Uh! oh! UNHCR wanted to see the 126 Rohingya still in Thai custody….

Update Jan. 24th:   Jakarta Globe:  Indonesia determined that the 193 Rohingya they rescued will be returned to where they came from since they are economic migrants and not asylum seekers.


….but they are gone, escorted out to sea according to this article in the Earth Times:

Bangkok – A group of 126 Rohingya boat people whom the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) wanted to access to determine whether they needed protection has already been pushed back to sea by Thai authorities, officials said. “These people have been escorted out of Thailand,” said Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thonpakdi.


…. the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has now made it clear that the 126 boat people had been pushed out to sea already, said Thani.

The human rights groups must be howling about now.

The Thai government maintains the Rohingya are not refugees that would fall under the UN High Commissioner for Refugees purview anyway.

“From information we have collected, it appears that they are economic migrants,” Faizasyah said.

Faizasyah said the foreign ministry could not involve the UN refugee agency UNHCR because the Myanmar refugees were not believed to be political asylum-seekers.

In light of the public relations nightmare Thailand has gotten into it was pretty stupid of them to take this group of 126 out to sea, not to mention inhumane.

If you are new to this story, go here, to our special category on Rohingya and catch up!

Europeans getting cold feet about taking Gitmo prisoners

Update Jan. 24th:  Two more former Gitmo inmates return to terrorism, more cold feet expected soon!

European countries did a lot of yakking and complaining about our military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, but now when their wonder boy announces it will be closed in a year they are not eagerly stepping forward to resettle the detainees, most of whom were captured on the battlefield of the War on Terror (which no longer exists we are told as of yesterday).

Check out this Washington Times story which says if they (European countries) take any Gitmo guys they will have to release them immediately into the general population.

“The Europeans have been nagging the United States to close Guantanamo for ages,” said London-based security analyst Bob Ayers. “Now the U.S. is actually thinking about doing it, these same Europeans that have been critical of the U.S. are now very reluctant to take those people into their own countries.”

This is going to be so much fun to watch.   Back in the USA, Glenn Beck was suggesting Alcatraz because of its proximity to Nancy Pelosi’s home.   And, I think I know some Kansans making picket signs already.

But, I was thinking today, maybe the terror suspects could be broken up into groups of two or three and spread around to many maximum security prisons where they could be put into the general prison population and see how tough they really are.

All of our previous posts on Gitmo are here.

“Preferred communities” for refugee resettlement

People ask me all the time, how “THEY” decide which cities and towns will get refugees.  Well yesterday I got an announcement for a new round of grants (with lots more money) for the Office of Refugee Resettlements (ORR) “Preferred communities” program.   The ten top dog refugee resettlement agencies (volags) can vie for bigger bucks in the coming year if they are resettling refugees in desireable cities.

It annoys me so much whenever a news account laments that the volags get only $425 for each refugee they resettle.  I’ve been at this for going on two years and I still can’t figure out all the different funding programs available to these government contractors, and for that I apologize to readers who are also searching for answers.

Here is what ORR says of this program:

Preferred Communities are localities where refugees have excellent opportunities to achieve early employment and sustained economic independence without having to utilize public assistance. These localities also have low welfare utilization by refugees. The Preferred Communities Program also meets the needs of special populations through intensive case management.  [see below for what is a special population needing intensive management]

Now, before I list the cities don’t assume your city is off the hook if its not on the list, these are just the previous cities where the volags got extra federal funding.   Be assured the volags are plotting all the time to bring refugees to new cities and also know that some cities that are way overloaded with refugees, like Ft. Wayne, Indiana are still having refugees resettled by the hundreds.

Here are the “preferred communities” as determined by the federal government and the non-profit contractors.   Although I must say some of these cities are places we have reported are having lots of trouble finding jobs for refugees, so I don’t know how they became “preferred.”

