A state is permitted to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program

For as long as we have been writing RRW, a year and a half now, I’ve wondered how it is that no refugees are resettled in Wyoming.   I had heard the state had “opted out” of the program but I could never figure out how this was done.

Today a kind reader sent me this section from the Code of Federal Regulations that answers my guestion!   A state is permitted to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program.

The following is from Section 400.301, Withdrawal from the Refugee Program from 45 CFR.   The “Director” is the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

(a) In the event that a State decides to cease participation in the refugee program, the State must provide 120 days advance notice to the Director before withdrawing from the program.

(b) To participate in the refugee program, a State is expected to operate all components of the refugee program, including refugee cash and medical assistance, social services, preventive health, and an unaccompanied minors program if appropriate. A State is also expected to play a coordinating role in the provision of assistance and services in accordance with §400.5(b). In the event that a State wishes to retain responsibility for only part of the refugee program, it must obtain prior approval from the Director of ORR. Such approval will be granted if it is in the best interest of the Government.

(c) When a State withdraws from all or part of the refugee program, the Director may authorize a replacement designee or designees to administer the provision of assistance and services, as appropriate, to refugees in that State. A replacement designee must adhere to the same regulations under this part that apply to a State-administered program, with the exception of the following provisions: 45 CFR 400.5(d), 400.7, 400.51(b)(2)(i), 400.58(c), 400.94(a), 400.94(b), 400.94(c), and subpart L. Replacement designees must also adhere to the Subpart L regulations regarding formula allocation grants for targeted assistance, if the State authorized the replacement designee appointed by the Director to act as its agent in applying for and receiving targeted assistance funds. Certain provisions are excepted because they apply only to States and become moot when a State withdraws from participation in the refugee program and is replaced by another entity. States would continue to be responsible for administering the other excepted provisions because these provisions refer to the administration of other State-run public assistance programs.

[60 FR 33604, June 28, 1995, as amended at 65 FR 15450, Mar. 22, 2000]

Based on that Section c, it looks like they aren’t going to let any state out easily.

For the entire Code of Federal Regulations for Refugee Resettlement, go here.  It is a treasure trove of information.

An afterthought:  I don’t know how many times over the last year and a half we have heard officials at state or local level say there is nothing they can do about refugees coming to a particular community—it’s all the federal governments doing they say.   Well this puts a lie to that notion, a state can say NO and it looks like a state can say, slow down the numbers!

Media failure: so what about that beheading?

Update Feb. 20th:   Atlas Shrugs has an incredible update on this NY case and an extensive chronicle of other women who have been victims of honor killings here.

That story about the “moderate” Muslim who beheaded his wife, which we posted on here and here, has gotten less media coverage than you might think it deserves. Mark Steyn has a typically trenchant commentary under the wonderful headline Headless Body in Legless Story. Read the whole thing; it’s not very long.  Here’s the conclusion:

From NBC Nightly News, December 9th 2004:

[REPORTER RON] ALLEN: It [the TV station of the “moderate” Muslims] is the brainchild of Aasiya Zubair, an architect, and her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, a banker, who are disturbed that negative images of Muslims seem to dominate TV, especially since 9/11.

Ms. AASIYA ZUBAIR: I did not want my kids growing up to watch Muslims being portrayed as terrorists.

No, indeed. Instead, it’s their father who turned out to be the terrorist — no different from the London School of Economics-educated British subject behind the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

That’s what makes this a story rather than one family’s tragedy. If you’re not intrigued by the apparent fraud at the heart of this man’s life and work — a fraud in which the U.S. media cheerfully colluded — you lack the elementary curiosity necessary to be a journalist.

Just so.

Addendum: Robert Spencer connects the dots between Islam and the beheading here.

Addendum 2, 2/19: Commenter Mark provides this link to show that the chimp who attacked a woman got more news stories than the beheading of a Muslim woman by her husband.

Latest ruling: U.S. does not have to accept Uighur Gitmo detainees

Update Feb. 19th:  China opposes any country taking the Uighurs, they are Chinese terrorists and they want them back.

We’ve been following the case of the 17 Uighurs, Chinese Muslims who are among the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  Last fall one court ordered them released into the United States and another one blocked their release. This is the issue, as described by the Washington Post last October:

The men, a small band of Chinese Muslims who have been held for nearly seven years, are no longer considered enemy combatants by the U.S. government, but they are caught in a well-documented diplomatic bind. Unlike other captives, they cannot be sent to their home country because Beijing considers them terrorists, and they might be tortured. The government released five of the detainees, known as Uighurs (pronounced “WEE-gurz”), to Albania in 2006, but no other country wants to risk offending China by accepting the others.

Andy McCarthy reports the latest at National Review’s Corner:

The majority opinion of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing Judge Ricardo Urbina’s lawless order that 17 Uighur detainees be released in the United States, is emphatic. A sampling:

Justice Frankfurter summarized the law as it continues to this day:  “Ever since national States have come into being, the right of the people to enjoy the hospitality of a State of which they are not citizens has been a matter of political determination by each State” – a matter “wholly outside the concern and competence of the Judiciary.”

The case will now go to the Supreme Court, where it is uncertain whether a majority will agree with the previous court that federal judges do have the power to order detainees released into the U.S.

Iraqi refugee: Why did the US bring so many refugees if they aren’t ready to host them?

For Iraqi refugees that is the question.  I’ve read at least 20 stories about unhappy Iraqi refugees in 15 states,  but this one is probably the most wrenching.

