Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for the ‘Reforms needed’ Category

Trump: No refugee resettlement unless local community supports it

Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 7, 2016

More on what Trump said in little Mogadishu, Minnesota yesterday (earlier post is here).   Dashing out, no time to say more.  Read it all at Breitbart, here.

“A Trump administration will not admit any refugees without the support of the local community where they are being placed,” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of more than 5,000 who greeted him at the Sun Country Airlines hangar of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport on Sunday.

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Trump’s statement marked the first time he explicitly declared that if he is elected president, refugees will not be resettled “without the support of the local community where they are being placed.”

The Refugee Act of 1980’s “consultation clause” requires that the federal government and the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement must consult with elected officials of state and local jurisdictions prior to the placement of refugees in their jurisdictions.

The Obama administration, however, has routinely failed to comply with this requirement. Only in the past several years have officials with the Office of Refugee Resettlement regularly communicated with states about refugees, but those communications typically come after the arrival of the refugees, rather than in advance of their arrival, as the Refugee Act of 1980 requires.

While the Refugee Act of 1980 requires the federal government to consult with local governments as well as state governments, Breitbart News has reported on several local governments who say they’ve never received any communications from the federal government before or after the resettlement of refugees.

More here.

When Trump wins we can start talking about the details of how to reform or stop the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program.

Unless there is incredible refugee news, this might be my last post until Wednesday because I have some election day duties tomorrow.

Posted in 2016 Presidential campaign, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | Tagged: | 17 Comments »

“Advocacy” is code for Lobbying as Lutheran federal refugee contractor advertises for DC office

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 29, 2016

We have told you about this on previous occasions over the years, but it bears repeating! The nine major federal resettlement contracting agencies, that like to call themselves VOLAGs (Voluntary agencies! Ha! Ha!), have lobbyists in Washington to not only protect their flow of federal dollars, but to promote their Open Borders agenda.

And, that means not just “advocating” for more refugees, but all of the contractors have worked on past initiatives by Congress for so-called ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform.’

lirs-building

This is where LIRS is headquartered and a few years ago I got this description from their website: The Lutheran Center (LIRS headquarters) is a six-story structure constructed in 1999 on property owned by Baltimore’s historic Christ Lutheran Church. The building is located near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in the historic Federal Hill neighborhood, a charming area rich with history and an eclectic array of eateries and shopping venues. (Congress gives them your money to keep the whole thing going!)

Wouldn’t you think that agencies like the Lutherans here would not want the country flooded with illegals-made-legal while they were charged with finding work for their tens of thousands of legal refugees?

I don’t want to wander back into the weeds of the Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate, but the refugee contractors were in the thick of it (lobbying for its passage) because if it had become law, they would have gotten more paid “clients” that they would help get signed up for welfare, job training, medicaid, etc.

I meant to make this quick and I will.  Check out Gates of Vienna (GoV) blog here (hat tip: Richard at Blue Ridge Forum) discussing the job announcement for a DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY.

That is ‘fancy-schmancy’ language which simply means—-LOBBYIST.

O.K. fine, they can have a lobbyist too, but the big question is this—-are you paying for their lobbyist???

Their advertisement says this:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is a national faith-based organization with a 77-year history, a budget of approximately $58 million per year, and over 100 headquarters staff.

BTW, that headquarters is in a very nice building at the posh Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

And GoV wonders how much of the $58 million is your money.  I can answer that because I just analyzed LIRS finances last month, here.

From the most recent available Form 990 (2014) we learned this:

Total revenue for that year was $59,862,898

Total federal grants were $55,341,275

And, they also received from your money $1,817,755 for a loan service fee.

95% of their income comes from you—-the taxpayer!

Without the money that CONGRESS appropriates to them they would dry up and blow away!

DEFUND!!!

The only power you have right now to try to slow the juggernaut is if you can persuade your Representatives in Washington (your Congressman and US Senators) to DEFUND the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program on the FY2017 Budget that Congress must pass by December 9th.

We have no taxpayer-funded lobbyists working for us. In fact there is NO lobbyist working exclusively on our side—the side that wants to slow the flow—of the refugee issue.

Frankly, if you don’t even try to do this then you can keep complaining (in comments to me and on social media) about the program until America is gone!

Why do you think LIRS needs a Director of ADVOCACY in Washington DC? Because they get it—they know that Congress holds the purse strings!  Your money is their lifeblood!

Endnote: for all of you having problems with a Lutheran resettlement contractor in your state, this Baltimore-headquartered Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is their mothership!

Posted in Changing the way we live, Colonization, Community destabilization, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Taxpayer goodies, The Opposition | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Reminder! These are the House members who should be automatically on the side of DEFUNDING the Refugee Admissions Program

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 26, 2016

At least they should support any effort in the lame duck session of Congress coming up a week after the election to defund the program until certain problems have been resolved—primarily the weak screening process—and to pause the program as a new administration comes into office in the new year.

Don’t forget, the Obama Administration is working quickly right now to front end the huge flow of refugees Obama wants for FY17.

Here is what I said in September and it still applies (with updates!):

In my previous post I told you that it is not too late to tell key members of Congress to protect your towns by cutting funding in the Final Budget for FY2017 for refugee admissions for 2017 from terror-producing regions of the world and elsewhere which must be passed before Congress recesses for Christmas.

