Update November 2: Here is an article that explains how a local college professor got this whole ball rolling creating the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance.
Last week we told you that Poughkeepsie, NY had been chosen by the US State Department as a new refugee resettlement seed community.*** In order for the plans to be this advanced—the office should be open before the end of the year or in early 2017—there has been at least a year of behind-the-scenes planning.
Some local elected officials have surely been in on the plan since the beginning. There are churches, mosques and synagogues (probably part of a local ‘Interfaith’ group) that are quietly working on the plans and may very well have instigated the idea.
And, there is also an R & P Abstract for FY2017 (a planning document for Poughkeepsie which includes numbers, ethnicity, and other information about where refugees will work and so forth) that should be made available to all citizens! In fact, Congressional candidate Oliva should call Church World Service and ask for the document.
If he gets a run-around, then he should call the New York State Refugee Coordinator (see this list) and ask for it.
There is nothing new about this story. Church World Service was the major contractor where I live and was working quietly to bring refugees into my county seat in 2007 until concerned citizens demanded answers. Because the answers were not forthcoming, Refugee Resettlement Watch was born.
But, I digress…..
Back to Poughkeepsie and the Congressional candidate. From WAMC-Northeast Public Radio:
The Republican candidate for New York’s 18th congressional district was in Poughkeepsie Monday. Phil Oliva is expressing concern over news that a refugee resettlement office will open in the city.
Phil Oliva, who’s running against two-term Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, questioned why he had to learn from a City of Poughkeepsie resident that Church World Service would be opening an office in Poughkeepsie.
“We’re not beating up on Syrian refugees. And I, and the ones that are here, I would treat them like a neighbor,” Oliva says. “It’s not them that we’re mad at.”
“My anger is directed at our federal officials. Why didn’t they tell us about this and they just think they can slip it in,” says Oliva. “And why Poughkeepsie? Why the City of Poughkeepsie?”
“Church World Service is a vendor of the federal government. The federal government, the Department of State knows this. They’re doing this, and they didn’t tell anybody locally [I’m betting they did and some local elected officials are in on it especially if they are Dems!—ed]. That’s a major, major problem,” Oliva says. “And, as a congressman, I would raise holy hell in Washington because I’m the federal representative. If I don’t know about this, I’m either not doing my job, and if somebody’s trying to slip one past me, then there’s going to be a price to pay and I’d be demanding answers now, not just sending Carol [Poughkeepsie resident mentioned above—ed] and others to go ask this one and ask that one. The buck would stop with me.”
Concerned citizens better get registered for this meeting next week. I warn you this will be a controlled meeting which means they will probably not allow open questions from the floor. Learn a little about something called the Delphi Technique for controlling the outcome of a meeting. Here are all of our mentions of the technique, don’t let them herd you like cattle.
Church World Service will hold an information session about the new Poughkeepsie office Thursday, November 10. at the Adriance Memorial Library.
Concerned citizens do your homework in the next ten days. You have every right to know what the federal government is planning for your town or city!
Start with ‘Ten things your town needs to know.’ See RRW’s Frequently Asked Questions. Then search RRW for ‘New York’ and learn all about what is happening throughout the state on refugees. Search RRW for ‘Church World Service.’ Also, search RRW for ‘Rutland’ (VT) to see the controversy there (is your mayor in cahoots with Church World Service?).
***These are the other sites (we hear there are 47 new ones, there are hundreds of established sites) that we have identified so far. The huge surge in locations is needed for the highest number of refugees we have admitted in decades and because they want them planted before a possible Trump administration takes the reins of government in January.
All planning proceeds in secrecy. Why? Because they can’t sell this program to a community when they put all the facts on the table!
Aberdeen, SD (may have been thwarted!)
Traverse City, MI
Watertown, NY (maybe)
Youngstown, OH (maybe)