Refugee Resettlement Watch

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    Ann Corcoran
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Archive for June 26th, 2017

“Trump wins” on travel ban/refugee restrictions, or does he?

Posted by Ann Corcoran on June 26, 2017

Update June 27, 2017: My random thoughts this morning, here.

Update #6: See what the NY Times has to say.

Update #5: Michael Leahy at Breitbart—it is a mess.

Update #4: UN not happy with US Supreme Court, here.

Update #3: Don’t pop the champagne yet says Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review.

Update #2:  See what former Rep. and Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says here at WND.

Update: Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society says they are pleased with some of  the court’s conclusions, see here.

On the surface it might appear that the Trump Administration has won an important victory in the Supreme Court which ruled just a few hours ago on the so-called “travel ban” Executive Order, but in my view the Court has created an enormous bureaucratic mess, not to mention having re-written Refugee law! What were they thinking???

I know, I know, they will decide the case on the merits after hearing it next fall (and this decision does show where they are leaning), but from now until then there will be nothing but chaos and controversy relating to travel from the 6 countries and regarding the refugee admissions CEILING.  Remember readers, I am not a legal beagle, but the minute I heard some of the convoluted balancing of equities argument I thought my head would explode!

The gist of the decision is that Trump (the President) can halt immigration from the six (although incomplete list) of terror-producing countries unless the wannabe entrant (for any purpose) “can credibly claim a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

So, I guess  that means the court has decided in advance who the potential terrorists are and that they can’t possibly be someone who has a relative here already or is coming to college at the University of Hawaii (or any college) or connected to any “entity” (a VOLAG perhaps!).

Of greater interest to me is that, although Trump can have his refugee admissions ceiling of 50,000 (remember CEILING is not a target), but the ceiling can be surpassed (says the majority opinion) in the remaining months of this fiscal year  (up to September 30th) if the wannabe refugees have relatives here (what if 10,000, 20,000 and so forth have relatives here!).

Can you see the potential for fraud as all over the world, migrants wishing to get to America are scrambling to have relatives or a bona fide entity with which to associate themselves.

So, in effect the Supreme Court (led by Chief Justice Roberts) has just rewritten the Refugee Act of 1980!

The Act allows the President to exceed his designated ceiling (and here they agree it is 50,000!) only by making a case for an emergency and consulting with Congress.  Well, forget that! Looks like the Supreme Court is now determining the number of refugees to be admitted to America.

(I concede real lawyers might have a different interpretation, but reading the Court’s decision today one wonders if they read the Refugee Act!).

Here in the dissent written by Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch you can clearly see the bureaucratic and legal mess the Court has thrown to a State Department not firmly in the White House’s control, not to mention the parade of court cases the three dissenting Justices envision.

Here is the opinion.  I invite you all to make up your own minds, send comments with your analysis.

Here is the portion of the dissent that says it all:

 

Posted in Changing the way we live, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Supreme Court, Trump | Tagged: | 20 Comments »

Will President Trump restrict welfare use by refugees too?

Posted by Ann Corcoran on June 26, 2017

When President Trump announced in Iowa last week that he planned to ask Congress for a tightening of restrictions on welfare use by immigrants—barring their use of welfare for 5 years—I wondered if he would wander in to the minefield of refugee welfare use.

Iowa announcement June 21, 2017—immigrant welfare use to be restricted (crowd cheers!).

Readers here know that refugees use social services/welfare immediately (within weeks) upon arrival and that the primary job of their resettlement contractor*** is to get them signed up for their services ASAP.

Here is Trump in Iowa last Wednesday:

“The time has come for new immigration rules that say … those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said.

My ears pricked up and I wondered if he means refugees too.  If he does, he can expect wailing and moaning on the level he received when he announced his original travel ban.

(See here that refugees are exempt from the Clinton-era restrictions on welfare use by immigrants.)

If Trump persuades Congress to disallow welfare for 5 years for all classes of immigrants that would certainly be a backdoor way to rein-in the US Refugee Admissions Program. Maybe, just maybe, the mostly ‘religious’ resettlement contractors*** would have to raise private charitable money or cut the number of the ‘clients’ they ‘care for.’  And, heck, maybe those meatpackers would have to go to paying higher wages as refugee families now use welfare as a back-up for low-wage earnings.

But, don’t hold your breath!

If you are interested in reading more on ‘refugee welfare’ click here for my extensive archive on the subject.