2016housecalendar

This is the House calendar as it stands right now. Check out how little they actually work! They will be back on the 14th of November and the 2017 Budget must be done by December 9th. And, btw, the 2017 fiscal year began on October 1st, so they are already way behind (as usual)!

Those likely to be on the side of making America safe again are House Freedom Caucus members listed below.

Those crossed off signed on to the earlier Babin/Brat letter but be sure to contact them again to urge them to join a new effort in November.

Again, those crossed off below have already taken a brave position, but focus your calls on all Freedom Caucus members. Tell them to check in with Rep. Brian Babin’s (R-TX) office to see what the plan is for the lame duck.

Only 13 days left before the election to get a commitment from them!

Jim Jordan of Ohio, Chair
Justin Amash of Michigan
Brian Babin of Texas
Rod Blum of Iowa
Dave Brat of Virginia
Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma
Mo Brooks of Alabama
Ken Buck of Colorado
Curt Clawson of Florida
Warren Davidson of Ohio
Ron DeSantis of Florida
Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
John Fleming of Louisiana
Trent Franks of Arizona
Scott Garrett of New Jersey
Louie Gohmert of Texas
Paul Gosar of Arizona
Morgan Griffith of Virginia
Andy Harris of Maryland
Jody Hice of Georgia
Walter Jones of North Carolina
Steve King of Iowa
Raúl Labrador of Idaho
Barry Loudermilk of Georgia
Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
Mark Meadows of North Carolina
Alex Mooney of West Virginia
Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina
Gary Palmer of Alabama
Steve Pearce of New Mexico
Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
Ted Poe of Texas
Bill Posey of Florida
Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania
Matt Salmon of Arizona
Mark Sanford of South Carolina
David Schweikert of Arizona
Marlin Stutzman of Indiana
Randy Weber of Texas
Ted Yoho of Florida

Don’t know who your Congressman is, click here and put in your zipcode.

This is the third in a series of posts on DEFUNDING the Refugee Admissions Program in the FY2017 Budget.  See Texas, here and Idaho, here.  All posts on this topic are tagged ‘where is Congress.’

Posted in Changing the way we live, creating a movement, Muslim refugees, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Taxpayer goodies | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Tennessee’s Tenth Amendment case against federal Refugee Admissions Program is moving ahead!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 25, 2016

Here is the breaking news from Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart:

The Tennessee General Assembly has selected the Thomas More Law Center to represent the state in its lawsuit against the federal government over the resettlement of refugees in the Volunteer State.

thomas-more-law

The Ann Arbor, Michigan based nonprofit public interest law firm made the announcement in a press statement released on Tuesday.

The Thomas More Law Center will represent the state free of charge in the “constitutional challenge to the federal government’s refugee resettlement program as a violation of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Tennessee is one of twelve states that have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program in which it is operated by the federal government under the statutorily-questionable Wilson Fish alternative program. Texas is the thirteenth state to withdrawn from the federal program, effective in January. Two additional states, Vermont and Massachusetts, allow the federal government to resettle refugees within their boundaries under the Wilson Fish alternative program, but have not withdrawn from the federal program.

Continue reading here.

This lawsuit is available for only those so-called Wilson Fish states (feds and a non-profit contractor call the shots on resettlement bypassing the state legislature) that have withdrawn from the federal program.  As mentioned above, Texas is the most recent one to do so.  Within the last year Kansas and New Jersey have withdrawn as well, so they don’t yet appear on this outdated ORR list.

So what should you do—tell your state to withdraw and then have the governor sign up as a plaintiff with the Thomas More Law Center!

But, don’t forget to pressure your member of Congress to DEFUND the program in the lame duck session of Congress next month.  This lawsuit is going to take a little while to work its way through the system and in the meantime (if Trump isn’t elected) we could have another quarter of a million refugees spread out across 49 states (assuming Wyoming continues to hold out!) by the time a legal judgement and the appeals process has been exhausted.

Here are the Wilson Fish states.  By the way, there is one county on the list (San Diego County) so this could mean a county could withdraw and join the lawsuit.  I’m not a lawyer, but I can’t see why that wouldn’t work!

Alabama
Alaska
Colorado
Idaho
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
Nevada
North Dakota
South Dakota
Tennessee
Vermont

And then New Jersey, Kansas and Texas have joined the list.

Come on Governors Abbott (TX), Brownback (KS) and Christie (NJ) show some fight!

Posted in Pockets of Resistance, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Obama State Department is pouring refugees in at rate to admit 135,000 by September 2017

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 23, 2016

Just as we predicted, Obama’s State Department is admitting refugees at a rate not seen in decades. Are they trying to flood the zone before a possible Trump Administration takes the reins of government in January?  We think so!

I was having such fun researching numbers for my previous post, here, that I thought I would check the general flow for all refugees being admitted in the first three weeks of Fiscal Year 2017.  Obama has proposed a refugee admission plan for 110,000 refugees to be placed in your towns by September 30, 2017.  However, at the rate they are coming in, 135,000 could be here by that date.  (Most of Obama’s plans for previous years averaged much less than 70,000 a year***.)

SAMSUNG

Minnesota is the top resettlement state for Somalis. It is also the top secondary migration state as Somalis resettled elsewhere head there in large numbers. Note the Somali flags in this photo.

