State Department shuts down Connecticut volag

Update May 10, 2008:  The State Department has yanked their contract, see the latest news here.

We told you a few weeks ago that the International Institute of Connecticut had come under fire from Burmese Karen refugees and their church advocates for not taking care of the refugees they had been contracted to resettle.   Now comes news that the State Department has shut them down, at least for now. 

WATERBURY — The U.S. State Department has temporarily halted the International Institute of Connecticut from processing any more refugees because of failures in the way Burmese refugees were resettled here.


Admitting the institute was “deficient” in its handling of refugees, the president of the national organization that contracts with the State Department said until the institute changes the way it helps refugees, it will not be allowed to resettle any incoming refugees who are not related to those already here.


“Mistakes were made and you ended up with some folks that did not get the best the resettlement community has to offer,” said Lavinia Limón, President of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, parent organization of the International Institute of Connecticut. “No one person was assigned for families. That’s difficult for people who are so lost like these people… The refugees didn’t really know who was responsible for them.”

It is maddening!  Read the whole article!   We keep hearing this story from all over the country.  We experienced it ourselves when we saw the volag here in Hagerstown, MD place refugees in the worst, most crime-ridden section of the city.  Is it just sheer incompetence, simply a case as Ms. Limon told the reporter, of things falling through the cracks.

The Burmese Karen Christians have lived in camps for years.  I don’t understand how they could possibly be independent and out to work in America within weeks or even months.   They need to learn English, they need to learn our bureaucratic mazes, and for goodness sakes they need to learn the simplest things that we take for granted.  And, I believe, the care and attention they receive from the church members will ultimately help them become a part of our culture.

On the one hand Ms. Limon says volunteers are important and on the other suggests that the refugees are being coddled by the churches.  This last comment from Ms. Limon is especially annoying.

“What I have heard is that the churches have put themselves in the position of advocacy vis-à-vis the refugees. The institute feels these refugees are its responsibility and that they’ve maybe fallen down on the job and having these third parties come in as if they are the guardians of everything that is good and right in the world has engendered some defensiveness.”

Why on earth would someone want to discourage volunteer involvement? We need less refugees and we need better care for the ones we do take, and that care involves helping them become assimilated to America.  Hurrah for the church people of Waterbury!

By the way, Lavinia Limon and the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has other problem subcontractors as well.  Check out the International Institute of Erie here.

See our interview with Chris Coen, Friends of Refugees, for more on how refugees have been left in the lurch by government funded volags.

The E-2 Treaty Investor, what’s this all about?

I’m getting off track, this is not about refugees, but as far as I know no one is looking into the other immigration programs that bring numbers of future citizens from perhaps less than desireable places to America.    Always on Watch sent me this link the other day and I wondered if it tied in with what I’ve written about our Hagerstown convenience store food stamp scam and others we have written about here.

I was shocked at the list of countries that can send people to invest in America.  What if they are coming in with a bankroll from say Pakistan and opening up convenience stores and gas stations that accept food stamps? 

Let’s start by reviewing the rules for getting E-2 Treaty Investor status. That status gives nationals of certain countries the right to live in the U.S. while directing and developing a commercial enterprise. E-2 status is also available to essential employees of the investor.


The investment cannot be passive (for example, bank accounts, undeveloped land). Further, an investment that only supports the investor and his or her family is a problem. The government likes to see at least one employee.


To qualify for E-2 status, you must be a national of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwon), Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Krygzystan, Liberia, Luxemourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, the Phillipines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey or the United Kingdom.


As for the investor green card program, many people with substantial financial resources find easier ways to get permanent residence. That’s because the program is very restrictive. Still, for those with the money to invest and no other way to get immigrant status, it can be a path to permanent residence.

Just something to think about.

And, since we don’t have much humor at RRW, here is something a friend sent me last night.  It’s one of those things circulating around the internet with no author.  You gotta laugh!


Warning From Pakistan This morning, from a cave somewhere in Pakistan, Taliban Minister of Migration, Mohammed Omar, warned the United States and Canada that if military action against Iraq continues, Taliban authorities will cut off America ‘s and Canada ‘s supply of convenience store managers. And, if this action does not yield sufficient results, cab drivers will be next, followed by Dell and Sprint customer service reps. _____It’s getting ugly!