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Archive for February 3rd, 2018

Sec. of State Tillerson attempting to clear huge FOIA backlog at State Department

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 3, 2018

The State Department is notorious for either delaying answering ‘Freedom of Information Act’ requests, or never answering them at all.

In fact, although I used FOIA a number of years ago with another federal agency, I never bothered with it on the refugee issue knowing of the State Department’s horrible reputation for stonewalling the public.

tillerson foia

Sec. of State Tillerson orders FOIA backlog cleaned up!  Transparency here we come! (I hope!)

This story at CNN from several days ago, got my attention because a former bigwig in the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration was recently assigned to Tillerson’s admirable project of clearing the backlog of FOIA requests —-Laurence Bartlett (here).

CNN says disgruntled State Dept. employees sent to the FOIA office are hiring lawyers because they feel such work is beneath them.  (The article does not list Bartlett as one of those seeking a legal remedy to what is described as a demotion.)

Frankly, it makes enormous sense to me to place experienced people in that office because how would someone with no history with certain departments at the State Department know where to find the information requested.

Here is CNN’s “exclusive” story from nearly a week ago:

Washington (CNN) A growing number of State Department employees are charging they are being put in career purgatory because of their previous work on policy priorities associated with President Barack Obama and in offices the Trump administration is interested in closing.

The situation has got so serious that several officials tell CNN they have retained attorneys after repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to raise concerns about being assigned to low-level jobs in Foggy Bottom such as answering Freedom of Information Act requests.

The issue has also come to the attention of senior Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clearing a backlog of FOIA requests a priority and reassigned staff to what State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has called “an all-hands on deck” effort to clear the backlog. Significant progress has been made, and the number of outstanding requests — which stood at 22,000 in January 2017 — has been reduced to about 13,000, Tillerson said in November, adding that he hopes the backlog will be cleared by the end of 2018.

The backlog grew over the last several years in part due to numerous requests from journalists and conservative groups, including Judicial Watch and Citizens United, for records relating to Hillary Clinton’s emails. [LOL! Leave it to CNN to blame the backlog on rightwingers!—ed]

bartlett at Heritage

When Lawrence Bartlett was the lead panelist at a Heritage Foundation event last fall, along with other inside the beltway types, I knew Heritage had no clue about what was really happening with refugees in your towns and cities.   https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/is-the-heritage-foundation-selling-you-out-on-unus-refugee-admissions-policy/

“Those helping with FOIA requests have a range of skills and backgrounds, from interns to deputy assistant secretaries,” Nauert told CNN. “The assignments are temporary — some staffing the office are simply between assignments as they determine their next step.”

But many of those assigned to the “FOIA Surge” effort resemble a band of misfit toys, including several ambassadors returning from overseas and senior career and civil service members who were detailed to other agencies. Others worked in offices created by Obama as policy priorities, which the Trump administration has announced it intends to close.

[….]

Nauert said that employees are being asked to serve in the FOIA office due to need, “without regard to politics.”

“There is a job that needs to be done,” Nauert said. “It may not be a glamorous job, but it’s an important one.”

Lawrence Bartlett, the head of refugee admissions in the State Department’s bureau of Population Refugees and Migration was recently benched and assigned as a “senior adviser” to the FOIA office. His case was first reported by Reuters.

The State Department said Bartlett’s assignment was temporary but has not said whether he would return to the post or whether someone would cover his position in his absence.

Several current and former officials fear the decision to reassign Bartlett, a leading advocate for refugees in the State Department, is part of the Trump administration’s wider effort to limit refugee resettlement in the US.

Much more here.

Posted in Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Trump | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

UN: Western countries not ‘welcoming’ enough ‘refugees’ now residing in Indonesia

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 3, 2018

Let’s be clear right off the bat.  Indonesia is a Muslim country and most of those attempting to pass through Indonesia (arriving there illegally), with a goal of being resettled in the US, Australia, Canada, or Europe, are Muslims.

What happened to the supposedly humanitarianism of Islam and governments ruled by it?  Why are these people our problem in the first place?  

The truth is that Indonesia doesn’t want them either!

For years the UN has been processing illegal aliens arriving in Indonesia from Somalia etc. in to your US towns via the US State Department.  Frankly it needs to stop and it looks like it is slowing.

I just checked Wrapsnet for processing through Indonesia to the US and found that we admitted 18 cases (21 individuals indicating most are single (men?) people, hmmm) in the first three months of FY18 (beginning Oct. 1, 2017).

Indonesia waiting

Waiting in Indonesia for a ticket to America, Australia, Canada, Europe…..

Here is Gulf News (NY Times story):

(Journalism 101 requires that every refugee story begins with a sob story!)

JAKARTA: Ebrahim Adam fled armed conflict in his home region of Darfur, Sudan, in 2011, and ended up seeking asylum in Indonesia, hoping to be eventually resettled in Australia or another Western country so he could resume his dream of being an economist. [Usually they want to be doctors, so they say!—ed]

But after languishing for nearly seven years in Indonesia — where he cannot legally work, access public services or obtain citizenship — Ebrahim recently received bad news: His resettlement is unlikely to ever happen. The UN Refugee Agency’s office in Indonesia has begun informing the nearly 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia that they should not expect to be welcomed by another country. Instead, they should prepare to assimilate into Indonesian society as best they can, or consider returning to their strife-torn countries.

 

[….]

Analysts said Ebrahim faces additional obstacles: He is single, Muslim and of military age, which could make countries worried about terrorism less likely to take him in.

[….]

Globally, there are more than 24 million certified refugees and asylum seekers, the highest levels since the Second World War, according to the United Nations.

Historically, the chances of refugees ever being resettled are only around 1 per cent.

Those refugees residing in Indonesia face the additional obstacle that the United States and Australia, the two main resettlement destinations for refugees here, have put in place more stringent immigration policies, further decreasing their already long odds.

Mark Getchell

“Mark Getchell, the IOM’s chief of mission in Indonesia, said the policy changes in Australia and the United States, combined with a reluctance by Canada, New Zealand and European nations to take in additional refugees, means the number of resettlements are only about 400 people a year now in Indonesia.” (IOM is a branch of the UN)

[….]

The situation of refugees hoping for resettlement in the West became more dire after President Donald Trump took office last January. His administration’s travel ban blocks people from eight countries from entering the US, including Somalia, the country with the second-highest number of refugees and asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia.

400 too many!

Last year, only about 400 refugees living in Indonesia were resettled in the United States, according to the United Nations. Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN refugee convention, which prohibits governments from returning people fleeing persecution to areas where they face serious threats, but the country has allowed certified refugees to remain here as they await resettlement in a third country.

[….]

For years, asylum-seekers from the Middle East and South Asia have used Indonesia as a transit point to reach Australia, boarding rickety wooden boats run by human smugglers for the perilous voyage across the Indian Ocean.

In 2013, however, the Australian government adopted strict new measures to discourage future arrivals by immediately transferring those who made it to its shores to spartan detention centers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, and refusing to ever consider them for resettlement.

But, golly gee, now we get the booby prize!  We admit to America those same lawbreakers who attempted to get to Australia and were detained. And, we pay for it thanks to the Obama “dumb” deal that Trump agreed to!

More from Gulf News here.

It would make enormous sense if the UN spent more time persuading Indonesia to keep their coreligionists, and promote a PR campaign through Africa and the Middle East that there is no ticket to the West through Indonesia!

Posted in Asylum seekers, Australia, Changing the way we live, Colonization, Immigration fraud, Muslim refugees, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Stealth Jihad, The Opposition, Trump, Who is going where | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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