Gay Iranian refugees arrive in Canada

In addition to the stepped up number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Canada (see my previous post), gay Iranians are arriving in welcoming Canada.  From the Toronto Sun today:

Two Iranian lovers who claim they face death in their homeland because they’re homosexuals touched down at Pearson airport last night after being granted refugee status in Canada.

Ali, 32, and Mohammad, 25, a student, arrived in Montreal after a long trip from India and then boarded another flight to Toronto, where they will be staying with friends.


“It took them three years to get here,” said Arsham Parsi, of Iranian Queer Railroad, who helped bring the men here. “Canada is a gay-friendly country and they will be successful here.”

Note to all the leftwingers who invited Ahmahdinijad to Columbia University and defend the form of Islam practiced in Iran,  Shariah law prohibits homosexuality.   It gets my blood boiling when I see these reports in which the reporter is too chicken to say that these men are persecuted because Islam itself calls for their persecution.

Parsi said it’s against the law to practise homosexuality in Iran and the couple could be arrested and sentenced to death.

The UNHCR facilitates the resettlement of homosexuals to the West.

He (Parsi) said his organization has helped more than 60 gay Iranian refugees resettle in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Canada is going to double the number of Iraqis it resettles

The numbers are miniscule compared to the refugees the US takes, so what really interested me in this story is that Canada has a government refugee program and a private sponsorship program.   Note in this MSNBC article that a much larger number of refugees come through the PRIVATE program.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Canada will more than double the number of privately sponsored Iraqi refugees it accepts from the Middle East, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has announced.

“Taken together with government-assisted refugees, this means that the number of Iraqi refugees coming to Canada will have more than quadrupled since 2005,” Minister Kenney said while speaking before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

“Last year our government, at the behest of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, committed to increasing by more than 50 percent the number of resettled refugees from the Middle East in response to the Iraqi refugee crisis,” he said. “I am happy to announce further increases. Canada had planned to raise its private sponsorship program levels for Damascus to 1,200 people in 2009. I have instructed my officials to increase that number by an additional 1,300 people. The number of government-assisted refugees will also increase by 230 people.”

Who are these private sponsors and why aren’t we doing that?   It has been our view all along that refugees would fare much better if privately sponsored with private charity.  These numbers indicate that the Canadian government can’t afford too many.

Canada will resettle approximately 2,500 refugees under its private sponsorship program, and 1,400 refugees under the government-assisted refugees program, through its Damascus mission. This represents a fourfold increase over 2005, when approximately 800 refugees were accepted from Iraq.

For a little perspective on the numbers, consider that the US resettled around 60,000 refugees in the last fiscal year, 13,000 were Iraqis.

Each year, 19 countries from around the world resettle about 100,000 refugees. From that number, Canada resettles 10,000 to 12,000 each year from 70 different nationalities, or one out of every ten refugees resettled globally.

Guess that puts the US at six for every ten refugees resettled worldwide.

The speech Geert Wilders would have given

This is not directly about refugees, but I thought it was important enough to post anyway. Free speech is an issue all over the world, and those of us who have blogs or who write or speak for public consumption in other ways have an intense interest in keeping our speech free here in the United States. Britain no longer has free speech, and the banning of Dutch member of Parliament Geert Wilders is one result. Wilders was thought to be too inflammatory for tender British ears in that he criticizes Islam. For the last four years he has been under 24-hour-a-day guard in the Netherlands as the result of death threats.

Thanks to Diana West for posting Wilders’s speech on her blog. It is very moving, and it is a shameful thing that Wilders was prevented from entering Britain to give it. Here’s a short excerpt:

In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.

Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.

Today, I come before you to warn of another great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, the end of democracy. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands you respect, but has no respect for you.

Read more about the current Wilders incident at FrontPage Magazine, here. And see our previous posts mentioning Wilders here.

Part I: Refugee Council USA has recommendations for Obama and Congress

The Refugee Council USA is a consortium of groups involved in the refugee industry.   Recently I came across their briefing book for the new Administration and the 111th Congress.  You will find it here.

There are many recommendations and so I’ll write about this in a couple of posts.    Since we have been discussing the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) funds recently, I’ll start there.  First go back and read Judy’s post of two days ago in which she clarifies a misunderstanding that had developed in the blogosphere about ERMA funds going to Gaza.    The  US taxpayer-funded ERMA account is used for “humanitarian assistance” elsewhere in the world and is not for the purpose of resettling refugees in the US.

Here is what the Refugee Council USA says about ERMA.  Not surprisingly they want more money, but they also want the President out of the loop.

ERMA provides the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State with an emergency pool of $100 million that it can draw on in the event of an unexpected crisis.  Currently, draw downs must be approved by the President.  This requirement can considerably slow down the process.  Moreover, the $100 million ceiling on the account has not been updated in over a decade, even though costs and demands on the account have risen significantly.  The ERMA ceiling should be raised to $200 million and the Secretary of State should be given the authority to approve ERMA draw downs.

Previously unhappy Iraqi refugee gets a job…

…. but Mom is going home to Iraq.

We first told you about Firas Taresh, an Iraqi man, who had been resettled on Long Island with his younger brother and mother back in September.   His story about joblessness was among the first we posted on unemployed Iraqis.   This is an update.   He has a job.  From the East Hampton Star:

Next week, the 33-year-old Iraqi refugee, who settled on the South Fork with his family in August, will begin working at Symbion Power, an engineering company in Washington, D.C. Symbion focuses on the transmission and distribution of electricity in the Middle East. Mr. Taresh will be in an administrative job, and sees an opportunity to contribute to the company’s foreign projects, many of which are based in Iraq.

Even before the war he had wanted to come to America.

“I dreamed of coming to the United States all my life, but never as a refugee,” he said. “I thought maybe as an immigrant, as a skilled worker or a student with a scholarship, but as a refugee? I never imagined something like this.”

Catholic Charities wasn’t much help.

Mr. Taresh also never imagined how difficult it would be to find a job. He said he applied to Bechtel more than 50 times, and each time was turned down. Meetings with representatives of Catholic Charities, a local partner of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, did not yield the results he was given to expect, such as cash assistance and food stamps. His younger brother is the only member of the family who has gotten health insurance. “There is no explanation,” he said. “I never imagined I was going to face the difficulties I am facing in this country.”

We continue to be puzzled why many of these Iraqi refugees say they “were given to expect” better living conditions in the US.  Who misled them?

His brother and sister, still in Iraq, say things are improving and so Mom is going home.

His mother, he said, has had a much more difficult time adjusting, and hopes to go home. “Insha’Allah,” she said, or “God willing.” A few weeks ago, Mr. Taresh took his mother to Washington to get her passport renewed.