Missoula, MT: More secrecy now exposed with revelation about resettlement planning document
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 8, 2016
To all of you who have attempted (unsuccessfully) to get a copy of the important planning document the federal government uses to justify the number and ethnicity of refugees to be seeded in your towns, this should vindicate your frustration and anger (even if it doesn’t help you acquire yours!)
So many of you have reported, for months, that you have called your state refugee coordinator or the local resettlement agency only to be stonewalled, denied the document and in some cases made to feel like an idiot when the contractor pretended that you didn’t know what you were talking about (what R & P Abstract?). Some of you ultimately obtained the document using your state freedom of information law.
Bait and switch!
Yes, the R & P Abstract (Reception and Placement Abstract) exists and now the Missoulian writes about it here, like it was no big deal. How many of you in Montana knew until recently that they weren’t planning for 50 or 100 refugees but more than that, year after year? And, as they told you, with a straight face, that they would be benign Christians from the DR Congo you were expected to believe that too.
Now we learn you are getting Somalis, Afghanis and Syrians, three of the most difficult to security-screen groups of Muslim refugees. In addition to more than a dozen other ethnic groups (btw, this makes the resettlement extremely costly to your school system that must cope with children speaking many languages).
Here is the Missoulian (I don’t know if one of the concerned citizens out there obtained an R & P Abstract and gave it to the paper, or the contractor decided it was best to release it, so as to get their own spin on the story first):
Missoula could resettle up to 150 refugees of as many as 15 nationalities in the next 12 months, but the biggest numbers will reflect the world’s most troubled spots. (Troubled spots is code for Muslim countries!—ed)
A Reception and Placement Abstract filed in May with the U.S. State Department proposed up to 65 people from sub-Saharan Africa and 70 from the Middle Eastern countries of Syria, Iran and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, during fiscal year 2017.
The first group includes those who’ve fled war or persecution from Burundi, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan and South Sudan.
Five families from the Democratic Republic of Congo – 27 people in all – arrived in town in August and September, according to wrapsnet.org, an interactive website of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
They won’t count toward the 150 total for FY17, according to Molly Short Carr, executive director of the International Rescue Committee’s Missoula office.
An abstract also was filed for the remainder of fiscal year 2016, which ended on Sept. 30. It proposed a capacity of 100 refugees, though Missoula was clearly not in a position to receive that many.
For all of you, think about this! Every week these tax-payer funded contractors sit down with the Department of State (in Washington) and divvy up the refugees to be seeded in to your town. Each contractor is ‘bidding for bodies’ as each refugee comes with a bucket of money attached per person.
The federal bureau uses information provided on R&P abstracts when it sits down each week with representatives of the IRC and the eight other resettlement agencies in the United States, a State Department spokeswoman told the Missoulian.
The IRC’s abstract touched lightly [does the DOS in DC try to verify the information contractors submit in their bids?—ed] on housing and employment in Missoula. Basing its figures on the latest Missoula Housing Report, it said the average monthly rent for homes or apartments with one, two and three bedrooms is $750, $950 and $1,200, respectively. Availability was listed as “always” for the two smaller homes and “sometimes” for three bedrooms.
Listed as available jobs for refugees in Missoula were construction, customer service, food service, health care, hospitality and retail. [Really! Customer service! Hospitality! they don’t speak ENGLISH!—ed] The average starting wage is $9.50 for full-time positions, while the starting wage of part-time positions and the percentage of positions offered benefits are “to be determined.”
On this issue of housing and jobs. It has been reported to me that the contractor may have lied in the R & P Abstract about the availability of housing and jobs for very poor, non-English speaking refugees from places like the Congo. Also, it is pretty obvious that if (big if!) even one member of the family gets a job at $9.50 an hour they will need lots of welfare benefits just to survive.
As I said here, if you see any neglect of the refugees and/or abuse of contractual agreements with the DOS. Please report what you see. Come to think of it, maybe you could make a hotline phone number available in your community where citizens could anonymously report any refugee problems they see.
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