A church group taking care of refugees with real charity

From time to time people ask me if there is any group resettling refugees without getting paid by the US taxpayer for their “charitable” work.   Well, yes, here is one, Christian Freedom International— CFI not only helps refugees in camps in Thailand but puts its prayers, volunteers and private money to work helping refugees resettle and assimilate to a life in America.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI (Christian Freedom International) — Miraculous. It’s the only word I can think of to describe what’s going on here in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

When I say “miraculous,” it’s not what you might think. There hasn’t been an outbreak of sudden, unexplained healings, nor have there been any sightings of angels walking among us here in the Soo.

Instead, the town has been quietly rejuvenated by a group of 14 families—over 50 men, women, and children—who have claimed for themselves a piece of the American dream while making a lasting impact on the small community they’ve learned to call “home.”

What’s so remarkable about these 14 families and the 8 children my wife and I have adopted? They’re Karen refugees from Burma.

Against the greatest of odds, these families have gone from struggling through a bleak existence in Thailand refugee camps to enjoying abundant freedom and opportunities in the United States.

In the recent months since they’ve relocated to Michigan, these refugees have found new homes, friends, and churches, and are happily thriving in ways that they never thought possible.

Volunteers are volunteers, the old fashioned type.  There is no logging “volunteer” hours to be turned into the federal government for cold hard cash from the Match Grant Program.

Local volunteers have been a special blessing to the growing Karen community, as well. Several mentor families are teaching many of the refugees the basics of how to shop, pay bills, and manage their homes, and more than 25 volunteers hold English classes for the refugees three nights a week.

It looks like CFI is rescuing refugees that have been resettled by federal contractors in crime ridden cities.

Volunteer manpower has also been a tremendous help with the motel reconstruction, which is an especially important project that will offer clean, safe housing for new families—many of whom have been living in high crime, inner city neighborhoods since their resettlement in the United States.

Now, can you imagine there are actually groups resettling poor, scared refugees in high crime neighborhoods.  It is almost impossible to believe.  Who could be so cheap and heartless to do such a thing?

HIAS Head Honcho: No pay cut for me!

On the very day that Obama is telling top executives they need to be cutting pay (you know to be sure the wealth is more evenly distributed) someone sent me news that Gideon Aronoff, CEO of one of the Top Ten (Volag) Government Contractors, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, hasn’t cut his.    This while newly arrived refugees are completely freaked out because of the dismal jobs outlook, some even fearing eviction.   

Four staffers jobs were axed at HIAS which seems to have fixed this non-profit’s balance sheet without Mr. Aronoff experiencing any personal financial pain.

In other cases, top executives have simply viewed their own salaries as one of many expenses that the organization could consider cutting — and not necessarily the first option.

“We considered all of the approaches and decided that the best way to do it — to leave things as much as possible the way they were before the economic downturn — was this scalpel-like cutting,” said Gideon Aronoff, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Aronoff, who earned $250,000 in 2007, laid off four of his organization’s 70 employees, in addition to implementing various other cuts in expenses.

Aronoff added that salary reductions for himself and other senior managers were “on the table” when the final budget numbers came in, but that the numbers worked out in a way that made salary cuts unnecessary. Aronoff did participate in an organization-wide giveback of four vacation days for all employees.

He did give up four vacation days along with everyone else at HIAS. 

Funny, I couldn’t find a Form 990 for HIAS in New York.  There is one in Chicago that is largely funded by the taxpayer and I suspect this one is too.

Is Obama paying off Palau to take Uighurs?

Update June 13th:  People in mostly Christian Palau are pretty unhappy with the, now 13 Uighurs, coming to Palau.  AP has the report here.  The other 4 have already gone to Bermuda.

Apparently getting desperate and trying to find a “home” for 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay, the Obama administration first tried Europe and Canada to no avail.  They have finally settled on the tiny Pacific Island country of Palau which has agreed to take them— temporarily—whatever that means.   Hat tip:  Blulitespecial

But is Palau getting a little extra sweetner for its lemonade?  From Fox News:

The South Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to “temporarily resettle” the 17 Uighurs, or Chinese Muslims, currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, an official with the Palau government told FOX News.

“Palau’s accommodation to accept the temporary resettlement of these detainees is a humanitarian gesture intended to held them be freed from any further unnecessary incarceration and to restart their lives anew in as normal a fashion as possible,” according to a press release provided to FOX News by the official.

Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, said the U.S. was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.

The issue of what to do with Chinese Islamic radicals that China wants returned has been plaguing the Obama Justice Department for some time.  Afterall, China wants a chance to torture its own Islamic separatist terrorists.

We have been following this issue since it began because one option was to treat them as asylees and release them to a neighborhood near you.  Needless to say, no one wants them in their back yard.

One controversial option considered was to release the Uighurs into the United States. In fact, a federal court ordered the U.S. government to do just that, but an appeals court blocked the move, ruling that the federal court lacked the necessary authority.

The US resettlement option was pretty much killed by the Uighurs themselves when they had a few choice words about America and a question for our dear leader.

Last week, during a press tour of their detention camp, some of the Uighurs approached the fence around the facility and — with phrases written on an art pad — compared the U.S. government to that of China and Nazi Germany. One Uighur asked in English, “Obama is a Communist or a Democrat?”

Read more about how sweet-natured the Uighurs sound and what they think of the United States in Judy’s post of last week, here.

Then, believe it or not, a lawyer for the Uighurs says, ‘well maybe they don’t want to go to Palau!’  Let’s see Gitmo, China, or Palau?

Sabin Willett, a lawyer for six of the Uighurs, said he has been left in the dark about the U.S. government’s plans for the Uighurs. If Palau has in fact agreed to take them, he said, “the real question is whether the Uighurs will want to go.”

Hey, here’s a thought, maybe Obama could hand them over to the Chinese government in exchange for a favor from China—afterall, we desperately need China to cut us some slack on Obama’s national debt.  

I also would like to know who is going to guarantee they stay put in Palau?