State Department yanks International Institute of Connecticut contract

Update:  Jerry Gordon at the American Congress for Truth blog has also posted on this story here.  Gordon suggests a GAO study should be initiated by members of Congress.

Wow!  Unbelievable!  There is justice afterall!  From the Republican-American today:

The State Department has canceled its contract with the agency responsible for resettling 64 Burmese refugees to Waterbury. In response, Connecticut’s congressional delegation has sent a letter of protest to the state department, asking it to give the International Institute of Connecticut more time to settle its problems.

This follows months of reports of poor housing, fractious relationships with volunteers, missed immunizations for students and insufficient assistance with daily tasks. The State Department brought the refugees here to escape the tyranny in their native Myanmar.

“I’ve heard of agencies being under investigation and there being a threat of canceling a contract, but this is the first time I’ve known about a particular case being canceled,” said Stephanie J. Nawyn, a sociologist at Michigan State University who studies resettlement. “I do think this is unusual.”

This professor, Stephanie J. Nawyn, has been in her ivory tower too long.    Dear Ms. Nawyn, this is going on across the country.  Many agencies have been closed but no one is talking about it.   I recommend she do some research into the Ethiopian Community Development Council as a first step in informing herself.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd joins Ms. Nawyn in demonstrating his ignorance.   He has spearheaded a Congressional letter in defense of the volag.

So did Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, whose office was said to have spearheaded the letter to the State Department.

“The IIC has made it clear that they are taking the necessary steps to improve their resettlement program, including incorporating the recommendations of the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants” Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said. “The IIC has only asked to be returned to suspension status, so they can continue to make the necessary improvements in their program, and the Senator believes their request should be considered fully by the State Department.” 

A State Department spokesman, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said he was shocked at the delegation’s support for the institute. “I’d love to know why they’re coming so quickly to the defense of an organization that is clearly not doing its job,” he said. The spokesman said State Department investigators were shocked and embarrassed by the squalid apartments where the refugees were initially housed.

To the State Department spokesman who wants to know why Senator Dodd and others in the Connnecticut delegation have so quickly jumped to the defense of the Institute—it probably all goes back  to the mothership.  Likely Dodd has a cozy relationship with the IIC’s mothership, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and its president Lavinia Whoop-de-do Limon.   This is how Washington works!  She is an old Democratic insider (headed up the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Clinton administration) who I am guessing jumped on the phone and got Dodd’s staff involved, who in turn then don’t have all the facts and don’t know what they are talking about.

The people who do know what they are talking about are the volunteers in the local churches who have befriended the Burmese refugees and can’t figure out why Dodd and these volags would not first look to the well-being of the refugees.

Diana Monti, of Living Faith Christian Church, believes the institute has done a poor job teaching the Burmese refugees to deal with critical daily tasks, like mailing a letter or paying a bill. “They brought them here. But whose job is it to teach them how to write a check, how to pay a bill? I don’t see the follow-through. If we didn’t step in, where would they be today?”

The volunteers plan to contact members of Congress to try to get the facts to them about this egregious case in Connecticut.  See all of our earlier coverage on Waterbury here.

And, I can’t believe this is coming from me, but, way to go US State Department!


Update a few hours later:   Here is a comment from Chris Coen, Friends of Refugees, on the Republican-American website today:

” When the World Relief refugee program in Port Richey, Florida (Tampa area) was shut down in 2006 for abuses and deficiencies similar to the ones in this case, many of the refugees were left high and dry.

The affiliate began by destroying all of the refugees’ documents, including paperwork for pending immigration cases. There didn’t seem to be any consequences for that outrageous action from the State Department or Florida’s refugee coordinator. To this day refugees in the Tampa area still do not have green cards, seven years after their arrival, thus jeopardizing their ability even to work legally in the U.S. We recently counted seven Lost Boys of Sudan refugees in New Port Richey, FL alone who still did not have green cards seven years after their arrival.

