US State Department wants to reinstate family reunification program by year’s end

I wondered what ever happened to this issue, it seemed to have dropped into a black hole.  However, now comes news via another sad refugee puff-piece  story in the Houston Chronicle that the State Department hopes to get the family reunification portion of refugee resettlement up and running by year’s end.  Readers may recall that the program was suspended when widespread fraud was uncovered last year.   See those reports here.

From the Houston Chronicle, yesterday:

The program has been dogged by allegations of abuse for years, and it was suspended in October after a pilot program involving DNA testing found evidence of widespread fraud by people falsely claiming to be related to each other.

Refugee resettlement workers now say the program’s suspension and prolonged processing delays have created a hardship for refugees in the U.S. who are eager for the safety of relatives left behind in Africa, where hundreds of thousands of people have been stranded in war-torn regions.

The Chronicle reporter builds her story, designed to get the reader’s sympathy, around Houston African refugee 24-year-old Mayam Kromah who has discovered her long lost Daddy whom she hasn’t seen since she was 3 or 4 years old.  He is in Guinea, not a hotbed of civil unrest. As a matter of fact, we only admitted 3 refugees from Guinea in the last year.

Houston is home to loads of refugees.

Dario Lipovac, the resettlement services director for YMCA International Services in Houston, said he has a filing cabinet full of paperwork from applicants for the P-3 program, many of whom are still waiting to hear from immigration officials.

Houston has one of largest refugee populations in the U.S. In 2007, Texas resettled 4,440 refugees — many from Africa — ranking second to California.

87% of applicants had lied or disappeared before they could be tested!

The P-3 program aims to reunify families separated after resettlement, which has been considered a long-standing priority in U.S. refugee admission. Since 2003, the program has admitted roughly 36,000 relatives of African refugees, plus about 400 people from other countries, according to the State Department. The majority were from Somalia, Ethiopia and Liberia.

Admissions through the program were suspended last spring for applicants from a handful of East African countries after a pilot DNA testing program in Kenya found high rates of fraud.

A joint investigation by Homeland Security Department and State Department officials involving 500 P-3 cases found that 87 percent of applicants had either lied about a biological relative or failed to show up for an interview as word of DNA testing spread.

Family reunification suspended worldwide.

After the initial findings in Kenya, the DNA testing was expanded to other African countries that participated in the program and found varying rates of fraud, said Fred Lash, a State Department spokesman.

He said final results of the testing are not yet available, but the results were troubling enough that U.S. officials suspended the program throughout the world.

Admissions have dropped dramatically since the start of the fraud investigation — from 5,090 in 2007 to 1,540 in 2008. Since October, only 139 family members of refugees have arrived through the program.

DNA testing should be done on everyone—so-called “anchors” here and the applicants abroad!

Lash said the U.S. government plans to reinstate the program by the end of this year. He said it will require more stringent biometric checks in the future, most likely through DNA testing. The State Department and DHS have not said whether that testing would include “anchor” relatives in the U.S.

“…one man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard.”

That is the concluding line of an essay by Canadian Somali, K’naan, published at the Huffington Post this morning.   I had no intention of even mentioning the military strike on Somali pirates yesterday that resulted in the freedom of their American hostage Capt. Richard Phillips.  Afterall, the mainstream media is all over the story and what more could I say;  and other than the fact that we follow Somali refugee issues closely, it has nothing to do with what we write about.   Or maybe it does?

After my initial jubilation about the Captain’s release and our stunning display of military might, approved by President Obama no less, I started wondering how the average Somali living in huge numbers* in some American cities was going to feel about teenagers blown away while they were being towed by the American Navy ship and in the midst of negotiations. 

If you are now thinking that I’m getting soft by even giving any consideration to the “other side,”  consider that we also know that al-Shabaab, an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization that wishes to “throw the west into hell”  and bring about a worldwide caliphate does have operatives in the US.    So, I am wondering if we are stepping up security wherever Americans interface with Somalis.

K’naan, a successful and westernized Somali immigrant, says that although he is critical of piracy, his viewpoint and presumably the average Somali immigrants viewpoint, is to blame the origin of the piracy on the West—on environmental degradation perpetrated by European countries on Somalia.   Read the whole essay, but here is just a bit to see where he and many (how many?) other Somalis living in the west are likely coming from.

The truth is, if you ask any Somali, if getting rid of the pirates only means the continuous rape of our coast by unmonitored Western Vessels, and the producing of a new cancerous generation, we would all fly our pirate flags high.

It is time that the world gave the Somali people some assurance that these Western illegal activities will end, if our pirates are to seize their operations. We do not want the EU and NATO serving as a shield for these nuclear waste-dumping hoodlums. It seems to me that this new modern crisis is truly a question of justice, but also a question of whose justice.

In addition to al-Shabaab operatives in the US, we also have some common Somali criminals like those arrested in Minneapolis for shooting up a party a couple of weeks ago.  Will that type of hoodlum see a moral justification and feel emboldened to take out his fury on the infidels?  I hope Homeland Security is now gearing up for that possibility.

* For new readers, the US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.

Is everything peachy in the Tucson “melting pot?”

Here is a story, your usual puff piece, about how refugees from all cultures are melting into one big happy community in one neighborhood in Tuscson, or are they?

The reporter at the Tucson Citizen is quick to tell us how fabulous everything is in this “welcoming” city.

They come from around the globe, making a home in the heart of Tucson.

In the past decade, about 2,000 newly arrived refugees have settled in midtown Tucson, looking to start a new life free from violence, persecution and poverty.


Families from Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and other nations live side by side in apartment complexes, settled there by agencies that assist refugees.

The reporter goes on to tell us that the problem the refugees are having is economic, jobs are scarce (same old story) and then gives us this bit of information.  I don’t know what she is talking about.  I’ve never heard of the US Resettlement Project with 18 months of financial help. 

Refugees do get assistance from the U.S. Resettlement Project. But the 18 months of financial help they used to get has been cut to one month.

Nonetheless, she goes on to quote Ken Briggs, executive director of  the International Rescue Committee in Tucson as saying that even though hundreds of refugees can’t find work and pay bills,  and there is a “little teasing” among kids, Tucson is a “welcoming” city.  Tucson is also a “preferred community” according to the US State Department.

But for the most part, “the Tucson community has been welcoming to refugees,” he said.

So, if  you have read this far you are thinking that is so nice, diversity works, everything is peachy in Tucson.   Almost universally these puff-piece articles end with a hint that maybe it’s not all sweetness and light in cities with refugees put together in a utopian melting pot experiment that our political leftwing dreams about.   Does the reporter get qualms about not balancing the story?

She (Becky Noel, a community service officer with the Tucson Police Department) said some refugee teens get picked on by gang kids. Sometimes they fight back by forming their own gangs.

“But I’ve had more issues with one refugee group not liking another,” she said.

She said refugees with different religious and political views can end up living in the same apartment building, and sometimes have to be separated.

Go back now and visit this post , and this one, from last fall about unhappy Iraqi refugees in Tucson.

Everything is not peachy in Tucson but it’s not politically correct to say that—-the melting pot myth must be perpetuated at all costs.