Arizona: Phoenix and Tucson

Florida: Jacksonville and St. Augustine

California: Los Angeles and San Diego

Colorado: Denver

Georgia: Atlanta

Idaho: Boise, Treasure Valley, and Twin Falls

Illinois: Aurora, Chicago, and DuPage

Iowa: Des Moines

Kansas: Kansas City

Kentucky: Bowling Green

Maryland: Baltimore, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park

Massachusetts: West Springfield

Michigan: Dearborn and Grand Rapids

Minnesota: Minneapolis

Nebraska: Omaha

New Jersey: Camden

New Mexico: Albuquerque

New York: Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse

North Carolina: New Bern and Raleigh

Ohio: Akron and Columbus

Pennsylvania: Erie, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh

South Dakota: Sioux Falls

Tennessee: Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville

Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston

Vermont: Barre and Colchester

Virginia: Richmond

Washington: Spokane

Wisconsin: Milwaukee

What is a special population:

Examples of special populations needing intensive case management may include, at a minimum, youth and young adults without parents or permanent guardians who have spent an unusually long period under refugee camp conditions; refugees experiencing social or psychological conditions including emotional trauma resulting from war; refugees who are HIV+; or other populations with physical disabilities or medical conditions identified and determined by BPRM and ORR as needing intensive case management. Culturally and linguistically appropriate linkages and coordination with other service providers is necessary to improve access to services and enhance the likelihood of their integration into new communities.

By the way, I didn’t see anywhere where the citizens of these cities had any say, or the local government for that matter.   Your state refugee offices are involved along with the feds and the PRIVATE resettlement contractors.

STATISTICS ARE COOL:    This site was down for sometime, but you can go there now (it’s a pdf file) and see stats for each state—how many refugees in recent years, how many are working and the grants the state received.  The State refugee coordinator contact information is available there too.

Burmese refugees fear coming to US

We have covered this topic so often I’m going to let you read the article in USA Today yourselves.   Burmese refugees (mostly Karen Christians so far) and the largest ethnic group we are resettling these days are fearful of leaving the security of camps in Thailand for a couple of reasons.   They are afraid of losing their culture and of working in menial jobs in the US.   Their fears are not unfounded.

Rule #5: Can Obama take ridicule? We don’t know yet

The other day I told you about Obama’s “community organizer” guru, Saul Alinsky and Rule #5.   In “Rules for Radicals” Alinsky says Ridicule is the most potent weapon in defeating one’s political enemies.   I questioned then whether President Obama could handle ridicule and I still think he cannot.

However, Obama supporter, comedian and blogger Andy Borowitz on his website maintains that humor is not dead (has not been killed by political correctness) and says he is confident that Obama can be ridiculed.  I doubt it.   We will see. 

Did you notice yesterday or the day before how annoyed Obama looked when VP Biden made a snide remark about Chief Justice Roberts and the error Roberts made in  administering the oath?  Well, here is Borowitz  take on that. 

Of course, the ridicule below is of Biden and not Obama.  We will see if  Borowitz ever really ridicules Obama or whether good ol’ Joe will be the butt of jokes siphoning off the ridicule quotient and leaving Obama untouched.

We’ve all been wondering what Biden’s role would be in the administration once Hillary got the big foreign policy job, holy cow, these people are smart, knowing ridicule was inevitable, we now know what his job is!

Here is Borowitz in a piece Judy just forwarded:

In the first major initiative of his presidency, President Barack Obama today dispatched Vice President Joe Biden on what he called “an important and special mission” to Antarctica.

The news of Mr. Biden’s unexpected trip appeared to take the Vice President by surprise, as he was in the middle of making a joke about Chief Justice John Roberts to members of the press corps when the President interrupted him with the news.

“Here’s how John Roberts sings the National Anthem,” Mr. Biden was saying. “’Oh see can you say…’”

Mr. Obama, yanking away Mr. Biden’s microphone, then informed him of the extraordinary journey to the South Pole he was about to undertake.

The President was vague about what the mission to Antarctica would entail, but he did indicate that it could take “up to four years.”

While some witnesses to the scene said that Mr. Biden seemed surprised by the news, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, offered another version of events during an appearance later in the day on “Oprah.”

“Joe was given a choice of places to go and he picked Antarctica,” she said. “President Obama said he could also go to the moon or Mars.”

Dr. Biden’s remarks were cut short when President Obama appeared on the set and unplugged her microphone.

Other than the Biden news, Mr. Obama’s day went as planned, meeting with senior staff, drawing up a budget, and being sworn in as President for the third time.

I can’t do another blog, but would one of you start a blog called something like Obama Ridicule Watch—it would be so much fun!

Update Feb. 13th:   Obama throws Biden under the bus.