IRC Boston office closure decision is revealing

I first told you about this two days ago—the International Rescue Committee has announced it will close its Boston office because they don’t have enough money in their $200 million plus annual income to take care of refugees there after 3 decades of doing so.    From the Boston Business Journal:

IRC officials said their work in Boston was crippled by a combination of factors: the area’s high cost of housing, federal funding limits set too low to make ends meet, fewer refugees assigned to start their lives in Boston and dwindling philanthropic support. Headquartered in New York, IRC will continue its refugee resettlement programs in other cities across the country.


While federal funding comprises the lion’s share of the IRC’s budget, private contributions make up the difference and those plummeted over the past six years in Boston, dropping to approximately $25,000 in 2008 from $207,000 in 2003.

Although they are supposed to be public-private partnerships, these corporate humanitarian organizations, like the IRC, have become almost completely dependent on taxpayer funding to resettle refugees.  This reference above to fewer refugees being assigned to Boston means that since these agencies are paid by the head (by you!), their coffers are diminished when each has less refugees to resettle.  On top of that, it is human nature that when people realize the government is the charity, then there is less private charity given.

What?  Housing costs are through the roof in the Socialist Republic of Massachusetts!   Senator Ted, send them to Hyannisport, Kennedy can’t afford to keep refugees in his state!  I wonder how many refugees Kennedy could care for with his personal wealth?  Or, how about Rep. Barney, the housing king, Frank, no room at his home either?

The closure of the IRC is starkly symbolic of Boston’s struggle to maintain a strong refugee population while balancing housing costs that remain among the highest in the country despite the spiraling economy.

And here it is, an unbelievable revelation that the presence of refugees have a political impact.  This can’t be, I thought this was all about helping the downtrodden.

The factors leading to the IRC’s decision to leave Boston are perhaps more significant even than the closure itself. With a steady decline in the number of refugees resettling in Boston there is a potential corresponding decline in population statewide [What, a decline in Democratic voters?], a number factored into decisions about the composition and size of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation and certain types of federal funding.

And again, for all of you wondering how refugees come to live in your city, it is just as I said on previous occasions, these corporate humanitarian organizations decide if and when your city is “welcoming.”   The State Department only jumps in when problems arise, otherwise completely unaccountable NGO’s are choosing your community for resettling refugees.

Where to resettle refugees, one city or state versus another, is a decision that rests at the federal level, reviewed weekly by the U.S. State Department and a group of national aid organization that provide services for refugees. These national organizations, in turn, assign cases to local affiliates based on several factors, including housing cost and employment. The IRC, for example, assigned refugee cases to its Boston-based office, while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops assigns cases to Catholic Charities in Boston.

Based on this information, Catholic Charities might soon have to cut its refugee resettlement program.

As the IRC closure demonstrates, Boston has lost its appeal in recent years, most acutely since 9/11 [what the heck does 9/11 have to do with Boston’s appeal to refugees?] and particularly for refugees who have no relatives in the area. Catholic Charities managed 450 refugee resettlement cases at a time in Boston during the 1990s; today, its caseload is 127, said Marjean Perhot, the operation’s director of refugee and immigration services.

Boston, don’t give up yet!  More refugees may still come your way if your state refugee coordinator* has his way.   Afterall,  he needs to assure refugees keep coming because the feds (the federal taxpayers) pay for his office too!

Chacon (Richard Chacon, executive director of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants) said he is lobbying hard on the national level to keep refugees coming to Boston, and said he hopes to see the IRC return to the city someday.

* Contact information for Mr. Chacon and all other state coordinators can be found here.  See Massachusetts and note how much federal money Mr. Chacon’s office receives.   Scroll up or down for your state.

Taxpayer-funded stimulus money going to keep refugee resettlement moving along in Arizona

Your tax dollars:

Obama stimulus funds are being made available to VISTA so they can employ cadres of workers to help in refugee resettlement among other things.   From the Arizona Republic:

The cavalry has arrived just in time, at least for some financially strapped non-profit and government agencies.

They’re not on horseback, but the cadre of paid Volunteers In Service To America workers could not have come at a better time. The workers are paid a stipend funded by the federal economic-stimulus package to work with youth programs in Phoenix; help the Mesa United Way raise funds; teach refugees life skills; and assist Goodyear as it cracks down on neighborhood blight.


For agencies with little funding for employees, the VISTA program has been a godsend, said the Rev. Donna Buckles, a VISTA program supervisor for Refugee Resettlement of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest. 


The state Department of Economic Security intends to hire 20 VISTA workers to assist with refugee-resettlement projects this fall. One project includes training refugees in child care so others can go to work; another involves canning foods that would normally be thrown away.

Hurry, one and all—get your free government money!

Iranian refugee camp in Iraq in jeopardy

Here is a story I want to bring to your attention, but am not sure what to say about it other than keep an eye on it.   From the Washington Times yesterday.

Trouble is brewing at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group the PMOI – the People’s Mujahideen of Iran – are based.

At Iran’s request, the Iraqi authorities, who took over protection of Ashraf from American troops in January, are now preventing medicine and fuel from reaching the inhabitants. Parts of Ashraf, including a dormitory for several hundred women, have been besieged since mid-March, and unarmed residents have been subjected to violence. Most journalists and Iraqi doctors are not allowed entry – neither are relatives of the PMOI nor women of any nationality.

These draconian measures were put into force by Iraq’s National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, a key ally of Iran, who says he wants to drive PMOI members out of Iraq. They also come two months after the European Union removed the PMOI from its terrorist list. Britain de-proscribed the group in 2008 after the Court of Appeal found that all the evidence showed it was “perverse” to classify the group as a terrorist organization.

The group remains on the U.S. blacklist, but in 2004 Washington recognized all PMOI members in Ashraf as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, after determining that none of them could be charged with any crime under U.S. law. Under international law, an attempt to forcefully displace the population even inside Iraq would be tantamount to a war crime.

Americans have been protecting this camp and I asked in March if these Iranians are killed when we pull-out of Iraq will Obama be blamed?