Modern Slavery Comes to Kansas….

….and maybe your state too!   That title is from an opinion piece at the Wall Street Journal today and all I can say is, ‘I told you so!’    This is the reason big business is so pro-open borders—cheap labor is the driver.  In this case it was truly slave labor!

On May 27, a federal grand jury indictment was unsealed accusing a group of 12 people, mainly Uzbekistanis along with a company called Giant Labor Solutions, of running a labor trafficking ring in Kansas City, Mo., and its suburbs. If the indictment is to be believed, the scam involved the same sort of debt-bondage tricks that have pushed workers elsewhere into servitude for years.

The way it allegedly worked was this: The Kansas City ring recruited hundreds of workers from Jamaica, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic with promises of visas through the federal H-2B seasonal worker program. To get the process started, however, the indictment says that workers had to pay the accused racketeers hefty fees.

Once in America, the workers found themselves at the mercy of the traffickers, who allegedly kept “them as modern-day slaves under threat of deportation,” in the words of James Gibbons of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

How do you think the Uzbekistanis got here—the Refugee Resettlement Program of the US State Department tops my list as a the likely source.   As of 2005 we brought in a half a million so-called “refugees” from the former Soviet Union.   If you are checking the numbers, it is only in recent years (2008 and 2009) that the Uzbekistanis are separated out on the data charts kept at the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Guess what Kansas industry was using the “slaves” supplied by Giant Labor Solutions—-the hotel industry!  Ring a bell anyone?   Is that why the Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville and its manager Tom Negri are so pro-immigrant?   Surely, it’s out of the goodness of his heart that Negri helped start pro-immigrant phoney-baloney grassroots groups in Nashville with Chicago-style community organizers.   That’s why they gathered all the bleeding hearts of Nashville together for a press conference at the hotel just a couple of weeks ago to proclaim their love of immigrants.  LOL!

The days of appreciative servitude are over now, however, and a spokesman for the city’s hoteliers told the Kansas City Star that they had nothing to do with the labor recruiter’s alleged distasteful practices.

But I suspect this problem won’t be brushed off so easily. Hotel chains may denounce their former labor recruiter, but the Web site of the hotel industry’s trade association still bellows its support for the federal H-2B visa program that may have made it all possible. 

Author Thomas Frank wraps up with this!

The answer comes in another choice phrase from the Web site of the accused: Bring on Giant Labor and “your recruiting, hiring and payroll expenses will drastically drop.”

It’s a “labor solution,” all right. It’s “a win-win situation,” even. For everyone but the workers.

Note to do-gooders:  This is all about an unholy alliance between big business (cheap labor) on the one hand, and using immigrants to destabilize communities on the other hand.    You may care deeply about the plight of the world’s downtrodden but the driving force behind the open borders movement is BIG BUCKS for some and more Leftwing angry demanding voters for others.

Question for Ms. Sebelius, former Governor of Kansas and now Secretary of Health and Human Services that oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement—-what did you know about this back in Kansas?

IRC uses Iraqi refugees as ‘poster children’ to get more funding

Update August 20th:  Three more sob stories IRC helped plant here.

Update June 21:  Arizona Republic, just give them more taxpayer money, no questions asked.

Update June 20th:   Two more mainstream media outlets buy the IRC report hook, line and sinker,  The Contra Costa Times, and  Time magazine which reports that Obama is going to fix the problem.

Update June 19th:   Houston Chronicle buys the IRC press release hook, line and sinker too, but their readers don’t—check out the comments—here.   See my comment on the comments, here.   Christian Science Monitor does a little more digging and doesn’t swallow the story whole, here.

Update later today:  Lazy AP reporter swallows IRC press release hook, line and sinker here.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has begun (is proceeding with!) a public relations campaign using the plight of the Iraqi refugees now entering the US and ending up in poverty as the focal point of a campaign to get more federal funding.   Calling it reform, the IRC doesn’t tell the public all the facts.   Their press release from earlier in the week begins:

16 Jun 2009 – The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is outdated and under-funded and is resettling Iraqi refugees into poverty rather than helping rebuild their lives in the country that offered them sanctuary, says the International Rescue Committee.

