Transitionland, we welcome your perspective

Update March 6th:  Transitionland’s “Rumble Time” response here.

Readers,  I guess it’s pretty obvious that we have critics from time to time and one of our newest critics is an anonymous blogger called Transitionland.  Actually we are o.k. with anonymous critics, we really like critics of any sort as long as they don’t take too much of our time commenting here.  In the past we have encouraged long-winded critics to start their own blog and even call it ‘Refugee Resettlement Watch Watch’ if they liked.  But, Transitionland, whoever she is, already has her own blog.  That is good.  The more debate there is about refugee resettlement the better.

Here is what Transitionland said about us today.

A certain anti- refugee resettlement blogger recently wondered if the “refugee lobbyists” had “overplayed their hand” by advocating for more Iraqis to be resettled in the US, given how disappointed some Iraqi refugees are here.

Three points:

1) Yes, resettlement needs to be overhauled. Everyone who works in resettlement KNOWS THIS.

We agree!   If everyone KNOWS THIS, lets get to work.  I have all sorts of ideas!

2) AGAIN, the disappointment of Iraqi refugees and other refugees from more developed countries is also a problem of unfortunate, Hollywood-fuelled expectations about life in the United States. Refugees from all over are absolutely shocked to find out that not only does poverty exist in America, but they themselves will be living in American poverty, at least for a little while.

I disagree, I don’t believe Hollywood has anything to do with the Iraqi refugees misconception about what their lives would be in the US.  Someone in the UN, an overseas processing entity, or representatives of groups who want to bring lots of refugees to the US mislead them.   Their stories are uniformly the same and we have written about 17 locations in the US where the story is the same.   But, why would anyone be deceptive about something so important?

3) Being poor in Sweden or Germany or the Netherlands is not the same as being poor in America. Being poor in America sucks –but being poor in Syria or Jordan, Pakistan, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Turkey, or Thailand is scary-awful. And not all refugees can be resettled in Sweden.

Again, I disagree.  I love America and think  it’s the greatest place in the world.   I’ve traveled extensively and in no other country can you pull yourself out of poverty easier than in the US.  With our freedom and opportunity you can be anything you want to be.   Heck, welfare states like Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany are far from having a black man as President.    And, have you checked out the social unrest in Sweden these days, they are deporting Iraqis (and other immigrants) as we speak.

I agree Transitionland that I wouldn’t want to be poor or anything for that matter in those “scary-awful” countries.

So let’s cut it with the “they’d be better off if they went baaaaack!” crap.

Well, some are going back.   Believe it or not, some Iraqi refugees may prefer their culture and their not-always-safe homeland  to being  on welfare and at the mercy of paternalistic do-gooder refugee agencies.  

And, please answer me this.  If America is such a mean, hard-hearted country then why is it so important that you bring refugees here; you can’t have it both ways.  In other words, if refugee resettlement advocates said, “We love America and we think its the greatest country on earth and we want to share our freedoms and great bounty with others” I would have more respect for their position.   Instead, and this is especially so with the Iraqis, we hear from the refugee lobbyists that America is a bad country, we should feel guilty about Iraq and so therefore we owe Iraqi refugees a life in this rotten, greedy, racist country.   That is crap.

Over 40 NGO’s ask Obama to resettle more Iraqis in the US

Here is more on the orchestrated campaign to bring ever-expanding numbers of Iraqi refugees to the US, but these groups are getting really tricky about mentioning numbers.  Just yesterday I told you that Refugees International’s CEO Ken Bacon was making some sensible remarks about helping Iraqis return home, but behind the scenes they are keeping the drums beating to bring tens of thousands to the US.

(Washington, DC) – Writing to President Barack Obama in response to his new Iraq strategy, International Medical Corps is one of more than 40 leading U.S.-based organizations to praise the President’s promise to help vulnerable Iraqis and call for a comprehensive humanitarian, development and refugee resettlement strategy led by civilian agencies.

The letter’s recommendations reflect broad consensus among aid agencies working inside Iraq, refugee advocates and resettlement agencies assisting and protecting Iraqi refugees in the region and here in the U.S., leading faith-based organizations, and human rights groups. Click here for the letter and list of signers.

You will have to go to the letter dated yesterday to not only see who signed the letter, but to see the part of the letter that concerns us.  They say the “comprehensive” strategy must include resettlement of 50% of the Iraqi refugees who UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) identifies as needing resettlement.   So what the heck is that number?

