At a time when refugee offices are expanding nationwide and new offices are opening, South Dakota state coordinator Tim Jurgens tells the Argus Leaderthat SD is cutting back because it is “mindful of people opposed to welcoming refugees.” Wow! Can we take this as a hopeful sign that someone is listening!
South Dakota won’t participate in the White House’s next push to increase the number of refugees escaping poverty and violence.
The director of the lone resettlement program in South Dakota said it would not participate in the federal effort, citing the debate over immigration in the state.
“There’s people that fall on both sides of this particular issue,” said Tim Jurgens, director of Lutheran Social Service’s Center for New Americans.
Jurgens said the center won’t increase its numbers, in part because it wants to be mindful of people opposed to welcoming refugees.
“We try to visit with anybody, regardless of their opinion and try to inform them of the process and collect their input,” Jurgens said.
Meanwhile, the group has raised millions of dollars for a new space for its refugee services, and was awarded a $250,000 grant Thursday from the federal government to help immigrants prepare for citizenship.
Fewer refugees are finding a home in Sioux Falls and the rest of the state in recent years in spite of the federal government’s wishes. Lutheran Social Services plans to end a direct resettlement program in Huron at the end of the month.
I traveled to Aberdeen and Huron this summer and met some great people who are pretty unhappy about the influx of refugees in recent years mostly to work in meat packing plants there (remember, cheap labor is the major driver of refugee resettlement in America!).
They are listening to you on Capitol Hill as we see in this letter to the House leadership from dozens of House members. Here is the press release (below) on the Babin/Brat letter to Speaker Paul Ryan. This is from Thursday and I haven’t seen much about it yet, but this is BIG news! (this post will be updated as soon as we get more information!)
Remember Obama can’t get his final wish (110,000 refugees beginning two weeks from today) to change America by changing its people without MONEY that Congress appropriates! Forget Obama, whether we continue on the road Europe is on, or not, is up to the Republican Congress!
Here is one brave and important move some Republicans are making:
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) was joined by 37 of his colleagues today in sending a letter to Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McCarthy and Appropriations Chairman Rogers asking that provisions be included in the upcoming Continuing Resolution legislation that would put in place a moratorium on refugees coming from terrorist hotbeds in Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa until appropriate screening procedures are put in place and Congress is given a full accounting of the costs of this program.
“There is no duty of the federal government more important than ensuring the protection of the American people,” the letter states. “We believe it is prudent and in the best interest of the American people that language be included in the upcoming FY 2017 Continuing Resolution to restore Congressional oversight and authority over the refugee program. We cannot allow the refugee program to serve as a Trojan Horse threat to American national security. Our sworn duty is first and foremost to the safety and security of the American people.”
Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McCarthy and Chairman Rogers,
We are writing to express our concerns about the continuing threat of terrorism and to urge that the Congress exercise greater oversight and authority over the refugee resettlement programs as we consider the FY2017 Continuing Resolution legislation.
In the aftermath of the attacks by radical Islamist jihadists in Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Nice, Germany, Istanbul and Orlando, the American people have become increasingly wary of the massive refugee influx from terrorist hot spots, the inability to conduct proper security screening of these individuals and the serious national security concerns this raises for the American people.
Furthermore, the President’s rush to meet an arbitrary number of 10,000 Syrian refugee admissions in FY 2016, in spite of security concerns raised by top Administration national security officials, indicates that national security concerns are being set aside in order to meet arbitrary policy goals.
The Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary of Homeland Security have each stated that they cannot properly screen refugees coming from Syria and the surrounding regions for possible threats to our national security.
There is no duty of the federal government more important than ensuring the protection of the American people. We believe that we would fall short of that duty if the Congress fails to exercise greater authority over the Administration’s refugee resettlement program. We see this as an important national security concern and ask that this concern be addressed in the upcoming negotiations over funding in the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.
We believe it is prudent and in the best interest of the American people that language be included in the upcoming FY 2017 Continuing Resolution to restore Congressional oversight and authority over the refugee program. Specifically we would ask that you consider putting language in the continuing resolution that would:
1. Prevent federal funds from being used to admit to the United States refugees from Syria, the Middle East and North Africa until the following conditions are met:
a. Federal Immigration, law enforcement and national security agencies put in place processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would be terrorists;
b. That such process and programs are provided to the Congress in both classified and public formats;
c. That a longer-term monitoring process be put into place for those admitted to the U.S. as refugees; and
d. That no federal funds may be used for refugee travel to the U.S. or any U.S. resettlement of refugees from this troubled region until Congress has passed by joint resolution a bill that specifically approves funding for such purposes.
2. Permit U.S. funds to continue to be used to provide for the safety of refugees overseas, including housing, food and medical aid.
ISIS has repeatedly declared that they would infiltrate the refugee community that is leaving the Middle East and flooding into Europe. The attacks across Europe over the past year appear to be a fulfillment of that threat. We cannot allow the refugee program to serve as a Trojan Horse threat to American national security. Our sworn duty is first and foremost to the safety and security of the American people.
We look forward to working with you to make this a priority in the Continuing Resolution.
Many of the signatures are illegible, we will be working on getting you the full list, so you know who to thank and who to still go after. At minimum all members of the Freedom Caucusshould sign on as well as Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Subcommittee responsible for the Refugee Admissions Program.
Go to the letter and see the signatures, here are the ones we can read for sure! If yours is among them, please take time to thank him or her!
For new readers, see my tag ‘Where is Congress’ to catch up on all the recent news on the budget/appropriations battle on-going on Capitol Hill. The federal resettlement contractors are out in force attempting to get their funding increased by millions of dollars.
To taxpayers and parents in ‘welcoming’ communities nationwide, are your ready for expensive legal wrangling in your school system as your town’s refugee population grows? You better be!
Lancaster, PA has been a “welcoming” community for refugees from all over the world for years, and now they are receiving them at a rate of 700 a year. In that group are teenage refugees who do not speak English and may have not had any, or very little, formal schooling. Those teenagers/adults 17-21 had been placed in an alternative school until recently.
I told you about the earlier trial herewhich ended in a judge ordering those who brought the case admitted to McCaskey High School.
However, now here comes the ACLU demanding that the School District of Lancaster admit 90 students to the traditional high school immediately.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed an emergency motion against the School District of Lancaster (SDOL) that seeks to force the district to enroll all refugee students ages 17 to 21 in traditional high school rather than an alternative school.
If the ACLU’s motion is granted, the School District of Lancaster would have to admit more than 90 refugees into the district from privately-run Phoenix Academy. In a news release, the ACLU pointed to the Aug. 26 ruling ordering the school to admit the original six students who filed suit against the district into McCaskey High School, adding that the ruling from District Judge Edward Smith encouraged the district to apply the court’s ruling to all refugee students of similar circumstances.
Noting email exchanges involving a local refugee resettlement agency*** [on the side of the ACLU–ed] and district officials illustrating a lack of desire for widespread change, the ACLU also said the district’s actions show it has no intention of honoring the court’s legal reasoning. Without intervention from the law, the the students continue to suffer irreparable harm from the enrollment delays and exclusion from the high school, the ACLU contends.
The emergency motion comes two days after the SDOL filed its own motion for a stay on the August ruling as well as a motion to expedite the appeal it formally filed Sept 2. The district enrolled the six students who sued and won but have not admitted any other refugee students, citing overcrowding and logistical issues, according to reports and its motions.
Where is the ‘pocket of resistance’ in Lancaster, or is it too late for Lancaster?
We have written a lot about Lancaster, click here, for our archive.
***The primary federal resettlement contractor in Lancaster is Church World Service. Does CWS operate in your town, see here.