The 110,000 is a ceiling, so presumably to reach 135,000 they would have to “consult” with a weak Congress.

According to data maintained at the Refugee Processing Center, we admitted 7,780 refugees in the last 3 weeks.  That is 2,593 a week (from all religions and countries). Multiply that by 52 weeks in the year and we get 134,853.

Muslim refugees…

What I want to point out here are the Muslim refugees (3,517 in the first three weeks) and all of the different countries they come from. While we focus on the Syrians and the problems with vetting, make no mistake, they can’t properly vet any of these Muslims who we have picked up all over the world.

And, what good is vetting when the little kids we raised on our dime grow up to be jihadists as we have seen many times among Somali refugees primarily from Minnesota.

The most shocking number below is for Somalis in the first 3 weeks.  We are bringing them in at a rate NEVER seen. At this rate (335 a week) we could bring in over 17,000 by the end of the fiscal year Go here to see the top years we have ever had for Somali resettlement.  The previous top year was in the Bush Administration (2004) when we admitted, 12,814.

The United Nations wants to clean out the Somali camps in Kenya and it sure looks like we said, “yes master!”

So here are the countries from which we received Muslim refugees in the last 3 weeks (October 1 to October 21, 2016):

Afghanistan (173)

Azerbaijan (2)

Burma (180) These are the devout Rohingya! We have no data on them as they have left Burma! We pick them up in Malaysia and throughout that region of the world.

Central African Republic (13)

DR Congo (71) We were led to believe all of those from DR Congo were NOT Muslims

Djibouti (2)

Eritrea (6)

Ethiopia (65)

Iran (32)

Iraq (818)

Ivory Coast (3)

Mali (1)

Pakistan (9)

Rep. of S. Sudan (2)

Sierra Leone (1)

Somalia (1,007) This is a resettlement rate never seen before.

Sudan (75)

Syria (1,054)

Uganda (3)

Uzbekistan (1)

See this map below from the Refugee Processing Center showing where the 1,007 Somalis were distributed in the last 3 weeks. It won’t take long for large numbers of them to move to Minnesota as secondary migrants (they want to be with their own kind of people!).

 

screenshot-51

 

This map depicts Somali resettlement for the first 3 weeks of FY2017.  Alaska didn’t fit on the map, but it got 4.

Don’t like what you see?

There is only one thing you can do to slow this flow (besides electing Donald Trump) which at this rate would bring around 135,000 refugees to America by next fall and that is to persuade your member of Congress and US Senators to DEFUND the program in the lame duck Budget debate coming in November. 

See the first in a series of posts on the lame duck budget process by clicking here. This is not about Obama, your Congressional Representatives have the power to rein this in if they wanted to (and they don’t want you to know that they have that power!).

You have 16 days before election day to get a commitment from your Washington, DC representatives to DEFUND!

*** Check out this table which shows about the last ten years of refugee ceilings then actual resettlement numbers.  You can see it averages less than 70,000 a year. So at 135,000 that is almost double anything we have admitted in more than a decade. (I was too lazy to look up our final tally for 2016, but it came in around the 85,000 mark).

screenshot-26

Posted in Changing the way we live, Colonization, Community destabilization, Muslim refugees, Obama, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Who is going where | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

DEFUND Refugee Program: Calling on Texas where key House and Senate legislators reside

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 21, 2016

This is the first in a series of posts I will be writing in the coming weeks haranguing readers and all those concerned with the rapidly expanding UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program (RAP).

2016housecalendar

Although it is wonderful to see and hear about all the great things you are doing to educate the public and pressure your local and state officials about problems you see with the RAP, but frankly there is only one place (besides electing Donald Trump) where you should be putting most of your energy over the coming weeks.

Keep it simple! DEFUND the Refugee program!

Use all of your local action to pressure your Member of Congress and US Senators to DEFUND the RAP on the final budget vote which must happen by December 9th.

At right is the House of Representatives calendar for the remainder of the year (subject to change, as they say, post election). There is little time!

The Obama Administration has said they want 110,000 refugees (20,000-30,000 will be Syrian Muslims) admitted to the US by September 30, 2017.  If the Dept. of State (DOS) and the ORR (in Health and Human Services) do not have the money for that many, they will not be able to bring in that vast number.  It is that simple.

The present Continuing Resolution has the program funded at the 2016 level (which is not enough money for 110,000 either).

Go Texas!

Already the state has shown that the will of the people is to not bring in more refugees (based on Governor Abbott’s strong stance on the program).  However, the DOS and the federal resettlement contractors there are thumbing their noses at the governor and have made Texas once again the top resettlement state in the nation this fiscal year already, see hereMake no mistake! This is about turning the red state blue!

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Tell your member of Congress to follow Texas Rep. Brian Babin’s lead to defund the Refugee Admissions Program.

A few weeks ago, relentless and brave Rep. Brian Babin made an attempt to cut the funding for the RAP on the Continuing Resolution with this letter and with a visit to the House Rules Committee seeking a rider for that CR.  Rules did not grant him his request.

However, we expect to see another effort by Dr. Babin on the looming FY2017 Budget right after the election.

We are told that he is committed to seeking out every opportunity to defund the refugee program, including in any must-pass budget legislation, and will be looking for other Members of Congress to join him in this effort.