***For new readers, these are the nine federal refugee contractors whose main job is to get their refugee clients their social services in the first three months and then they move on to a new set of paying clients (they are paid by you, the taxpayer, at a per head price for placing refugees in your towns and cities).

Posted in Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Taxpayer goodies, Trump | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Refugee contractors brought refugee lobbyists to Washington (again) last week

Posted by Ann Corcoran on June 26, 2017

They do this every year. It is the sort of thing those of you concerned about an overload of refugees in your communities can’t really do, first and foremost because it is expensive to travel to Washington. And, our pro-reform side has no money!!!

I suspect your tax dollars helped pay for the lobbying organized each year through one of the nine major federal resettlement contractors—Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (headquartered in a posh section of Baltimore).

LIRS Leadership Academy last week. That is LIRS CEO Lynda Hartke in the bluish jacket in the front row. Learn about their finances here (they are 95% funded with taxpayer dollars): https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/south-carolina-lutheran-agency-cutting-staff-will-bigwigs-in-baltimore-see-pay-cuts/

However, this story from the Huffington Post that focuses on visits to Texas’s two US Senators confirms what we have said and what you should do—keep up the political pressure on your Washington reps from back home!  And, I mean, keep it up!

Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON ― On a hot D.C. summer day on Tuesday, seven refugees from Texas made their way to the office of their home state senator, Ted Cruz, to do what one does in the nation’s capital: lobby.

[….]

The former refugees had come to Washington for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Leadership Academy, where they had spent the last few days training and strategizing on how to help new arrivals and convince politicians that it was right and humane to do the same. It was the fifth year of the program, with 48 former refugees from 17 states participating.

This year is different from the last four. Now they are operating in the age of Donald Trump, who wants to cut the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. and bar them from entry for at least four months. The Texas advocates are facing an anti-refugee wave at the state level that Trump tapped into nationally. Texas took in the second-highest number of refugees of any state in fiscal year 2016, but its Republican leadership has echoed the president’s approach, last year taking the extreme move of dropping out of the resettlement program, making it the largest state to do so. Gov. Greg Abbott has also tried to bar Syrian refugees from the state entirely. And while Republican officials in Texas can’t legally keep refugees out, they’ve done their best to say they are unwelcome.

Despite the open hostility that is exhibited by their state ― or perhaps because of it ― refugee advocates feel an intense urgency to change minds. That includes Cruz, who supported measures to bar certain groups of refugees and backed Trump’s travel ban, which is now blocked in the courts. The former refugees knew that having a positive reception from congressional staffers wouldn’t change much, if anything. But they felt that if they met the staff in person, they could work to maintain and grow relationships within the state. After visiting Cruz’s Washington office, Nsenga suggested that they reach out to Cruz’s offices in Texas as soon as possible to request meetings, since they take some time to schedule.

After visiting Cruz’s office they went on to meet Senator Cornyn’s staff and we learned a very important bit of information for Texas taxpayers concerned about the impact of refugee resettlement on the state:

This time they decided to also ask what they could do to win the senator over. They said the Cornyn staffer told them that his office gets a lot of calls expressing concerns about refugee resettlement and hardly any from people who support refugees. [Hint!—ed]

“She said, ‘You can help by educating fellow Texans about refugees,’” Emmanuel Sebagabo, a former refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said afterward.

It was a tangible bit of information that the former refugees felt could serve them well.

[….]

…. They [politicians] don’t base their policy positions on whether constituents set up apartments for people resettling in their states, and they haven’t been universally moved by protests against Trump’s executive orders. Politicians care about getting elected and reelected; they care about doing what their constituents call on them (literally and figuratively) to do.

It’s a basic principle of advocacy, but it can get lost when activists are focused on more immediate matters, like getting people resettled in a new country. Now up against Trump, Abbott, Cruz, Cornyn and other Republicans, the refugee advocates got a reminder that they can’t forget about the politics. They need to convince more fellow Texans that refugee resettlement is a good thing, but that requires combating messages from politicians who spread fear that refugees can be dangerous. They need to convince those who support refugees to not just offer places to stay, warm meals and social services. They need them to call politicians’ offices and show up at town halls.

Yup!

Continue reading here.

Thanks to HuffPo reporter Elise Foley for giving us those important reminders!

By the way, this article focused on Texas, but you can be sure they were visiting YOUR Senators and members of Congress too!

This article is posted in my relatively new category ‘What you can do’ here.

Posted in Changing the way we live, Community destabilization, Pockets of Resistance, Refugee Resettlement Program, The Opposition, Trump, What you can do | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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