You need to then return to Refugees International’s (with these same groups) blueprint published this summer to see what sort of mind-blowing numbers they have in mind:

While the U.S. may achieve its goal of resettling 12,000 Iraqi refugees here in the current fiscal year, the needs are much greater. We ask the U.S. to reconsider resettling 105,500 refugees from Iraq and, if necessary, to reassess this number for the next few years. As part of that request, we ask for U.S. government support, including financial support, to enable the U.S. to build the international and domestic capacity necessary to quickly resettle this substantially larger number of Iraqi refugees.

Here is how we calculated that resettlement need:

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 88,000 Iraqi refugees need immediate protection through resettlement next year. The U.S. generally resettles 50% of all refugees resettled in the world each year, bringing in the U.S. share for 2009 to: 44,000

Palestinian refugees living in desperate conditions on the Iraqi – Syrian border need immediate protection through resettlement: 3,000

The most recently available figures show that the State Department is currently processing 7,000 petitions to bring families averaging three people each to the U.S. to join with Iraqis who have already resettled in the U.S: 21,000

The Refugee Crisis in Iraq calls for admitting refugees who were persecuted due to their affiliations with the U.S. Government and other U.S. based organizations. Many of these refugees have left or are in the process of leaving the country and face an urgent need of assistance and protection as their resources run out. The U.S. should immediately resettle annually: 37,500

Are we talking about the whole 105,500 or just the first priority where the UN has identified 88,000 refugees in need of resettlement which still means these 40 plus groups want to bring 44,000 Iraqis to the US this year.   We can’t take care of the 17,000 or so we brought here already, so 44,000 should just about do-in the refugee resettlement program. 

 Keep it up guys, just keep it up.

Endnote:   I feel sorry for the local workers in the subcontractor refugee offices, the people having such a challenging time finding work and decent housing for the Iraqis already in the US.  Did you know your head offices are lobbying for tens of thousands more Iraqis?  Do they ever confer with you guys on this?

Obama, Alinsky and Limbaugh

Sometimes blogs go around in circles with each other. In the “back room” of Refugee Resettlement Watch we can see our statistics — how many people visit us each day, and if they came here from other websites. Our blog platform, Word Press, has a neat feature that automatically generates links to “possible related posts” to posts on other Word Press blogs. That’s how we get some of our commenters who disagree with us, or who agree with us. Today we’re getting a few visitors from a blog called Cinie’s World, so I clicked on the link and found an interesting post called “Alinsky-izing Limbaugh.” Word Press had put up a link to one of Ann’s Alinsky posts at the bottom.  Cinie has the Obama-Alinsky connection down pat. She begins:

The mainstream blogosphere, as opposed to the grassroots blogosphere, like the PUMAsphere, is slowly waking up to the fact that the country is being community organized through Astroturf by those promoting the “surprisinly liberal” guy who ran his campaign for the president as the person who was going to change Washington, politics and the country from the ground up.  Duh.  I keep wondering just what the heck these previously clueless KoolAid drunks, now slowly emerging from their self-induced haze, were thinking for the past two years.  Were they freaking deaf, dumb and blind?  The President Formerly Known As Barry has been spouting Alinsky and using his “get in your face“  tactics to promote his clear agenda all along.  “Change the system” is pretty unambiguous.

I recommend you read the whole post. I clicked on the “About” link to see who Cinie is, and found this:

I am a black, female, lifelong Democrat who changed party affilliation to “none” after the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, May 31, 2008.  To that point, the Democratic Party nominating process stank; afterwards, it reeked.  To date, I am uncertain as to whom I will vote for, the only thing I’m sure of is, it won’t be Barack Obama.  While that currently puts me in the minority racially, it is my firm belief that my brothers and sisters will “wake up and get it” after Obama is elected, if such a fate was to unfortunately befall America.

She was a Hillary supporter, not a conservative. So it’s especially interesting that she sees through Obama so clearly and is not supporting him, even though much of his agenda is similar to Hillary’s. Anyone who connects Obama to Alinsky would have to be pretty cynical or America-hating to support him and his wretched plans for us, and Cinie is neither.  Let’s hope there are lots of other Democrats who are as clear-sighted and honest as Cinie.