Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for May 13th, 2017

Six Republican Senators question Trump refugee admissions, appear to want MORE refugees admitted to the US

Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 13, 2017

By sending a bipartisan letter like this (below) with the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Dick Durban (leader of the Senate Jihad Caucus!) as co-signers, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford signals that he wants more refugees for his state and at the same time shows complete ignorance about the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program—how it works and what its goals are—not to mention the fact that this letter with its hostile tone is a clear signal that these six do not support President Trump’s stated refugee reduction goals.

Senator James Lankford, leader of the pack of six Republicans questioning Trump and Tillerson about refugee flow to US. Sure sounds like they want MORE refugees! What! No ‘pockets of resistance’ in OK?

If any of these six Republicans is your Senator, you need to educate him or her quickly if there is still any hope of Trump’s campaign promises being fulfilled or the USRAP being reformed at all.

With friends like these….

Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Here is what ‘Foreign Affairs’ says about the letter in an article entitled: “Senator Lankford Encourages Trump Administration to Support Assistance for Refugees and Victims of Genocide”

WASHINGTON, DC -Senator James Lankford (R-OK) sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump to inquire about the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which has successfully resettled more than three million refugees from various parts of the world to American communities in all 50 states.

Specifically, the letter encouraged the administration to uphold USRAP as it enables the United States to fulfill key international commitments and assist those fleeing genocide and oppression.

[….]

Lankford was joined by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mike Lee (R-UT), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Thom Tills (R-NC), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). 

More here.

Apparently those Republicans signing the letter do not know we are NOT saving the Syrian Christians from genocide. And, it is pretty shameful that Senator Lankford, a former Baptist leader in OK, doesn’t know that fact—we are NOT saving the Christians of Syria through this program!

According to Wrapsnet, in FY17 we have admitted 6,132 Syrians (that is since October 1, 2016 through today). Of that number 6,001 are Muslims (the vast majority Sunnis).  That makes the Syrian flow to America right now 98% Muslim.  So much for saving those facing genocide. Oh, there were a whopping 22 Yezidis in the arrival numbers.

By the way, letters like this one, meant to draw media attention, are usually generated by lobbyists working for the ‘refugee resettlement industry‘ (see my previous post) which has many lobbyists working The Hill.  A lobbyist, or several lobbyists, will write the letter and then find some willing Senate staffer who will persuade the boss to sign on (might not take much persuasion!). The lobbyists shop the letter around to Senate offices.

Our side (the pro-reform side!) on the UN/US RAP has no lobbyist dedicated to this issue working The Hill which is all the more reason that you, grassroots citizen activists, must call-out your Senators on this letter especially those of you in Oklahoma!

Here is the letter:

The Honorable Rex Tillerson

Secretary

U.S. Department of State

2201 C St NW

Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable John F. Kelly

Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly,

We write regarding current administration of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which has successfully resettled more than 3 million refugees from around the world to American communities in all 50 states. The USRAP is a critical pillar of our national foreign policy and enables the United States to fulfill key international commitments. Refugees come from the most vulnerable and persecuted populations around the world and are the most securely vetted travelers to the United States, spending an average of two years in the application process prior to approval.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, we are in the midst of the largest refugee crisis in modern history. More than a year ago, on March 17, 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry formally designated the actions of ISIS as genocide. As part of that declaration he said: “[ISIS] is… responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities… [ISIS] kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; Shia because they are Shia. …naming these crimes is important. But what is essential is to stop them.” While the recognition and need to address these horrific crimes is important, we must not lose focus of the need to also protect others fleeing persecution around the world.

As you know, Executive Order 13769, issued on January 27, aimed to place a temporary 120-day halt on the USRAP and reduce the total refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000. This Executive Order was subsequently rescinded by Executive Order 13780, issued on March 6. Executive Order 13780 also aimed to place a similar halt and reduction on the USRAP. However, the U.S. District Court of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on March 15 followed by a preliminary injunction on March 29, which currently prevents the implementation of portions of this Executive Order, including the entire section addressing the USRAP.