All of you must go to your Congressman right now in the weeks before the election and pressure them to support any effort by Congressman Babin to rein-in the program.

However, in our first in a series of posts, it is members of the powerful Texas delegation that are critical to this effort.

Before I get to the Texas targets…. 

I can’t emphasize enough that by controlling the flow of money for costly resettlement, it consequently reduces the number to be resettled.  At present the Administration is working overtime to get as many refugees resettled before Inauguration Day in January.  If Hillary wins they will have a jump on possibly an even greater flow (she will use emergency powers) for the remainder of the year (assuming they get $$$ out of Congress).

If Donald Trump wins it will likely take a few months to slow the flow because he will have to get his people placed, especially in the State Department where Anne Richard would have to be gone ASAP.  I anticipate there will be much screaming and crying that there are thousands of refugees in the pipeline and it would be heartless to stop the flow especially if Congress has granted them a huge budget for FY2017.

So, it all comes back to Congress and funding! The House of Representatives is most important, but you must reach your Senators too!

Although they might like to stay in the shadows, here are the key members of the House that Texas patriots must target in coming weeks! These are some of the most important REPUBLICAN members with the power to rein-in the program!

House Appropriations Committee members from Texas:

Kay Granger

John Culbertson

John Carter

House Judiciary Committee members (some of these are already friendly to our concerns) from Texas (Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the RAP):

Lamar Smith

Louie Gohmert

Ted Poe

Blake Farenthold

John Ratcliffe

House Rules Committee members from Texas:

Pete Sessions (Chairman!)

Michael Burgess

House Homeland Security Committee members from Texas (because more than perhaps others, these members understand the security risks):

Michael McCaul (Chairman!)

Lamar Smith

Will Hurd

John Ratcliffe

Do you see how important Texas members of Congress are?  Those are the members above and also Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn who have the real power to slow the flow of refugees to Texas and to America!

Call on Cruz and Cornyn to follow Rep. Brian Babin’s initiative to defund the program on the Senate side.

See all of those above on the campaign trail and make sure they get the message from you before they return to Washington on November 14th!

If you don’t live in Texas, keep pressure on your member (and on Speaker Paul Ryan!) to back Rep. Babin.  In the coming days and weeks we will have more targets in other states.  Stay tuned!

For more posts about Congress budgetary role, go to our tag ‘Where is Congress’

Posted in creating a movement, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

Testimony to Senator Jeff Sessions on FY2017 Obama plan for refugee resettlement

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 17, 2016

Editor: This is another excellent testimony submitted for the record on Senator Sessions’ hearing (Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest) we reported here.

We posted another testimony from a concerned citizen, here, on October 9th.  I know it is much more interesting to read about some hot news on refugee and immigration issues generally, but I encourage you to take the time to read expert testimony like this (below) so that you have a deeper understanding of how the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program works.

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Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is a top advisor to the Donald Trump Presidential campaign. If you vote for Trump, you can be assured that Sessions sanity on immigration will be a significant force in a Trump Administration.

You cannot effectively seek to ‘reform’ this program if you have only a cursory understanding of how it works.

As over-used as the phrase is, it is still imperative to understand that ‘knowledge is power’ (which has been a driving motivation for my 9 years of writing this blog).

Joanne from Tennessee responded to my request that some of you send in testimony, here

If you sent testimony and want me to have a look at it (with the possibility of posting it here at RRW), please send it to refugeewatcher@gmail.com with a prominent subject line using the word ‘testimony.’ I apologize if you have done it already and I’ve missed it.  Please send it again.

Here is Joanne’s testimony:

October 1, 2016

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Sessions,

First I would like to thank you for your leadership on the issue of refugee resettlement and for exposing some of the ways in which this program operates to the extreme detriment of national security and the economic prospects of many struggling American citizens.

If ever there was a federal program that should be required to appear in public to answer questions and justify any funding, it is the one you oversee. The federal refugee resettlement program has increasingly operated without sufficient public scrutiny or meaningful input from all stakeholders, but with plenty of ham-handed federal bureaucracy.

People are rightfully alarmed about increasing information that has exposed the fiction otherwise called “vetting.” The 18-24 month standard reply has now been debunked with the news that the administration is accelerating “vetting” to 90 days, an arbitrary timeline at best. Even more concerning, is the news about looking at “alternative safe pathways” that would bypass the resettlement protocols currently in place in order to meet the President’s artificially established Syrian numbers.

As defined by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement’s report to Congress resettlement stakeholders include: resettlement agencies, state refugee coordinators, refugee health coordinators, ethnic community-based organizations and ORR technical assistance providers. How can it be that the taxpayers in the receiving communities are not considered relevant stakeholders in this process? It would seem that now, more than ever, that ORR must stop excluding residents of local communities from being recognized as having a very real stake in this program and the process.

The federal contractors’ proposed resettlement numbers are never made public prior to acceptance and award of federal funds. The very communities that are directly impacted are not considered stakeholders nor offered any opportunity prior to award for meaningful input into these decisions. This past year I spent a considerable amount of time and effort using FOIA and was still unable to have last year’s resettlement proposals disclosed.

