As the drumbeat intensifies to open our arms to Iraqi refugees, Asst. Sec. of State Ellen Sauerbrey speaking at a hearing before the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom yesterday stressed the point that seems to be lost in the discussion:
…… a lesson learned from the 9-11 attacks was that “any program that allows people to enter our country must guard against terrorist infiltration.”
Tell that to drummer Church World Service actively lobbying to have S. 1651 attached to the Defense Authorization bill at this very moment. I hope they have good accountants and are making sure they don’t use any of the millions they receive from the taxpayers for refugee resettlement for lobbying in Washington. Busy aren’t they?
Additional comment: When I wrote this yesterday I should have mentioned that this is a twofer for Church World Services. The bills to open the floodgates to Iraqi refugees not only bring more refugees for CWS to place and collect their federal income, but it undermines the military surge by sending the signal that these people will never be able to go home to Iraq.
For an analysis of the bill CWS is pushing see Center for Vigilant Freedom.
For a review of all of our coverage of Iraqi refugees, go to that category on the left.
Whew, finally a few minutes to report on the snow-job in Hagerstown last night. O.K. I’ll say it, I’m naive. I thought the forum would be a good idea to get facts out in the public and thus allow our community to weigh all sides of the issue. To all of you who warned me that they wouldn’t give us straight answers, I apologize, you were right.
But, the meeting wasn’t a complete waste. Judy and I look forward to writing about it for weeks to come. We will try to keep each post short adding it to a new category called September Forum, so that eventually a newcomer to RRW could follow our whole analysis.
This afternoon I’m commenting on the first, actually funny (sort of funny), non-answer. Someone more knowledgable than I about refugee resettlement told me that if we asked about the repayment of the airfare loan (refugees fly here on the taxpayer’s dime and are expected to repay the loan) the response would be: “The repayment rate is better than for student loans.” Yup, you guessed it! That is exactly the response we got the first time the question was asked of the US State Dept. representative.
The second time the question was asked the amount of the backlogged unpaid loans was not known (we hear hundreds of millions) but it was confirmed that the volags can pocket 25% of the loans they can wring out of refugees, and afterall we are told that is the going rate for debt collecting. Call me crazy, but I get an image of a mobster-minister-type putting the squeeze on some poor soul making $8 an hour who doesn’t even understand English well enough to read his dunning notice.