Given that there is currently no active provision from either of these Executive Orders affecting normal USRAP administration, we respectfully request a response to the following questions regarding the current status of USRAP operations, both domestically and internationally:

1. In light of the Hawaii District Court’s decision to block enforcement of the EO dated March 6th, does the Administration anticipate admitting refugees consistent with the previous Administration’s Presidential Determination for FY17 or will the Administration release a new Presidential Determination? How many refugees does the Administration anticipate admitting this Fiscal Year?

2. Is the U.S. continuing to conduct overseas interviews of both Priority-2 Direct Access applicants, including U.S.-affiliated Iraqis, and of applicants referred to the USRAP by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees? If so, how many individuals are currently going through this process and how long will this process take? If not, under what legal authority?

3. Given the genocide designation from the U.S. State Department, are survivors designated as a special humanitarian concern?

a. How many nationals and residents of Iraq or Syria who are members of a religious group subjected to genocide by ISIS and are at risk of forced migration have been admitted to the United States as refugees since March 17, 2016?

b. Under which mechanisms are these individuals able to apply and interview for admission to the United States as refugees?

c. Are survivors of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, eligible for Priority 2 processing under the refugee resettlement priority system? If not, why not?

i. If so, how many have been admitted since March 17, 2016?

4. During the seven weeks between the issuance of EO 13769 and the March 15 TRO, please describe any changes the Administration made to USRAP operations, including instructions given to all personnel responsible for carrying out USRAP duties in a way that continues to provide for the security of the American people while also maintaining the United States as a refuge for those fleeing persecution.

a. If changes were made, how will these changes continue to impact USRAP operations and capacity in the future?

b. If changes were made, what immediate effect have these changes already had on the USRAP’s overall resettlement capacity, including the impact on overseas Resettlement Support Centers and on domestic resettlement agencies?

c. What steps have you taken since the issuance of the TRO, including the rescission of relevant instructions to USRAP personnel, to restart the administration of the program?

5. We understand that there are DHS-approved refugees awaiting final medical clearances and travel bookings. What is the Administration’s timeframe for resettlement of these refugees?

a. How many cases within this group are cases of reunification with family members already in the United States?

b. How many cases within this group are genocide survivors?

6. In addition to these DHS-approved refugees, there are more in earlier stages of the screening process. Are agencies continuing the application and screening process for these refugees? If so, are there any new difficulties that would have the effect of slowing down the review process? If not, under what legal authority?

a. Of all refugees who have currently begun the resettlement process, how many are US-affiliated Iraqis?

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

Posted in Changing the way we live, Christian refugees, Colonization, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Trump, Who is going where | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Boo Hoo! Charitable organizations which resettle refugees forced to raise private funds

Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 13, 2017

You have probably seen them—bushels of stories about how the nine federal resettlement contractors are wailing and moaning as Trump cuts off their refugee/money flow—but I was surprised that the Wall Street Journal didn’t do a little better job of putting it all in perspective.

For new readers like Nancy, here are the nine federal resettlement contractors (aka Volags, short for Voluntary Agencies, Ha! Ha!) that make up the “refugee-resettlement industry:”

 

The WSJ does make it clear that these NON-Profit groups (six are ostensibly religious groups) are paid by the head to place refugees in your towns and get them signed up for their stuff.  For the first few years that I wrote this blog, mainstream media never mentioned that fact!  So, yes, their budgets will vary as they have become almost completely dependent on federal money for their salaries/benefits, office rental, travel, etc.

For them to be whining that they have to raise private money for their ‘religious’ charitable work as refugee numbers vary makes me want to scream. When the Refugee Act of 1980 became law it was supposed to be a public-private partnership, but as the years have passed, federal funding (and state and local funding!) has become a greater and greater share.

