federal dollars simply augmenting the program. The fact is, however, private funding is far outstripped by dollars that come from the pockets of taxpayers in the states.
What would happen, Mrs. Bregman asks, if instead of spending the money on refugees, Tennesseans chose to spend it on their most vulnerable citizens?
There is no Constitutional authority for making the states responsible for the costs of the federal program, Mrs. Bregman contends, and yet, it happened anyway, and the feds continue to go around the state authority and contract with private agencies to get the refugees “settled.” The term encompasses sign-up for SSI and all public benefits, plus immediate entry into the education system. While the federal government offers this amazing largesse in the land of opportunity, however, the states pay the price — which means taxpaying citizens pay the price, both in dollars removed from their pockets and services lost or delayed for themselves and their families.
The refugee resettlement issue and other 10th Amendment concerns will be the focus of the Nashville citizen volunteer’s program locally.
The community is invited to attend and learn what the federal government is up to and what they can do to alter the picture, relying on the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Readers, Tennessee is at the forefront of challenging the federal refugee resettlement program. We need more people like Joanne Bregman and Don Barnett sounding the alarm—fearless citizens concerned for the future of America in all 50 states!
About Tennessee Governor Haslam’s budget shortfall, guess he didn’t read about the immigrants getting all the jobs in Tennessee, here. So, if the immigrants are working, where is the money going—overseas, as remittances, maybe?