Heat must be turning up in Concord, NH refugee program

I was away for a few days so am coming in on the middle of a public discussion apparently on-going in Concord, NH about refugees.  Things must not be going smoothly. 

Look at this defense of refugee resettlement from a volunteer (Deb Baker) of Lutheran Social Services—it’s all the usual boilerplate stuff I’ve seen everywhere.  I wonder if there are talking points written up by each volag so that their people can dash off opinion pieces to newspapers like Deb’s?  (Remember what I said about puff-pieces in my discussion with reader Jim at the Ft. Wayne post).

It appears her fellow citizens are having none of it.  Here is one comment I liked:

Deb is wrong by saying taxpayers are not footing the bill for this handout. The last I knew American private citizens pay federal taxes too. To say that they don’t receive money from “local’ taxes is a normal liberal slant on the truth. We don’t need to import people from all over the world because you suffer from some form of American guilt. One of these days you do gooders are going to import somebody with a disease that will spread like wildfire and do irreversible harm to Americans. If we had strong leadership in Washington and New Hampshire (there’s very little anywhere) they would put a stop to this practice.

And here is another:

I commend Deb Baker’s commitment as a volunteer at Lutheran Social Services Refugee Resettlement Program. I offer another opinion about the contributions of those with refugee status and the “money that supports their resettlement”. Ms. Baker states that refugees are not a financial drain but actually contribute to the local economy. She supports this argument by stating that, “If Concord stopped resettling refugees, the money would follow the refugees elsewhere.” The resettlement benefits are primarily federal funds, from We The People. This program would be better received if funded 100% privately. Federal funds are desperately needed to rebuild America’s infrastructure before our beloved country is sold to the highest bidder because we cannot meet our obligations. We were taught that charity begins in the home. I urge those who want to sponsor refugees to assume the burdens and reap the rewards of this noble endeavor from their own pockets. Let’s refocus our national expenditures on strengthening our infrastructure that benefits ALL of America.

If anyone knows what prompted Deb’s defense in the first place let me know!

Joe Biden (the hypocrite) and Refugees

Update August 24th:  See the latest on refugees to Delaware here.

Barack Obama has picked Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.  So, what is the Senator’s connection to refugees?  Senator Biden of Delaware is one of only a few original sponsors of the Refugee Act of 1980 still in the Senate.  AND, his state has only resettled a few hundred refugees in all these 28 years!

Here is what I said back in April about Biden’s hypocrisy:

Now to Senator Joe Biden! Just as Senator Ted isn’t going to be resettling any refugees of any sort to Hyannisport, Senator Joe (any place but Delaware) Biden is a hypocrite. He is one of the few originators of the Refugee Act of 1980 (along with chief sponsor Kennedy) still in the Senate, yet his own state of Delaware ranks third from the bottom in the number of refugees resettled there between 1983 and 2005, this while surrounding states Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have each brought tens of thousands of refugees. Ranking below Delaware are only West Virginia and Wyoming.

So, Senator Biden is promoting bringing more Iraqis but few if any will come to Delaware. The politics of this stinks!

Look for more later.  Farm chores call.

Iraqis to New Jersey and Massachusetts

Over the next month there will be one article after another about Iraqi refugees headed to a city near you because the State Department is desperate to show critics they can reach the magic figure of 12,000 Iraqis resettled in the US by the end of FY08 and thus get the NGO’s (volags, non-government organizations) off their backs—but I bet you the NGO’s will still complain.

Here are a pair of articles from NJ and MA.   Please check them out here and here.  I’m focusing on the statements in these articles about the sort of places Iraqis will be resettled.   In the Massachusetts article the statement is made that the government is looking for new places, smaller cities, to place Iraqis.  It isn’t the government choosing, it’s the volags acting like they are the government (see my discussion with reader Jim at the Ft. Wayne post yesterday).

The government is seeking new communities to place the Iraqis, like Springfield, to avoid oversaturating cities such as San Diego and Detroit, where they have immigrated in large numbers, he said.

Then in NJ, some Iraqis are going to metropolitan New Jersey:

New Jersey – and the New York metropolitan area – are not usually major destinations for refugee resettlement.

Officials say the high cost of living and social service systems that are already overburdened in large urban areas are among the reasons why most refugees are often sent to smaller towns and cities across the U.S.

An official from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration says New Jersey has received 65 Iraqi refugees since Oct. 1, 2007. He did not know how many Iraqis would be sent here in the coming weeks.  [State Department doesn’t know because they have no control over where these refugees are placed, unless some city puts up a stink.]

Because we have the Arabic-speaking community, and New Jersey has a lot of diversity, we do get them here,” she said.

However, Catholic Charities has chosen less diverse Atlantic County to place refugees.

Catholic Charities is just one of the agencies in New Jersey that handles refugee resettlement. Other religious-based groups of various denominations have refugee programs, as do some private social service agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Hickey said the Camden Diocese runs the largest Catholic Charities refugee resettlement program in the state. He said the program has been helping the recent Iraqi arrivals settle throughout Atlantic County.

This all reminds me of when I was a kid and my father would let me blame him for something I didn’t want to do.  If I didn’t want to go somewhere with someone, my father said, just tell them your father says you can’t go.   These volags—non-profit groups with no power of their own—are choosing your city or town for refugees and pretending that big Daddy (the US State Department) is making them place refugees there.

If citizens don’t speak up then your city will join the “welcoming” and end up like Ft. Wayne, IN. 

Reforms needed:  I’ve suggested many times that there needs to be a comprehensive social and economic impact study done on a city or county in advance of refugee resettlement.  Such a study would identify problems before refugees arrived.  If it was determined that a locale could handle refugees the area would be reassessed periodically over the years to help determine if the city needed to take a breather as jobs became scarce or housing declined and so on.    An open public process could also smooth the way for acceptance of the refugees—the present sneaky process dooms some refugees from the outset.