Getting caught in Kansas, and Candy—you go girl!

Here is a story we wrote about back in April.  It seems that this Kansas city has one problem after another with immigrants.  First, Emporia had to deal with a roiled citizenry over Tyson’s Food hauling Somali refugees to the city and then closing the plant. (See our whole category on Emporia here).  And, now it turns out that imported Filipino workers were hired illegally for a construction project in the same city.

Although the Filipino ruckus did not involve refugees, it just demonstrates again points we have made recently about the public making no distinction between legal refugees and other immigrants (legal and illegal) when they see the connection to foreign worker hiring practices that allow companies to avoid paying for American workers.

Here is the gist of the story today from the Emporia Gazette:

The subcontractor that supplied unauthorized foreign workers for the construction of the Emporia Energy Center apologized to Sen. Jim Barnett and citizens of Emporia in a letter sent to Barnett late last week.

Integrated Service Company, a Tulsa, Okla.-based company also known as InServ, said “an unintentional error” was responsible for the employment of Filipino welders and pipefitters during the construction of the Westar Energy peaking plant. The Filipinos were in the United States on H-2B work visas, which allow them to fill jobs for which there are an insufficient number of American workers.

In order to properly certify the workers for the Westar project, InServ would have needed to notify the Kansas Department of Commerce, which is federally required to verify that not enough American workers are available to fill the jobs. That notification never took place. InServ was a subcontractor for Overland Contracting, a subsidiary of Black & Veatch, which contracted with Westar for the plant construction.

And, now here is the good part! 

Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, began an inquiry into the Westar worker situation in March and had been exploring whether federal action can be taken against InServ, Black & Veatch or Westar. Ruff, who is completing her last term in the Kansas Legislature, said that when companies like InServ are exposed for illegal hiring practices, they go to great lengths to cover their tracks.

“Now, do I trust those bastards? Not in a New York minute do I trust ’em,” Ruff said before being sent a copy of Donaldson’s letter. “Because I think that, although they’ve gotten kind of their (expletive) in a ringer right now with the kind of things that they have been exposed to having been done, same (expletive), different day — they just got caught in Kansas. …

“This is all about making money off cheap labor, and I don’t think that’s gonna stop anytime soon. I really don’t.”

Barnett said the immigration laws that require businesses to employ legal workers should have teeth.

“If laws have been broken, then, like everyone else, there should be appropriate consequences,” he said.


I love you Kansans!

We buy plane tickets for Iraqi refugees and they don’t show up!

Last night a reader sent the transcript of the State Department press briefing where intrepid reporter, Matthew Lee, must have gotten his information.   Our reader pointed out that the whole thing reads like a shopping trip — how many Iraqis can we dig up and get to America to stick with our quota?   (By the way, they are aiming for 1000 a month.)   You gotta read the transcript and laugh because the reader hits that nail on the head.

But, then here is a part of the transcript and an example of the sort of thing the Associated Press isn’t mentioning in its articles because it presumably doesn’t fit the points they want to promote.  You know: desperate suffering refugees, it’s all our fault they are refugees, we must bring them to America ASAP and Bush is bad.

Ambassador (we deserve to be whipped) Foley mentioned that in the last month there were 114 no-shows—refugees who had been processed and reached the point of having airline tickets in hand and they never showed up at the airport. 

We also had, unfortunately, 114 “no shows.” In other words, these were refugees who had passed successfully every stage of the process: they were approved, they were cleared, they were booked, they had tickets, they were supposed to get on airplanes and they were unable to travel because it turned out that either they did not have the necessary exit permits or it was believed that they did not have the necessary exit permits. We also have some, frankly, as I told you before, refugees who simply don’t – for unknown reasons – appear even though they have been – have their airplane tickets. So there’s a certain amount of attrition that we have to deal with, and the arrival numbers would have been really in the 1,250 range had we not had those no shows.

Just wondering what that cost the US taxpayer? 

This admission intrigued some reporters who jumped in with questions.   Terry Rusch (In charge of Admissions at the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration) had an answer:

 Yeah (inaudible). In one or two countries there – some places are very straightforward. In Turkey, for example, refugees who are registered have to go and live in assigned communities all around the country. And some of them do this and others don’t. If they don’t, and they haven’t completed all the requisite paperwork for registration, showing evidence they have been there throughout this period, their getting exit permits is a more complicated process. And the people who are issuing these exit permits – or not – are either not mindful or it doesn’t particularly bother them that somebody has a plane ticket for the United States. That’s not their main concern. Their main concern is they have regulations that people are supposed to have done X, Y, and Z before they issue an exit permit. So I don’t think it’s anything people are trying – preventing people from leaving to go to the United States. It’s more of a bureaucratic red tape exercise. 

Foley then reiterates how very important it is that they get this problem solved because as the year progresses they need every one of those refugees to meet their shopping quota. 

It’s bureaucratic, but these countries also take those requirements very seriously, and so we are looking at this problem. We are certainly aware that as we get near the end of the fiscal year, and we’re mindful of reaching our goal, that we want to make sure that the refugees themselves are keenly aware of the requirements so that they can meet those requirements in the various countries and not be barred from getting on airplanes.

The discussion of how hard it is to get exit visas in many countries led into a discussion of where are these refugees anyway.  I bet most reporters (and me too) thought they were exclusively in Syria and Jordan, afterall isn’t that where we keep hearing the millions of suffering are located?

But our capacity was much more robust and remains more robust in Jordan. So I believe that we are still seeing more arrivals from Jordan than we are from Syria. But they are one and two. And then the other source countries are Egypt and Turkey and the states of the Gulf. And also, we have Iraqi refugees in disparate parts of the world, and that requires us to schedule, in effect, circuit rides not only for DHS adjudicators but for our processing entities which don’t have installations in the region. So they need to do the same thing and we send – Terry, could you describe some of the far-flung places we will process Iraqi refugees?

 Then Ms. Rusch again:

New Delhi. I think there was one processed in Beijing recently. Malaysia. Well, far-flung – Greece. But they’re turning up in lots of places.

What!!!  We are scouring the world for Iraqis?  They are in India, Turkey, the Gulf States, and China and Malaysia, and even Greece.  If those Iraqis have the wherewithal to get to China and Greece, why do we need to track them down, at enormous expense to the taxpayer, and get them to America?