In a new report, “Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits,” the IRC’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees says resettlement continues to be a critical and lifesaving intervention for thousands of at-risk Iraqi refugees who are living in precarious conditions in exile and unable to return home safely. Yet the federal program no longer meets the basic needs of today’s newly arriving refugees and requires urgent reform.

The IRC is one of the richest and most heavily government subsidized of the Top Ten (volag) Government Contractors hired to resettle refugees.   Here is a recent post in which I told you about the IRC’s “corporate humanitarianism.”   And,  here is another post where the IRC is making a plea for more taxpayer money.

In this week’s press release the IRC uses guilt about the war in Iraq on the American people.  I suspect they did some polling and found that the Iraqi refugees somehow had more appeal to the public then the large numbers of Burmese and Bhutanese that are being resettled.  However, the Iraqis serve as a twofer—they are not quiet about their desperate situation here with unemployment, and by focusing on the Iraqis the IRC gets to continue bashing  America (Bush/Republicans, that is) for the war in Iraq,

“Nearly all of the Iraqis we surveyed had expectations that they would receive better care from a government whose policies had a hand in their upheaval, particularly those who put their lives on the line to work for the U.S. military and government and were targeted as a result,” says IRC president George Rupp. “Few imagined that they would receive such short-term and limited assistance upon arrival or that they could become homeless in the country that offered them shelter. They deserve better.”

Incidentally, someone set-up the Iraqis to think they were going to have a great life here and be well-taken-care of.  Why, and who would do such a thing?

Some things the IRC doesn’t tell you:

* The IRC received $108,201,276 from government grants in 2006 (see 2007 Form 990 here).  And, they resettled 5029 refugees according to the 2006 ORR annual report to Congress, here.     So that works out to about $20,000 per refugee, if my math is correct.    So when you hear this claptrap about how all they get is half of $900 to resettle a refugee, consider the numbers.

* George Rupp, IRC President, takes in a cool $400,000 in salary and benefits and there are 8 either board members or vice presidents making 6-figure salaries.  Where is the redistribution of wealth among these bigwigs?  

* The IRC reported to the IRS in that Form 990 I’ve linked that $444,000 went to financial auditors, $363,000 was for fundraising consultants, $100,725 for a human resources consultant and telemarketers got $255,582.  They spent nearly $1.5 million on meetings and conferences.  Since nearly 50% of IRC’s funding is from the taxpayer, you paid for a lot of this.    How many refugees could be helped with this sort of money?

* Meanwhile, the IRC is lobbying for more Iraqis to be resettled in the US.  They never suggest that the spigot be turned off until we pass this economic downturn. 

*  Some Iraqis are so unhappy here they are returning to the Middle East, so what does that say about how much danger they were in.

One of those six-figure salary VP’s is Bob Carey:

“The U.S. resettlement program was designed nearly 30 years ago and hasn’t been seriously looked at since,” says Bob Carey, the IRC’s vice president of resettlement policy. “The success of the program is premised on refugees being able to find employment and become self-supporting in a short period of time. When that doesn’t happen, the system doesn’t work.”

He is right, the Refugee Act of 1980 has likely never been reauthorized and I agree it’s time for Congress to have another look at it—as long as it’s a review of the whole program—not just a plea for taxpayers to pay more!  I bet they have all avoided reauthorization hearings so as to keep the whole program off the national radar screen.    I, for one, will be lining up for an opportunity to testify!  One reform I would propose is doing away with these volag middlemen.

The IRC press release lists “reforms” they want to see, #1 is they want more money, and extended welfare for refugees.   They know the timing is perfect to use Iraqi refugees to guilt-trip the public and Congress into shelling it out.

The IRC’s Commission on Iraqi Refugees offers the following recommendations:

1. Increase Federal Assistance: Congress should appropriate emergency funds to aid refugees at risk of eviction, ensure that funds for new arrivals keep up with the cost of living, expand eligibility for cash assistance and extend the time frame during which services can be accessed.

Let’s see, how about if the IRC cuts back on some of its salaries, accountants, fundraising consultants and telemarketers and uses the savings to keep some Iraqis from being evicted from their homes.

Endnote:  See also that the IRC is a benficiary of the questionable pass through funding of the Tides Foundation, here.