Years ago I served as a volunteer with a resettlement agency. Over time I have watched this program be transformed into an industry for government contractors with little to no oversight, transparency or accountability to taxpayers. The Cooperative Agreement which VOLAGs execute requiring that federal funds only “augment” privately raised funds is simply ignored. For example, the 2014 USCCB financial report shows that $80 million was taxpayer money with another $10 million in administrative fees. That funding was the predominant source of the USCCB money despite the provisions in the Cooperative Agreement they have signed with the State Department.

Nor is the USCCB the exception among the nationally contracted VOLAGs.

In fact, when the cost of the refugee resettlement program is discussed, it is confined to the State Department’s PRM appropriation and does not include the public money sent to resettlement agencies through the many U.S. HHS grants.

Federal grants like the “Refugee Home Based Childcare Microenterprise Development Project” suggest that rather than using even more government funding to employ women in home-based childcare enclaves, the money would be better spent if at all, putting these children and mothers into existing community-based childcare settings where they would be exposed to English and American norms.

While federally funded Ethnic Community Self-Help organizations and Mutual Assistance Associations are made to sound like good ideas, in reality they are yet one more avenue to funnel public dollars to refugee based organizations that use public dollars to claim refugee employment. Rather than assist refugees to integrate or even marginally, assimilate into their new communities, these organizations are designed to “ensur[e] that their charges retain strong ethnic and homeland ties.”

The increased per capita funding structure incentivizes resettlement contractors to increase their numbers regardless of whether it results in a lower standard of services provided to refugees. The 2012 GAO report “Greater Consultation with Community Stakeholders Could Strengthen Program” validates this position:

“Because refugees are generally placed in communities where national voluntary agency affiliates have been successful in resettling refugees, the same communities are often asked to absorb refugees year after year. One state refugee coordinator noted that local affiliate funding is based on the number of refugees they serve, so affiliates have an incentive to maintain or increase the number of refugees they resettle each year rather than allowing the number to decrease.”

No where is there ever an accounting of the federal costs of this federal program that have been openly shifted to state and local governments in direct contravention of the original intent of the Congress that passed the 1980 law. And it goes without saying, that the cost to taxpayers for all public assistance programs such as Medicaid, TANF, public housing and food stamps is likewise not included in assessing the fiscal impact of this program.

Any attempt at objective discourse about how contractor resettlement business impacts the community in which they operate, is met with disdain. Local affiliate offices do not hesitate to publicly denigrate any taxpayer who raises legitimate questions about the functionality and cost of the program. Propaganda films like “Welcome to Shelbyville” and the “Refugee Resettlement 101” now being offered by local affiliates across the country, are used to mislead the public and suggest that anyone who questions what is occurring within the resettlement industry, is at best, just “unwelcoming,” racist and bigoted.

At a minimum, States should have final control over resettlement activities within their state borders

Since states incur the on-going, long-term cost associated with refugees, states should have complete control over resettlement activities within their borders.

The 1981 Select Commission on Immigration & Refugee Policy (“Select Commission”), repeatedly addressed the financial impact on receiving communities. “Many state and local officials are concerned that the costs of resettlement assistance will continue beyond the period of federal reimbursement and that the burden of providing services will then fall upon their governments.”

The Select Commission seemed to well understand the fiscal issue for a federal program where the long-term costs would be passed to state and local governments. “Areas with high concentrations of refugees are adversely affected by increased pressures on schools, hospitals and other community services. Although the federal government provides 100 percent reimbursement for cash and medical assistance for three years, it does not provide sufficient aid to minimize the impact of refugees on community services.”

In 1982, just two years after the 1980 Refugee Act was passed, reduction in federal support started with federal cash and medical assistance reduced to 18 months. In 1988 it was reduced again to 12 months and again in 1991 to 8 months, which remains the current level. In 1986, the federal government began to reduce reimbursement to states for the state-funded portion of welfare, Medicaid and SSI, eliminating it altogether by 1991 and shifting these additional costs to the states.

The cost shift has been openly and repeatedly acknowledged by the federal government. And yet, these increasing costs are never acknowledged when calculating the true dollar cost of the program. The 2010 Senate hearing started to identify the significant costs states are forced to incur because of the federal program.

The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement places such a high premium on shifting refugee healthcare costs to states, that even the ORR Voluntary Agencies Matching Grant Program Guidelines on page 9 states that: “ORR recognizes that weekly cash payments may make certain MG cases ineligible for the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. Thus, local Matching Grant Program service providers may give some of the weekly allowance in the form of vouchers if such a form of payment is in the overall best interest of the client and he/she concurs.”

In other words, circumvent the program’s rules to shift more cost to the state taxpayer. State governments that decided to expand their Medicaid programs probably did not anticipate that the Department of Health and Human Services briefing on “Key Indicators for Refugee Placement” would so quickly advise considering Medicaid expansion when deciding refugee placements.

With regard to states that have withdrawn from the resettlement program, the federal government does not have the legislative authority to assign an NGO to continue the program in that state. This unconstitutional encroachment on the 10th amendment right of states is barred both by law and U.S. Supreme Court decisions and must cease.

“Self-sufficiency” terminology should be replaced with specific reporting on public assistance utilization, temporary v non-temporary employment and the number of refugees resettled each year who are considered to be “unemployable”

Despite documentation of high percentages of Medicaid and food stamp utilization, high “self-sufficiency” rates are reported by the refugee resettlement contractors. It is misleading to describe anyone, including refugees, as self-sufficient when they also receive publicly funded assistance in the form of food stamps, Medicaid and public housing. And still federal contractors are able to report high self-sufficiency rates for refugees as long as they do not receive cash welfare.

