Catholic Charities in Kentucky, loads of federal cash and not that many refugees

Your tax dollars:

What’s up with this?   Just now, having some fun at USA on that huge list of Catholic Charities that get taxpayer cash—$85,557,665 for the whole country in 2009, I was struck by how much Catholic Charities in Kentucky receives for its refugee program.  I had initially assumed that Catholic Charities was receiving federal money for all sorts of charitable programs, but when I checked Kentucky and Tennessee I was shocked to see its all for their refugee programs.

For 2009, Catholic Charities Kentucky received $8,153,041 (EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!) just for its refugee program!  I don’t have the stats yet on how many refugees were resettled in Kentucky in 2009, but it couldn’t be a whole lot more than 2007 and 2008.  

In 2007, Kentucky resettled a measly 899 refugees (about 2% of the national total) and Catholic Charities ALONE received $5,391,237 (FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!) and they aren’t the only refugee agency in Kentucky so they didn’t even resettle the entire 899.  If they had resettled the entire lot of 899 that amounts to $5997 per refugee just to Catholic Charities.   I know they are not the only agency bringing refugees to Kentucky because I wrote about another “non-profit” with varying names earlier this morning, here.

In 2008, Kentucky resettled 1,215 refugees and Catholic Charities received $5,784,609, although it didn’t even resettle the entire 1,215 refugees!

Note to reporters:  The next time some refugee industry spokesman says that refugees only get $450 per refugee to get started in the US, ask more questions.

And, by the way, since the primary refugee contractor is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (one of the top ten contractors), they probably get a slice of the taxpayer pie for their overhead too!

Cuban refugees dominate marijuana trade in South Florida

Recent Cuban “refugees” are running a huge illegal marijuana business in South Florida according to Cannibas (I didn’t even know there was such a publication until today. Isn’t this new media age great?).  And, get this, apparently we can’t deport Cubans!   Of course, all that could change if Obama normalizes relations with Cuba.  I never thought of that bright side before.

Cuban refugees are dominating arrests in Florida’s indoor marijuana trade in what investigators call a nearly punishment-free crime.

South Florida is considered the center of a trade in which groups of young Cubans throughout the state are turning to the lucrative business of raising ultra-potent pot worth up to $4,500 a pound, without fear of deportation or lengthy prison sentences.
Probation is a common sentence for anyone convicted in state court of running a growhouse, drug agents say. And, unlike other foreign-born felons, U.S. policy prevents the deportation of Cubans.

South Florida groups identified by law enforcement as Cuban Drug Trafficking Organizations control hundreds of growhouses that have sprung up from Miami to Atlanta since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, court records and interviews with local and federal drug agents. “This takes me back to the old days of the mob,” said Sgt. Julio Lima, of the Polk County Sheriff’s Organized Crime Squad. “This is organized crime at its best.”

Statewide records do not specify the nationalities of those who run growhouses. However, authorities say that Cuban influence has risen rapidly.

Supervisors for the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area estimate that 85 percent to 90 percent of the suspects arrested in Florida on grow-house-related charges were Cubans who arrived in the United States within the past five years. They base their estimate on arrests in South Florida and two statewide busts in 2008 and 2009 known as “D-Day” and “Eagle Claw.” The trend is especially apparent in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Statistics from those two statewide busts show that in Palm Beach, out of 36 arrests, 90 to 95 percent were Cuban. In Miami-Dade, out of 92 arrests, 95 percent arrested were Cubans.

Readers, I’ll bet most of you are surprised to learn that we are actually still bringing in Cuban refugees, although some of these criminals might have arrived illegally.  Nonetheless, these are the stats on how many Cubans have come in legally through the refugee resettlement program since 2005:

2005: 6539

2006: 3142

2007: 2923

2008: 4178

2009: 4800

Those first four year stats are here.   And, 2009 is here.

FY2009: How many refugees did we resettle and from what countries?

Just now I was looking for the statistics on the number of Cuban refugees we have resettled recently for another post I’m working on, and see that this website, The Cultural Orientation Resource Center*, has updated its numbers for the close of fiscal year 2009 which ended September 30th.

Here is the site, you might enjoy going over the numbers.  We resettled a total of 74,652 refugees.   I see we brought 730 Palestinians—that is new.  We’ve brought only a handful in prior years.  We are back in the thousands of Somalis, and the top sending countries are Iraq, Burma and Bhutan (really Nepal).

