As I mentioned previously, I had high hopes for straight answers at the Hagerstown Refugee Resettlement forum on September 19. Here is an example of how government officials confuse the public:
The question, asked of the US State Department, went something like this (shortened here): Doesn’t Refugee Resettlement cost the taxpayers about one billion a year? But, the questioner made the fatal error of using the word “grants” in the question somewhere. This allowed the federal representative to say, according to her numbers the grants were around $500 million, not a billion.
The average citizen has no clue about various funding mechanisms in differant agencies of the government, and isn’t expected to know that there are government grants and contracts, in addition to other funding categories.
This is how the question should have been answered truthfully: The grants portion is primarily a function of the Dept. of Health and Human Services and is in the vicinity of $500 million (actually I think its closer to $600 million this year), and our (State Dept.) portion includes contracts etc. and is around $200 million right now. Homeland Security expends about
$12 $20 million for its portion of refugee resettlement. And then, yes, there are other expenses borne at various levels of government (school, medical and so on). Then look the questioner in the eye and say YES, the cost for Refugee Resettlement is around one billion a year.
Is that so hard? Why play a little game of semantics? Stop insulting us, and tell us the truth! When you don’t, people ask, well what else are they not telling us?
See the September Forum category to follow our coverage of this meeting.