Community refugee resettlement consultations are required; demand to attend!
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 12, 2015
It has only been in the last year or so that we have been made aware that QUARTERLY CONSULTATIONS with community “stakeholders” were being held quietly, out of public view. In fact, I wondered why I hadn’t heard about them and now I know why!
The citizens of St. Cloud, MN, here and here, brought the issue of exclusion of taxpaying citizens from the meetings where the ‘non-profit’ refugee resettlement agency meets with local elected officials, fire/police, education, health departments etc. to assess how things are going with the refugees, and they discuss how many to bring in the upcoming year.
According to a State Department spokesman (unnamed!) doing a press briefing for reporters on September 11th, we learn that they have only been doing these QUARTERLY CONSULTATIONS since 2013! WTH!
And, they are lying! “Private citizens” have not been welcome.
These agencies (‘non-profit’ resettlement subcontractors) work very hard to hold these meetings secretly and out of the view of local concerned citizens—the ultimate stakeholder, the taxpayer! Yet, we have a State Department official (why no name?) telling the mainstream media that private citizens can attend!
Why is the spokesman unnamed?
We are pleased to have [name and title withheld] with us today. Moving forward, [State Department Official] will be called State Department official for the purposes of this call. Again, this call is on background.
So much for Obama’s much ballyhooed transparency! Now here is what ‘name and title withheld’ told a special group of reporters:
In addition, starting about two years ago, I believe it was FY13, we required that all of our resettlement agencies conduct quarterly consultations with stakeholders in their communities. So that means that not just once a year when they’re preparing a proposal, but every quarter they have to reach out to a wide variety of stakeholders. And that would include other community organizations. That could include the police department, the school, the mayor’s office, the fire department, other agencies that have a stake in refugee resettlement, and private citizens can be invited as well. And they hold those quarterly conversations and that is taken into account when we are making placement plans for the entire year and throughout the year.
You know Larry Bartlett told Senator Sessions this basic untruth here in the Senate hearing the week before last as well.
It gets worse!
We need lawyers on our team! Have they been breaking the law for 33 of 35 years? Or, have the states, which are supposed to prepare a plan every year and hold the meetings, not done their required duty to hold the quarterly meetings with communities?
And, if yours is one of 11 Wilson-Fish states*** you don’t even get this much involvement in the planning.
Here are the federal regulations guiding the program (From CFR 400.5(h))
Provide that the State will, unless exempted from this requirement by the Director, assure that meetings are convened, not less often than quarterly, whereby representatives of local resettlement agencies, local community service agencies, and other agencies that serve refugees meet with representatives of State and local governments to plan and coordinate the appropriate placement of refugees in advance of the refugees’ arrival.
What should you do now?
So, for all of you working in ‘Pockets of Resistance’ (and others too!). Go here, and call the closest refugee resettlement office near you and tell them you want a schedule for the upcoming quarterly consultation! Ask them as well for the FY2016 R & P Abstract which will tell you their plans for your town/city this year. (They have been instructed by their lobbying arm in Washington, RCUSA, to deny you those, but keep asking).
At the same time, go here, and call your State Refugee Coordinators office and ask for the quarterly consultation schedule for your city and/or for the whole state. Ask the coordinator for the FY2016 Abstracts as well (for your individual city) or for every community in the state! The State Coordinator must have approved it!
Let me know what response you get and we will start listing the agencies that refuse your requests for admission to quarterly consultations and for the R & P Abstract. We will build a case.
And, hey, Trey Gowdy where are you? Where is your hearing?
I would like you to make those calls and report the results to me. I am going to post the responses on these pages. (I know some of you have done this already, but I didn’t log your information when you were stonewalled.) Please put “report on calls” in the subject line when writing to me at RefugeeWatcher@gmail.com so I don’t miss your e-mail.
*** Wilson-Fish states where your state elected officials have virtually no say (and where you should be demanding your state get out of Wilson-Fish!): Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont. Call the agencies in those states too.
There are 12 Wilson-Fish states: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.
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