Before I give you the latest whine-fest from the WSJ, here is how the contractors got in to this pickle.  Obama set the CEILING for FY17 at 110,000 in his final months in office.  The WSJ tells us it was the highest ceiling since 1995. Thus the contractors were building their budgets on a pipe dream of more paying clients (aka refugees) than they have had for years and years.

That 110,000 was, by far, Obama’s highest ceiling as we have reported ad nuaseum and as you can see in this chart from the Refugee Processing Center and is being used dishonestly as the benchmark for measuring the Trump flow:

 

Note that the US DOS has gotten around to removing the 110,000 ceiling for FY2017. This chart last month still listed it. See last month here: https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/despicable-usa-today-says-refugee-numbers-plummet-under-trump-but-were-silent-when-obama-monthly-numbers-were-low/

 

Last night I wondered just how the first seven months of the fiscal year matched up (FY17 runs from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017).  At the end of April we are 7 complete months in to the fiscal year, and those wailing contractors have been paid handsomely for 7 months based on the fact that by April 30,2017 we had admitted more paying clients/refugees than any of the previous ten years.  Do the math using the chart above!

As of the end of April, the US admitted 42,414 refugees, the highest number in the first seven months of any of the years since before FY07.  In fact, Bush had the lowest first seven months in 2007—17,150, but even Saint Obama had only 26,181 in FY12 as of April 30th. He never had a year with this high number (by April 30th) in his time in office.

Now here are a few snips from the Wall Street Journal giving the contractors another opportunity to wail and moan!

Although, I have to laugh to see the phrase “refugee-resettlement industry” in the first line!

Even though President Donald Trump’s travel ban has been put on hold, his administration is already reshaping the refugee-resettlement industry.

The Trump administration has cut the rate of refugee arrivals in half in the first months of the year [this is so dishonest!—ed] and charity organizations that settle refugees are slashing their budgets in response.

More than half of the nine agencies that are approved by the State Department to resettle refugees in the U.S. have already either laid off staff or frozen hiring. Some agencies have let hundreds of people go. Many are staging fundraising campaigns the help make up for lost federal funding, which is tied to new refugee arrivals but also supports programs for refugees already here.

“We’ve been asked by the State Department to cut our budget twice already,” said Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that resettles refugees in the U.S. HIAS has instituted a hiring freeze. “You can’t manage a program like this.”

[….]

In the last fiscal year, the federal government allocated more than $554 million for refugee admissions, and 84,994 refugees were resettled. More than $227 million of that money was distributed to the nine resettlement agencies, most of them religiously affiliated, that help newcomers adjust to the U.S.

[….]

World Relief, one of the resettlement agencies, began adding case workers in the fall, expecting a huge influx of refugees. At the organization’s 25 offices, case workers shepherd refugees through all aspects of life in America. They pick them up at the airport; set up housing, complete with furniture and clothes; advise them on searching for jobs; and help enroll children in school.

Oopsy!  As Mark Krikorian pointed out on twitter last night the reporter left out one important duty of the contractor in that line above—they sign the refugee up for all forms of welfare and move on to the next client!

WSJ continues….

Resettlement agencies had been hoping 2017 would be a banner year. In September, before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year, Mr. Obama announced he would raise the number of refugees allowed into the country to 110,000, the highest total since 1995. Many agencies began staffing up. [Sniffle—ed]

[….]

The nine resettlement agencies contract much of the work settling new refugees out to hundreds of local affiliates. These organizations are paid $2,075 for each refugee they resettle, the majority of which goes directly to refugee assistance. [No! About half goes to the contractor for salaries and overhead!—ed]

[….]

Many resettlement organizations have started fundraising campaigns to try to make up for lost revenue.

Pity! They actually have to go out to the public and look for private charitable dollars for their humanitarian good works.

You know what it means if they can’t find private money?  It means the public is generally not behind their efforts to import poverty and diversify American cities and towns with refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Read the whole article here and be sure to see that Mark Krikorian is quoted.

Posted in Changing the way we live, Obama, Refugee Resettlement Program, Refugee statistics, Taxpayer goodies, The Opposition, Trump | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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