A past January post on the “Friends of Refugees” blog posted the following about Bridge’s Knoxville resettlement operations: “A former case manager also sent us information about the agency and pointed out that the refugee employment figures are dishonest as most of the refugees have only temporary employment that does not help them to pay rent and be self-sufficient. The nature of the temp jobs also means that the refugees will be unemployed just a short time after the agency reports them employed to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at 90 days and 180 days. (This, however, is a problem throughout the refugee program, and it doesn’t seem that the the ORR has much of an interest in requiring that resettlement agencies report if refugees are working at temporary or non-temporary jobs.)”

In states using the Wilson-Fish funding model, the number of refugees who ultimately end up using TANF, remains undisclosed and skewed by the 90 and 180 day employment reporting figures so we never have an honest accounting at the end of the 8 month taxpayer subsidy period. All the while, refugee contractors claim that the program is “fully funded by the federal government.” Simply not true especially when considered through the perspective of the documented shifting of federal costs to the state and local governments.

Public health issues should be resolved before funding more initial resettlement

TB among resettled populations has been a particular public health concern. It was reported in 2009 that the sharp increase in Minnesota’s active TB cases was tied to refugee resettlement. Because latent TB is not a bar to refugee admission, health officials have expressed concern about cases of drug-resistant TB being documented in communities with high refugee resettlement.

In 2012 the CDC reported that TB in “foreign-born persons increased to 63% of the national case total,” a percentage that has risen steadily since 1993.

More recently it was reported that “immigrants and those who travel to other countries frequently have the highest TB occurrence,” and that “many of these cases–approximately 450,000–are the drug-resistant form of TB that has developed from improper medication usage and medical protocols.”

In April, 2012, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement circulated a grant announcement titled “Strengthening Surveillance for Diseases Among Newly-Arrived Immigrants and Refugees” since it appears that there is no comprehensive tracking of this particular segment of public health concerns. More government money to throw at a government created problem.

Reports of depression and PTSD are now being reported as reasons that some refugees are unable to work. Among Bhutanese refugees that are being resettled, the CDC has documented a troubling statistic; a suicide rate higher than the national and global average. One explanation offered has been the lack of jobs and the resulting stress of unemployment not matching expectations of life in the U.S.

Conclusion

Public funds are spent, hearings are held, reports are published and yet, nothing is done proactively to respond to the problems and issues that are highlighted.

The federal agencies involved in refugee resettlement have enabled the growth of an industry
layered with ever multiplying federal grants but extraordinarily lax on transparency and accountability. Currently, the U.S. refugee resettlement program is administered in derogation of a state’s right to withdraw from the federal program and a state’s right to set state level funding prerogatives.

Proposed resettlement plans should be made publicly available before any award of funding and be subject to public comments and public hearings.

Rather than compounding the problems already identified, it may be time to temporarily suspend the resettlement program and focus on the health and employment needs of refugees already here. At the same time, Congress must cease denying the information and positions of every national intelligence agency that has highlighted the very real security concerns regarding the resettlement of refugees.

During deliberation of what finally was passed as the 1980 Act, then Attorney General Bell testified that the consultation required by the Act was on the order of a “wait and see” which he said operated as a legislative veto. While I well understand the Supreme Court’s position on legislative vetoes, it remains valid that the subcommittee understood that the detailed consultation requirements would effectively operate just as Attorney General Bell described it – as an “implicit veto power.”

I can only hope you will successfully persuade your colleagues to use it.

Respectfully submitted,

An afterthought: I should have mentioned that this is a legally required hearing under the Refugee Act of 1980 and that Rep. Trey Gowdy who is chairman of the corresponding subcommittee in the House of Representatives has failed to hold the required hearing in advance of the 2017 fiscal year.

Posted in 2016 Presidential campaign, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Wisconsin Refugee Agency may have scammed taxpayers big time!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 9, 2016

Call home Paul Ryan!  This outrageous “savings” program is one of many, you as Speaker of the House, need to investigate!

paul-ryan-beard

Speaker Paul Ryan has shown zero interest in reforming the Refugee Act of 1980. I wonder could we suggest Janesville (his home town) as one of the many new resettlement sites in America!

I’m guessing this is not an isolated case.

For new readers, Speaker Paul Ryan has not allowed any serious Refugee Act reform bills (he allowed one sham bill because he knew the Senate wouldn’t pass it anyway) to move forward in the House during his tenure as speaker and for that matter neither has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

These so-called ‘Individual Development Accounts’ are an abomination and potentially rife with fraud. When taxpayers learn about them (we have mentioned them on many occasions) they are shocked.

The federal government actually gives grants to non-profit refugee agencies to administer a program which allows refugees to get matching funds when they save money for four things (Education, business, home or car).

How would you like to get such a deal:

For every dollar a refugee saves, he/she is matched a dollar out of  the US Treasury (your pocket)!

But, again the program is managed by a resettlement contractor (with no accountability to the taxpayer) like this one in Milwaukee.  Financial audits/investigations of the contractors are rare.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel  (hat tip: Joanne):

A Milwaukee nonprofit that offers after-school programs for refugee children and other assistance for refugees is under investigation for alleged misuse of federal funds.

