Sponsor of Iraqi refugee bill seems clueless

Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) is sponsoring H.R. 578, a bill whose purpose is “to address the impending humanitarian crisis and potential security breakdown as a result of the mass influx of Iraqi refugees into neighboring countries, and the growing internally displaced population in Iraq, by increasing directed accountable assistance to these populations and their host countries, facilitating the resettlement of Iraqis at risk, and for other purposes.”

Ann reported on Hasting’s bill in the last Congress, HR 6496, which did not pass. This is the same bill, reintroduced in January. You’d think he could at least have tried to find out if conditions are the same as when he introduced the original bill two years ago. At that time he referred to “the growing internally displaced population in Iraq.” That was before the surge, but perhaps Hastings hasn’t noticed that Iraq is no longer in the state of emergency it was then.

Today the American Chronicle has an article which confirms Hastings’s cluelessness. Headlined “Hastings Urges a ‘Humanitarian Surge’ for Iraqi Refugee Crisis,” it tells us:

(Washington, DC) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) gave the keynote address on the Iraqi refugee crisis at a conference presented by the International Human Rights Law Clinic and the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University´s Washington College of Law.

His entire short speech is printed in the article. His heart seems to be in the right place (though who can really tell, given the left’s habit of dressing up horrible legislation in compassionate words), but much of the bill makes little sense in today’s conditions. The “findings” section, which lists “facts,” says:

(4) The Iraq Study group predicted that ‘[a] humanitarian catastrophe could follow as more refugees are forced to relocate across the country and the region.’.

Well, yes, they did predict it, but that’s not what’s happening now.  So why is it relevant in this bill? Another “fact”:

(14) United States policy is to admit at least 50 percent of the refugees referred by the UNHCR.

Since when is this our policy? I thought we had a numerical cap, not a percentage of anything.

In the entire bill there is no mention of helping Iraqi refugees to resettle back home. Hastings just reintroduced the bill word for word as if nothing has changed in two years. It goes without saying that he has no clue about the condition of Iraqi refugees who have come to the United States. So it’s all about aiding the refugees where they fled to and helping vulnerable populations within Iraq, as well as increasing the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. by at least 20,000.

Hastings’s speech showed no awareness of current conditions, and could have been given two years ago. It may have been for all I know, and was recycled for this occasion. In it he says:

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Ambassador of Iraq. We had a very informative discussion about this humanitarian crisis and what it will mean for the future of Iraq. During our meeting, I conveyed my hope that the Iraqi government would take greater responsibility to help refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

And what did the Ambassador reply? If I were the Ambassador I would have said, “You stupid jerk, don’t you know we’re paying people money to come back? We’re trying to solve the housing problem. We’re trying to solve the jobs problem. We want our people back to rebuild our country.”

But he’s a diplomat. I’m sure he didn’t say that. But we don’t know what he said; Hastings doesn’t tell us.

If there are hearings on this bill, I hope somebody tells Hastings and his fellow sponsors that most of the refugees can go home. We need to help that happen. And we need to specifically help those who can’t go home, like Christians and other religious minorities. Does the State Department know? Can someone call up Hastings and tell him?

But I get the feeling from his speech that he prefers to keep shoveling money out to the UN and the NGOs.

Canadian Somali youths have gone off to terrorist training too

Although mosque leaders are denying it,  a Canadian senior official is saying that as many as 30 Canadian Somalis (former refugees) have gone off to join al-Shabaab.  Hat tip:  Weasel Zippers.

From CBC News:

A leader in Canada’s Somalian community is dismissing reports of young people being recruited by an al-Qaeda-linked militia to fight in Somalia, despite evidence it is occurring in the United States and elsewhere.


However, a senior federal government official with knowledge of Canada’s security services has told CBC News that Somali-Canadian young men have indeed joined the al-Shabab militia.


The federal Canadian official — who would not agree to be named because he is not authorized to speak publicly — estimated al-Shabab recruiting may have involved as many as 30 Somali-Canadian youths.

For our archive on all the Somali missing “youths” stories go here.

Shelbyville, TN and Somalis in the news again

Yesterday, Christian Broadcasting News presented a detailed look at the “culture clash” in this small southern town that has been flooded in recent years by Somali refugees seeking work at the Tyson chicken plant nearby.   We have written extensively about Shelbyville, a town I am hoping to visit this spring.

To set the scene:

At first glance, Shelbyville is your typical sleepy southern hamlet. It’s nestled in middle Tennessee, where the walking horse is king.

There’s Main St., the local sheriff, a movie theatre. It’s all very “Mayberry,” except for one big difference: the recent arrival of hundreds of Somali Muslims.

Small Town Having Difficulties

Shelbyville is about an hour’s drive from Nashville, in the heart of the Bible Belt. Like many Americans, the citizens of Shelbyville knew little about Somalia other than the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident, in which 18 U.S. servicemen were killed while battling warlords and Islamic jihadists in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

So when hundreds of Somalis began turning up in the town–many of them dressed in traditional Islamic garb–locals quickly took notice.

“They’ve had an impact here. Unfortunately, it’s not been a good impact,” said Brian Mosely, a reporter for the local Shelbyville Times-Gazette.

Mosely won an award from the Associated Press for a series of articles he wrote for the paper about Shelbyville’s Somalis. [Mosely’s reports are here.]

“I found that there was just an enormous culture clash going on here,” he said. “The Somalis were–according to a lot of the people I talked to here–were being very, very rude, inconsiderate, very demanding. They would go into stores and haggle over prices. They would also demand to see a male salesperson, would not deal with women in stores”

But no one taught them how to behave, says a Somali leader in Nashville.  Some federally contracted refugee resettlement agency was responsible for them at one point, so why weren’t they taught about American cultural practices?

Abdirizak Hassan is the director of the Somali Community Center in nearby Nashville. He says the state of Tennessee has no programs to help immigrants integrate into their new surroundings.

“They come, and the only thing they can do is go to work, and then after work they go back to the apartment,” Hassan said. “They’re totally isolated and there’s no interaction between them and the locals.”

I guess Mr. Hassan has put his legal problems with the US government behind him and readers should know that the Somali Community Center he heads has changed its name.  Go here to learn about the financial funny business that Hassan and the Center were embroiled in in 2007.

So some want to go home, my that is “rare.”  [for new readers, I am being sarcastic, we are hearing of more and more cases of refugees wanting to go home.]

He added that some have even expressed a desire to return to Somalia.

“A lot of them face eviction. They put them in an apartment complex that costs $600 a month. They can’t get a job that gives them that much money,” Hassan explained.

As I said before, the volags, the federal contractors resettling refugees, should have funds to buy plane tickets for any refugees who would like to return to Africa, the Middle East or wherever.

For more information on why the Somalis might intentionally isolate themselves, see Jihad Watch here.

Here is an archive of all the posts we have done mentioning Shelbyville.  If we had known it would be such a hot topic starting more than a year ago, we would have created an entire category for it.

Obama is likely to release Gitmo prisoners into US

Not all of them, but at least a batch of 20 men(up from17) is being considered for release.  We just can’t drop them on the streets.  No, of course not, probably as we speak one of the top ten volags (federal refugee contractors) is busy finding them a home.   But, where?     Hat tip:  Blulitspecial.

President Barack Obama’s intelligence chief confirmed Thursday that some Guantanamo inmates may be released on US soil and receive assistance to return to society.

“If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life,” said National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair at his first press conference.

“You can’t just put them on the street,” he added. “All that is work in progress.”

For our previous posts on Guantanamo Bay go here.