*After searching around I learned that the Cultural Orientation Resource Center is a program of the Center for Applied Linguistics which can be found here on USA  I bring this to your attention to show how your tax dollars are distributed to the most arcane projects and programs and to make my point that refugees are big business—well, government-funded business that is!

Bowling Green must be overloaded with refugees, new satellite office to open in Owensboro

Update:  Check out how much federal cash Catholic Charities is getting in Kentucky to resettle refugees, here.

We’ve written a lot about Bowling Green, KY and problems there, most recently just last week, I posted a lengthy article on the Bowling Green International Center (aka Western Kentucky Mutual Assistance Association, there is something fishy about these name changes, but that’s another story) which I encourage you to read before proceeding below.

So according to BG Daily News, they are spreading out, opening a satellite office 72 miles up the road in Owensboro.   I wonder did anyone bother to discuss the move with the local government and citizens of Owensboro?   It reminds me of what happened where we live.  The Virginia Council of Churches ran into some problems in Lancaster, PA and figured they would just move their next bunch of refugees down the road apiece to Hagerstown, MD.

The Bowling Green International Center has received approval from the federal government to expand its refugee services – including a ramped-up effort to combat human trafficking – into Owensboro with a satellite office that is expected to open there around the beginning of 2010.

The U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration gave final approval for the office this week, and the center expects to resettle some 75 refugees in Owensboro within the next 12 months, said International Center Director James Robinson.  [What the heck?  How does the US State Department have the authority to saddle a town with unfunded mandates—did anyone ask the town?]

“This will not jeopardize the Bowling Green office in any way,” he said. “We will maintain, and hopefully expand, the office here in Bowling Green.”

The Owensboro office will give the International Center greater opportunities to serve the refugees it resettles but ramp up its other services as well, according to Robinson.

The center participates with the federal government for cultural cross-training and assimilation programs as well as various statewide and local charities in providing other services, such as English classes and translation resources, employment sourcing, clothing, housing and food. Only refugees who have legal status in the U.S. can benefit from the services.

“We were at a point where we needed to make some major upgrade changes in our services to the public,” he said. “This will allow us that opportunity to build on the progress we have made in the past three years. We are a helping organization. So any vehicle or tool that comes our way to expand these services is a very welcoming opportunity.”

The Bowling Green International Center is also getting a  federal grant to combat “human trafficking” which one of my correspondents calls a major scam.  I’m told they get grants to “educate” but actually don’t help anyone who is trafficked. 

So, as we have been pointing out ever since the Obama Administration announced there would be no reduction in refugees arriving in the US even though our jobless rate is so high, the reporter here at the BG Daily News confirms that point.  By the way, Kentucky’s jobless rate dropped in September to 10.9%, but that still makes it higher than the national average.

The expansion in services comes on the heels of an announcement this month from President Barack Obama that a minimum [maximum!] of 80,000 refugees will enter the country over the next 12 months. That number is roughly 20,000 more people than two years ago and close to 50,000 more refugees than three to five years ago under the Bush administration, Robinson said. [Robinson thinks he is slamming Bush as being unwelcoming, but the real reason is that after 9/11 the numbers were dramatically reduced so that Homeland Security could figure out how to better screen refugees for terrorists that might sneak in among them!]

With the increasing number of refugees entering the U.S., the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement are looking to resettle refugees in locations where they have the greatest opportunities for success. [That is code for they need fresh territory, they have exhausted the goodwill of their original community].  Availability of low-cost housing, language diversity, employment and income potential, and public transportation are considered, according to the ORR.

I love the way this is always phrased— “with the increasing number of refugees entering”—as if the flow is out of anyone’s control.  There are millions of refugees who want to get to the US, and we choose how many we can take.  It is like a spigot that could be turned off in economic down times.

My question is, is there a meatpacking plant nearby that needs cheap labor? 

For more on Bowling Green, use our search function.

Convicted criminals should not get federal grants

Your tax dollars:

As a follow-up to my post yesterday on USA, here is another government website you can check if you are concerned about someone you know getting a federal grant (contracts too, I think) and you know they have been convicted of a crime.

It is called debarment in government lingo when someone is disallowed or forbidden to receive government funding.

This is the site, it’s called the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS).  Yes, what a name, not one you would think to google!  

So, if you know someone getting federal grants and they have been convicted of a crime, check this list.  If they are  not on it, then write to the agency and to the agency’s Inspector General that is awarding the grant and tell them that so-and-so has reasons to be debarred.  There are other reasons besides a criminal conviction, but I don’t know what they are.  I didn’t research that.

This is filed in our category ‘where to find information.’