The Pan-African Community Association gave money to at least 32 people who were not eligible to receive funds, investigators with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement have found, according to records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the Freedom of Information Act.

ecdc-logo

The Ethiopian Community Development Council is one of nine federally funded refugee contractors that could not exist without your tax dollars. Go to this link to see if they have an office near you: http://www.ecdcus.org/Where_We_Work/affiliates.html

In addition, the organization violated terms of federal grants by spending more than 35% of its annual budget on administrative costs and paying individuals in the form of money orders, rather than paying vendors directly for items purchased, the reports state.

The association received more than $440,000 in federal funds from 2012 to 2015 to help refugees from Africa and around the world buy cars and houses and to open businesses in Milwaukee. Using Individual Development Accounts, the program was designed to offer matching grants to refugees who, for example, saved at least $2,000 of their own money to go toward the purchase of a car or $4,000 toward a house.

[….]

The Pan-African Community Association is contracted through the “preferred communities program,” with the Ethiopian Community Development Council. The council, in turn, is one of about 10 [nine actually—ed] national organizations — mostly faith-based — that the federal government contracts with to provide services to refugees.

Continue here for more of the gory details and denials.

I haven’t written about “preferred communities” since here in 2014. But, you might have a look and see if your city is one of them. They don’t change often.

Call Congress!

Time to listen to ‘Mom for Trump’ (I am not going to quit trying to persuade you that right now there is only one place to put pressure to slow the flow of third worlders to your towns—Congress!):

Ann, could you tell all your readers on a daily basis to call our useless Congress @ 202 224 3121 and have them say DEFUND REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM. I call daily and if enough of us do so, we can make a difference.

If you have problems getting a live person on the phone when you call Washington (like I did when I called my Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) the other day), then find out the locations and phone numbers of their district and state offices and call those.  When you have someone on the phone on Tuesday (they surely won’t be there on Monday), in addition to telling them to defund the program, find out where your member or Senator will be in the coming weeks and be there!  Ask (in person, in front of an audience) if he or she will Defund the Refugee Resettlement Program when they get back to DC after the election.

Posted in Africa, Crimes, diversity's dark side, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Resettlement cities, Taxpayer goodies | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Major states’ rights battle shaping up, if only the governors understood it!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 5, 2016

The other day we reported that the Texas governor withdrew the state from the FEDERAL Refugee Admissions Program (RAP) and some of you gave a sigh of relief (prematurely).

The federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement wasted no time in informing Texas that you will be a so-called ‘Wilson-Fish’ state.  I suspect other states that ‘withdrew’ recently including Kansas and New Jersey are probably already W-F states and experienced maybe a few months of bureaucratic chaos, but that resettlements there are probably moving right ahead.  (Disgusted, I have not followed the Kansas, New Jersey saga since the governors made their announcements there back in the spring.)

kaygranger

One of those members of the Texas delegation in Washington who has enormous power is the 4th in seniority on the House Appropriations Committee. Find her on the campaign trail. Call her local office(s). Tell her politely what you think about the RAP and tell her to work to DEFUND it in November.

We contend that the entire Wilson-Fish program, which is one where the state government has given up any role and a NON-PROFIT group is now running the show, is unconstitutional.

Think about it, in these states*** decisions about spending state taxpayer money is being made between the federal government and an unaccountable NON-PROFIT group.  (If you want to know more about Wilson-Fish, click here for our extensive archive).

Frankly Governor Abbott’s action of last week will only matter if he now sues the federal government on Tenth Amendment grounds.

Tennessee, also a Wilson-Fish state, has a lawsuit ready to go, but who knows when they will pull the trigger.

Here is the latest from KXXV.TV:

WACO, TX (KXXV) –The State of Texas has withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program after the governor stated it did not receive assurances it asked from the federal government. However, the federal agency who oversees the program stated this will not stop current services provided to refugees or future resettlement.

[….]

The Office of Refugee Resettlement said in a statement that it will continue to help current refugees and accept more into Texas.

“While we, of course, regret Texas’s decision, ORR is working to appoint designees to administer services to refugees in Texas until a later time when competitive bids will be accepted for a Wilson-Fish alternative program,” ORR said in a statement.

The Wilson-Fish programs serve as a replacement for a state when a state government doesn’t participate in the refugee assistance program, according to ORR.

Continue here.

This all points back to my recent harping!

It is the Republican Congress that has the power over the program right now because it is Congress that holds the purse strings. 

And, it is Congress that could reform or abolish the Refugee Act of 1980 (and the later unconstitutional Wilson-Fish provisions).  If Hillary doesn’t get to the White House!

However, Governor Abbott’s actions and any other state and local efforts to begin to control the monster are important actions so that the public becomes increasingly informed about what is happening to their communities. Every time you make the news or hold public meetings or write letters to the editor, you are waking up more people where you live, but then the next step is focusing like a laser on your Washington representatives.

(Every time you hold a public meeting be sure those in attendance know who your Congressman and Senators are and give them calling instructions before they leave the meeting!)

It is Congress and the President who will make the ultimate decisions about whether we will be flooded with impoverished third worlders many coming from countries that hate us!

