New Report: Immigrant unemployment at record high

We knew this anecdotally, but now comes a report out today from the Center for Immigration Studies to confirm it.

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2009) – A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds that immigrants have been harder hit by the recession than natives. Unemployment among immigrants (legal and illegal) was higher in the first quarter of 2009 than at any time since 1994, when immigrant data was first collected separately. This represents a change from the recent past, when native-born Americans had the higher unemployment rate.

Read all the findings here.  Especially take note of the findings that confirm that highly educated immigrants are having a harder time finding jobs too.  We knew that already from our extensive coverage of the Iraqi refugees.

Weird Iraqi refugee story in LA Times

I’m just going to let you go read this at the LA Times.  Frankly, it makes no sense.  This American woman, a reporter, falls for an Iraqi man while on assignment in Iraq.  They ultimately marry.    He then applies for refugee status (I think through the Special Immigrant Visa Program) because he worked for Americans.   But, he also applied for his younger brother to come with him.  Younger brother gets accepted but husband is still waiting to hear.  New wife is hosting sullen younger brother who doesn’t want to eat her cupcakes and cookies.

Either Iraqi refugee processing is very screwed-up or the husband has run into Homeland Security screening problems—not good whichever it is!

Three of original Ft. Dix Six sent to prison for life

You can read all about it over at Jihad Watch.  I’m just posting it here as a wrap-up to a story that we followed from the beginning.  Here is an archive of our coverage.  I took an interest in the case because I grew up not far from Ft. Dix, but more importantly because some of these men were in the US illegally and one was an Albanian refugee who had been resettled at Ft. Dix during Bill Clinton’s Bosnian War period.

Another Asylum attorney gets busted

I told you about a recent case in Maryland where immigration lawyer, Patrick Tzeuton from Cameroon, was convicted of immigration fraud when he fabricated documents for clients seeking asylum in the US.  

Thanks to a reader here is another case, from Seattle, with a different twist.  This asylum attorney (I am assuming he is/was an attorney although the article does not say) was advising clients to pretend they were gay and of course persecuted to receive approval for asylum.

SEATTLE – A man accused of advising straight immigrants to claim homosexuality – and potential persecution in their home countries – when they applied for asylum has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.

Steven Mahoney entered his plea Tuesday in federal court in Seattle.

The U.S. attorney’s office says the 41-year-old Mahoney ran Mahoney and Associates in Kent, and held himself out as an expert in immigration affairs. They say he made money by advising immigrants on how to stay in the U.S. Between late 1998 and mid 2007, Mahoney admits he filed as many as 99 false immigration documents and was paid between $1,000 and $4,000 for each.

Asylees are people who have gotten into the US and claim they were in some way persecuted and would be in danger if they returned to their home country—you know, like Obama’s Aunt Zeituni.   However, once granted asylum they are treated just like refugees and receive the same benefits that refugees receive.

Last summer I told you about how it was harder to use the gay/lesbian persecution angle to legally stay in the US if you were Mexican here.   The reason is that being gay is becoming acceptable in Mexico and other countries south of the border.    But, here is what I wondered at the time:

I’m wondering how the government and these asylum lawyers know if the immigrant claiming asylum is telling the truth.   Couldn’t an illegal immigrant coming across the border just say he is gay? Surely no one checks behind closed doors.

I guess this Seattle story confirms that is exactly what they are doing, and I doubt this is an isolated case.

By the way, one commenter to the story asked if all the clients will now be deported for lying.  Guesses?

Iraqi refugees in Atlanta voice their unhappiness to IRC’s CEO

Your tax dollars:

I must say even I am getting tired of one article after another about Iraqi refugees struggling to find their way in Any City, USA.  Maybe you are too, but I think you will enjoy this aspect of the same old story. 

The basic story we have reported more than 20 times now is:

* Iraqi refugees misled by officials abroad about how great their lives in the US will be, 

* Iraqis can’t find employment and many are highly skilled, evictions possible,

* Refugee agency ‘poor mouths’ and claims they are struggling along with meager funding, trying to do their best they tell reporters,

* Iraqis are savvy enough to know how to voice their complaints to the media, unlike refugees from camps such as the Burmese or Bhutanese,

* No resolution to the problems in sight, refugee program will soon emerge on the national stage as more refugees continue to pour into the country.

This article today from the Atlanta Journal Constitution contains a revealing bit of news.   George Rupp, former President of Columbia University and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, one of the Top Ten government contractors has gone to Atlanta and called a meeting of disgruntled refugees.

Atlanta welcomes more than 2,000 refugees every year, many of whom are fleeing terror or have lived the bulk of their years without a homeland. But amid a severe recession in this country, the struggle to begin anew is greater than ever.

Expectations dashed and pocketbooks quickly emptied, jobless refugees are left to ponder whether the lives they left behind, though mired in fear, might have served them better.

“What do I have to expect? Being homeless? This is the United States. Life should be better than that,” says an angry Zainab Ibrahim, an accountant who fled to Jordan from her native Iraq and was resettled in Atlanta last June.

She came with hope, as did her compatriots Jabber Mohammed, Abdulkadir Ahmed and Imad Yakoub, middle-class professionals who expected to find suitable employment here.

Some aired their frustrations one April afternoon at the Decatur office of the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit agency that resettles refugees. George Rupp, president and CEO of the global organization, was visiting the Atlanta office to hear from Iraqis like Ibrahim, now dependent on the generosity of friends and family to pay her bills.

Rupp says American resettlement agencies feel a moral responsibility for Iraqi refugees because of the 2003 invasion and subsequent U.S. involvement in Iraq. It took the United States several years to open its doors to Iraqis displaced in the war that began in 2003. It’s unfortunate, Rupp says, that when they finally began arriving in America, it was in the midst of an economic downturn.

Corporate Humanitarianism

Let me tell you a little about Dr. Rupp and his struggling refugee agency.   This is from their 2007 Form 990:

The IRC took in $253,733,301 in that year and $108,201,276 came from you, the taxpayer, in the form of government grants.   Think about it— over $108 million!  That is almost half of all their funding.

Dr. Rupp’s salary and benefits package amounted to $412,540 which is more than the  President of the United States or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court makes. 

Four Vice Presidents in New York receive salary and benefits ranging from the high $100,000’s to nearly $250,000.    They spent around a half a million dollars on fundraising consultants and $444,000 on their financial audit alone.   

All this and they leave refugees living in fear of being evicted from their apartments and being homeless in the mean streets of America.    Where is the IRC’s moral responsibility?

We’re seeking emergency funding [Edit: this means from you the taxpayer] to prevent homelessness,” says Beattie of the International Rescue Committee.

She doesn’t know of a family who is on the streets yet, but is concerned about the high number of eviction notices. Refugees in Georgia are not immediately eligible for subsidized public housing, prompting some to migrate to states such as Maine where such housing is available.

Yes, just ship them off to Maine where the taxpayers can pick up the tab.  Maybe the IRC ought to cut a few salaries and help the people they feel a moral responsibility to!

Do you know how the Obama Administration is attempting to cap salaries of bank executives and other business executives that get taxpayer funding, same principle applies here, or does ‘spreading the wealth’ not apply to the work of do-gooders? 

I hope  you are reading this Mr. Parker.