The subject of this story is a well-educated and formerly prosperous Iraqi family resettled in Oakland, CA.   From Oakland North, it begins:

When I knocked on the door of an apartment building in East Oakland, a woman’s voice nervously asked who I was. The voice belonged to a 45-year-old woman who wishes to be identified only as S. Mohamad because she fears prosecution [Editor: persecution?] in her native Iraq; she is a former radiologist who came here as a refugee three months ago along with her husband and their three children. She hid behind the door because she was without a headscarf; Muslim women usually wear one to cover their hair when they are around anyone but family or other women.

The family which apparently had been doing well in Jordan was resettled to California because of availability of cheap housing (is that because people are leaving CA in droves?).  But, as we learned yesterday, California has no jobs.

Mohamad, her husband and children left everything behind and at first found refuge in Jordan. They lived in Amman for two and half years before applying to the United Nations refugee program to obtain legal papers and avoid deportation. They were accepted into the program and granted refuge in the United States. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), a nonprofit group that works with the U.S. State Department to help refugees resettle in the United States, relocated Mohammad’s family to East Oakland because of its affordable rental houses.

The number of Iraqis coming to the US will increase.  The Presidential determination for 2009 is 17,000, but NGO’s are pushing for up to 100,000 this year (see yesterday’s post here).    I’m puzzled by this next quote from the article about where the Iraqis are resettled.   The State Department knows exactly where they are resettled.  But, within three months or so refugees are free to move wherever they want and are not tracked, so I suppose that is what is being referred to here.   One downside of not tracking is that any refugee who began treatment for TB can readily fall through the cracks, but I’m digressing.

There were 13,000 Iraqi refugees admitted to the United States in 2008, according to the State Department’s resettlement program, and the IRC says it expects that number to increase to 17,000 this year. The records do not break down the number of refugees in each state because the State Department stopped tracking them more than a decade ago. “I think they stopped tracking the refugees in the States because it costs a lot of money to do the job,” said Don Climent, the regional director of the IRC’s office in San Francisco.

Then this was a shocker.  The family was safe in Jordan but they feel the same insecurity in Oakland as they did in Baghdad!

There is the also the problem of security. Many Iraqi refugees feel shocked and frustrated when they realize that they have to deal with security-part of the reason they had run away from home-again. Mohamad’s 21-year-old son made his own security, buying pepper spray and a knife to protect his life. “I only felt safe in Jordan and all I did is to focus on my study,” he said. “But here, I found the United States similar to Baghdad. I changed my old nice clothes into saggy ones to blend in. I avoided passing any young men group standing in a corner of the street. I tried to put my wallet, phone and my ID in different places in my clothes. I have to struggle to stay safe in Oakland.”

The article goes on to tell more of the travails this family is experiencing including the biggest of all—joblessness.

My eyes are dry of tears,” his mother said as she considered her family’s situation. “I cannot see well because I cried so hard. I just wish I could go back home but I could not. I have no family left there, my house is rented and I can not just ask the residents to leave because I will have to go through the court and that means many papers and time and money. It is not safe yet for us to go back and I’m torn between longing to go back and my children’s safety and future. “

We are alone, we struggle by ourselves.

“We did not leave our country for fun-all my concern was my children’s safety and their future,” she continued. “We struggle to learn the American system here by ourselves and it is very hard. How am I supposed to learn all this and get a job in a month? Why [did the] U.S. bring big numbers [of refugees here] if they are not ready to host them? I do not have any relatives in the United States like some have to rely on. I cannot go home now. I sold everything I have in Jordan, and I can not go back to Baghdad because we will be targeted.”

She broke into tears.

Why Mrs. Mohamad?   You were brought here as political footballs.  You were used by the likes of Refugees International which wanted to score political points in Washington against the Bush Administration.   And, you were brought here to keep these resettlement agencies like the IRC in business.

I’m getting tired of repeating it and Judy has written often on it as well,  but for families like this one, all efforts should have been made jointly with the UNHCR, the government of Jordan, our government and the new Iraqi government to keep these people safe in the region.  Obviously they were doing fine in Jordan and funding should have been found to keep them comfortable and safe there until they could go back to Iraq and be part of re-building the new country.   Instead Iraq will continue to see a brain drain as educated people like the Mohamad’s rot in Oakland on welfare.

Learn more about Iraqi refugees in our special category here.

Mark vs. Transitionland: a birds-eye view into a local resettlement office

I hadn’t planned to post on Transitionland after I realized the author of the blog was a ‘twentysomething.’  I have so much to do and so little time, I didn’t mind at all that she was hurling insults at us.   Anytime anyone takes on a sacred cow, name-calling and demonizing is to be expected.  

That said, I am posting now because a reader, Mark, and Transitionland had such a hearty discussion I thought it would be useful for our readers to see.  The exchange serves as a window into the local resettlement process where you may (but not always as we have so often reported on these pages!) find people dedicated to making the resettlement of refugees as comfortable as they can.

Transitionland does in the end,  just before closing the thread, admit that the program needs to be reformed.  

And let’s be honest, few members of the public know anything about refugee resettlement, and fewer still care at all. Calls from people like Ann Corcoran and her toxic friend Judy to “increase accountability” are, in general, thinly veiled attempts to limit the numbers of refugees being admitted to the US.

Believe me, I KNOW the system is broken and needs to be reformed. Refugees aren’t being served as they should be. But demonizing the resettlement agencies and their already underpaid, overworked and poorly supported staff is NOT going to help anyone.

If anyone deserves your anger, it’s the neglectful head offices of struggling resettlement agencies and ORR, which is never quite grounded in the same reality field staff are.

Good for you Transitionland, you have taken the first step toward reform—speaking up!   This program will never be reformed until people are willing to look at the truth and then speak the truth!