A Liberian refugee mother’s immigration case to bring her husband to join the family was closed for lack of activity. With an infant and three other young children she has struggled to maintain fulltime employment and care for her children while also sending money to her husband in Africa, a displaced refugee in Ghana who is unable to find any work. Had the U.S. refugee program operated with some integrity and responsibility this refugee woman’s husband would be in the U.S. now and helping to support his family.

When the State Department closes a refugee affiliate agency – and only in cases of extreme neglect and/or media scrutiny – the refugees often get swept under the rug.

Christopher Coen
Friends of Refugees

Update on Texas Panhandle refugee influx

Here, thanks to blulitespecial, is an earlier story that sheds more light on how the Texas Panhandle refugee population is booming thanks to local meat packing plants.  See my post yesterday on nearby Amarillo.

First, the Dept. of Homeland Security raided local plants and removed illegal workers.   Note when you read this article about Cactus, TX, the local government is apparently annoyed at the US government for cracking down on the local illegals. 

Sixteen months ago, federal agents swept into the Panhandle town of Cactus, Texas, in Moore County as part of a massive raid of Swift & Co. beef processing plants across the country. They arrested 297 workers on immigration violations and sent hundreds more fleeing the community for fear of more raids.

“Things were a little rocky in the short-term, but the upheaval of the raids hasn’t hurt us financially,” Mr. DiPiazza [city manager] said. “Swift aggressively brought in new workers and had the plant working to capacity within months.” 

But, not to fear, the meatpackers and the city had a solution, just bring in refugees.

But with the new workers has come a fresh set of challenges.

Swift’s new owners, a Brazilian firm, recruited a different set of foreign workers to fill the gaps left by the Mexican and Central American workers caught up in the ICE raid in December 2006. This time, they hired refugees brought into the U.S. on a special visa. 

As for the extra costs to the schools, healthcare etc. created by the influx of refugee workers, let the federal taxpayers pay the bill.   

The county would like some federal help in paying for the extra costs to the schools, hospitals and police, Mr. Rhoades [Moore County Judge] said. But “we don’t have a solution yet,” he said. “We’ll just have to pay attention to the details and deal with it. It’s just another test.”

So, meatpackers get cheap labor (they don’t have to pay good wages demanded by American workers), and the taxpayer foots all the extra welfare bills.   What a racket and it’s aided and abetted by church volags.  ‘Volag’ is short for ‘voluntary agency’, but they are anything but voluntary because they too are paid by you.

How Muslim Turkey deals with asylees (illegal aliens)

I mentiioned this yesterday when I wrote about Africans migrating across the Mediterranean to illegally enter Europe.  Turkey has a rather severe way of deporting illegals:  swim back to where you came from (or to whatever country is on the other side of the river), but get out!

Here is the whole short article from the United Nations News Service:

25 April 2008 – The United Nations refugee agency is seeking clarification from Turkey after 18 refugees were forced to cross a fast-flowing river on the Turkish-Iraqi border, leading to the deaths of four by drowning.

The incident took place on Wednesday at an unpatrolled stretch of the border in Sirnak province in south-eastern Turkey.

According to witnesses interviewed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Turkish authorities had earlier attempted to forcibly deport 60 people of various nationalities to Iraq at an official border crossing. The Iraqi border authorities allowed 42 Iraqis to enter the country but refused to admit 18 Iranian and Syrian nationals. Turkish police then took the 18, including five Iranians whose refugee status had been recognized by UNHCR, to an area where a river runs along the border, and forced them to swim across.

Witnesses said that four people, including a refugee from Iran, were swept away by the strong river current and drowned. Their bodies could not be recovered. UNHCR is in contact with the surviving refugees through its office in Erbil in northern Iraq and reports that they are deeply traumatized.

UNHCR had previously asked the Turkish Government not to deport the five Iranian refugees, who had all been detained after attempting to cross into Greece in an irregular manner. The UN refugee agency had said that it did not consider Iraq a safe country of asylum for these refugees.

Notice the hints in this article that the so-called asylum seekers may have been about some questionable business when they entered Europe illegally.