If you live in Texas and are praising the Governor, please continue to do so, but you have a very powerful Congressional delegation in the state and one Congressman in particular, Rep. Brian Babin, willing to take on the powerful pro-refugee lobby (including the Chamber of Commerce!).

You need to breathe down the necks of the Texas delegation in Washington. Tell them to defund the Refugee Admissions Program.  Click here for the list.

They are all back in Texas campaigning and they will be returning (even the losers) for the Lame Duck session beginning in November.  There is one more shot this year to DEFUND the program and it will be in November and December!

Find them as they campaign and tell them what you think of the Refugee Admissions Program in Texas (it receives more refugees than any other state—they are turning red states blue!).

I hear ‘Mom for Trump’ calling…..

Ann, could you tell all your readers on a daily basis to call our useless Congress @ 202 224 3121 and have them say DEFUND REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM. I call daily and if enough of us do so, we can make a difference.

***Wilson-Fish states where the feds and a NON-PROFIT federal contractor call all the shots and your elected government has virtually no role.

Alabama
Alaska
Colorado
Idaho
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
Nevada
North Dakota
South Dakota
Tennessee
Vermont

I suspect these two are now officially W-F, but have not followed them recently:

Kansas

New Jersey

Posted in Pockets of Resistance, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

State Department and refugee lobby group work on private sponsorship scheme to get more refugees into the US

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 4, 2016

Update October 19th: More on this scheme. Remember the purpose is to get more refugees in to the country because this private scheme would be in ADDITION to the present system.

So, as it is described by one commenter: Instead of buying a $10,000 car in the coming year, what the heck adopt a Syrian refugee instead.

I would be a proponent of private sponsorship if it accompanied the complete abolition of the present system that involves middlemen federal contractors (the VOLAGs) being paid billions of tax dollars, and required the sponsor to pay for all costs associated with the refugees for a year or two. Congress would, of course, have the final say on numbers, security screening and nationalities permitted entry to the US in my hypothetical re-write of refugee law.

matthew-lacorte

Matthew LaCorte (one of the brains behind the plan) thinks $10,000 will get him a refugee—what for a month or two! Then what? The refugee he sponsored is on us!

But, this plan, which they are apparently hatching within the State Department and in cooperation with the Refugee Council USA (the resettlement industry’s lobbying arm), is a plan to bring in additional refugees over and above what Congress is willing to pay for.

(For those of you who think we have no impact, this indicates to me that the industry knows there are limits to how much of your money the Congress is willing to shell out to bring hundreds of thousands of impoverished refugees to your towns.)

This really is a pretty audacious concept since they apparently think they can do this ‘in house’ and not involve rewriting refugee law.  (Congress writes the laws, or have they forgotten?)

Here is the jaw-dropping (Bloomberg, of course!) story at the Chicago Tribune (hat tip: Julia):

Americans might be able to bring a refugee to the U.S. on their own dime if talks between the Obama administration and the nation’s leading refugee advocacy group come to fruition.

The State Department is considering a pilot program that would let citizens sponsor a refugee from their country of choice by paying for airfare, housing, clothing, food and other resettlement costs. Conversations began in July and are expected to continue in the coming year, said Naomi Steinberg, director of the Refugee Council USA.

The program, modeled after a similar one in Canada, is designed to crack open new sources of funding as growing anti-refugee sentiment in Congress threatens to cut resettlement programs.

“It puts Americans in the driver’s seat,” said Matthew La Corte, policy analyst at the Niskanen Center***, a Washington-based libertarian think tank that was an early supporter of the program. “It allows them to say ‘I have a spare bedroom. I was thinking of buying a new car but I’ll instead take that $10,000 and put it toward bringing a Syrian refugee over.”‘

[….]

Such a program would mark one of the biggest structural changes to U.S. refugee policy in three decades, and would allow Barack Obama or future presidents to skirt opposition by shifting financial responsibility to everyday Americans.

[I’m all for shifting all of the costs to those who are promoting refugee resettlement—ed]

[….]

For fiscal 2016, Congress appropriated $3.1 billion for refugee and migration assistance programs, the same level as two years earlier, according to figures from the agency.

Private sponsorship “is a good option in terms of increasing numbers without increasing budget outlays,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York. [Appleby was formerly the lobbyist in DC for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, we have a lot on him here at RRW—ed]

storella_197_1

State Department’s Mark Storella: we will be working on it this coming year (when Hillary gets to the White House). Photo: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/bureau/259069.htm

Refugee Council USA and the state department began talks about private sponsorship this summer, said Steinberg, director at the Washington-based agency, which is an umbrella group for 22 organizations.

The State Department plans to work on the issue “in the year to come,” according to a statement from Mark Storella, a deputy assistant secretary. [Looks like they are pretty confident Hillary will be in the White House.—ed]

[….]

Before any program is launched, critical points must be addressed, said Steinberg. The group wants to ensure that sponsorship does not replace existing government programs.

“The only private resettlement program that we could support would be one that increases the number of refugees who arrive in the U.S., while at the same time maintaining and even strengthening the U.S. government commitments,” Steinberg said.

Continue reading here.

*** What is in it for the libertarians at the Niskanen Center—cheap refugee labor for big business? Would someone tell me!

Posted in Legal immigration and jobs, Obama, Reforms needed, Refugee Resettlement Program, Taxpayer goodies, The Opposition | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

 
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