Update April 26, 2015: Need a photo? Here are two.
A few months ago A year ago Two
Three years ago, Six years Seven years ago it came to our attention in Washington County MD that a non-profit group (Virginia Council of Churches) had been bringing refugees into the city of Hagerstown (county seat) for a couple of years. Some problems arose and citizens started to take an interest and ask questions about how this federal program works. Our local paper had no interest in finding the facts, so we decided to find them ourselves.
One of the many startling things we found out about this very quiet effort is that these non-profit groups bring to the US on average each year 15,000 (FY90-FY03) Muslim refugees from the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, etc, almost completely funded by the US Government through grants and contracts to these non-government agencies. Of the 168 refugees brought to our county since 2004, 125 are Muslim. Although we all have sympathy for persecuted and suffering people there are real questions to be answered about the wisdom of this policy.
It turns out that there are hotbeds of this refugee resettlement controversy throughout the US. We have identified some of those. Because the issue is much more complicated than we initially realized, we have set up this online community organizing center at https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/ .
Here is a post (written on November 19, 2009) that explains in some detail what we are about, it is entitled “Answering Dust, and other new readers.”
Dust is a commenter and apparently a new reader somehow connected to the mess in Bowling Green, KY who can’t refrain from name-calling of someone she/he disagrees with (not us, but another commenter), so I won’t be posting her (I’m assuming this is a woman) comment of yesterday. However, she says something to the effect that ”all of a sudden we want an investigation of how refugees are cared for” and that’s how I know she is new to RRW.
Thanks Dust for reminding me that since our readership is going through the roof, we should from time to time clarify for new readers our guiding principles here at RRW.
I don’t want to write a book because I have a dozen more interesting pieces of news to write about today and this is voluntary work—call it a charitable contribution from Judy and Ann (me) every day—so I don’t have much time. These are my reasons (in no particular order) for writing this blog.
You will see that most of our posts focus on these themes:
*First, Dust, we have been calling for an investigation of the refugee resettlement program from the very beginning, ever since we saw refugees placed in slum buildings where we live more than 3 years ago. Because there is a ‘presumption of good intentions’ almost no one reports problems with the program—certainly not the mainstream media.
* As a conservative I don’t believe the government should be taking money from citizens and giving it with virtually no oversight to non-profit groups and churches. Funding your charitable causes is not a function of government. Real charity, Dust, is for you to put your time and money into caring for people—immigrants, refugees or other impoverished people—not badgering others to do so or taking (stealing!) their money to redistribute it to others.
* Refugee families should be individually sponsored by churches or other groups in a truly charitable endeavor, and we should not take more families than we can take care of. There are millions of refugees in the world and we will be only able to take so many, so we should be doing it right.
Let me remind you of what that Iraqi refugee boy said in Arizona last year, here.
It is better to have 10 Iraqi refugees who are satisfied with their lives than having 100 angry ones with no life at all.
* There needs to be a national debate about how many refugees and other immigrants we take and from what cultures they come from. Frankly, we have made a grievous error in taking the Muslim refugees, Somalis in particular, who have no intention of becoming Americans. They are here to change America. Unfortunately, political correctness and a worshipful attitude toward multiculturalism have blinded us. The explosion on this front is yet to come and it will be like the Major Hasan slaughter at Ft. Hood and there will be much fingerpointing and gnashing of teeth about who is to blame primarily at the US State Department.
It is my view, that the ‘diversity is strength’ line is way overused, and mostly hogwash.
* Again, and we have said this on many occasions, we should have a debate about who comes to America and how many, but once they are here (and until there is some sensible reform of the program), these agencies contracted to resettle the refugees better darn well do their jobs. Dust, we have written over 2,500 posts since July 2007 and hundreds of them involve refugee resettlement agencies who have left refugees in the lurch, Bowling Green is just one more in a long line.
* The refugee resettlement program has become a bureaucracy where agencies, both government and non-profit, need to protect jobs, buy buildings, expand “services,” and like any other government-funded industry they have in my opinion forgotten their original mission.
* In that national debate about how many refugees we take, there needs to be a realistic discussion about the impact of the increased number of people on our natural resources (air, water, energy), how many schools, houses, cars etc. will be needed and what impact will that have on open space and quality of life.
* It is wrong to bring refugees to the US and have some insider deals with large industries, like the meatpackers, for cheap labor especially when apparently the refugees are not told the full story abroad. If the volags are making deals with industry, then let’s get it out in the open instead of hiding behind that presumption of good intentions. Also, Dust, do you think it’s fair for unemployed Americans to have to compete with people who have government-funded employment agencies scouting jobs for them as the refugees do?
* And, it makes no sense to bring in tens of thousands of refugees and place them on welfare and other public assistance either. Unless of course you are a proponent of the Cloward-Piven/Alinsky strategy of bringing about crisis to crash our form of government. As a matter of fact, I have joked previously that if the refugees came to the US and all registered as Republicans, this program would end overnight!
* This is getting too long, but I must make this point. The program must be reformed, it is crumbling in the on-going recession, there will be more Bowling Greens. One major reform I want to see is that local communities that will be receiving refugees be completely and thoroughly informed of the good and bad aspects of the program. They should have the whole truth laid out. If the program is good the public will accept it, but if the volags and the federal government can’t sell it (with all the facts on the table!) to the community then the community shouldn’t have to accept any refugees. We help bring facts to citizens of those communities.
* We also educate with articles from around the world on refugees, so readers know what is happening elsewhere.
Sorry, this got much longer than I intended, but one final thing. Judy and I don’t care what you call us! Some of you reading this have for way too long intimidated and silenced people you disagree with by calling them racists, xenophobes, hatemongers and on and on and on. It doesn’t work here, in fact, when you start with that sort of attack and don’t address the issues we raise, it validates our work.