Did you know there was a Congressional Refugee Caucus?

I didn’t know it until the other day when I saw that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (one of the Top Ten Federal government  refugee contractors) was asking visitors to its website to lobby their Member of Congress to join the caucus.  

As I have complained many times on these pages, I hate to see supposed non-profit groups (especially “religious” ones) receiving your tax money and then turning around and spending time and resources on lobbying.  Meanwhile, as we chronicle here almost daily, refugees are suffering when resettlement agencies leave them in a lurch.

Here is what HIAS says on its “Advocacy” page:

Urge your Representatives to join the Congressional Refugee Caucus

This bipartisan caucus was formed in 2003 to give greater visibility to refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers to mobilize support within the House of Representatives for refugee resettlement and overseas protection and assistance. As a member of the Caucus, your Representative will help the U.S. Government keep abreast of actions needed to sustain U.S. leadership in responding to the global refugee crisis and represent our refugee community members.

I then went looking for more information on this “2003” caucus and found this reference which tells us it was newly formed and registered only this year and that it has no members listed.  Why the discrepancy?

However, back at HIAS we learn who the members are.  And, in case you are at a loss as to what to tell your Member of Congress when you appeal for him or her to join, they have kindly drafted a letter for you.  Here it is: 

I am writing to urge you to join the Congressional Refugee Caucus, chaired by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI-14), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-16), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL-21), and Chris Smith (R-NJ-04). This bipartisan caucus was formed in 2003 to give greater visibility to refugees, internally displaced persons, and asylum seekers around the world and to mobilize support within the House of Representatives for refugee resettlement and overseas protection and assistance.

The United States has a rich tradition of providing safety and freedom to men, women, and children fleeing persecution due to their religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Every year, a limited number of carefully screened refugees enter the United States through the refugee admissions program administered by the Department of State. Refugee resettlement agencies provide initial housing, English classes, job training and placement, and other needed assistance needs as these newcomers transition to life in the United States.

The economic downturn has drastically impacted refugees resettled in the United States. Today, refugees experience great difficulty finding work and paying rent. Having experienced persecution and hardship, refugees arrive in hope of safety, security, and stability in the United States. If they are not provided the opportunity and the tools necessary to support their families, we are not fulfilling our humanitarian responsibility to help these individuals build new lives in the United States. This crisis is happening at a time when violence and vulnerability are increasing around the world. Please help the United States maintain its rich tradition of protecting victims of persecution and welcoming refugees who contribute positively to our country. The refugee caucus has been an important vehicle for taking action on behalf of refugees worldwide and monitoring our effectiveness in responding to humanitarian crises.

As your constituent, I sincerely urge you to become a member of the Bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus. Your voice as a member of the caucus will help the U.S. government keep abreast of actions needed to sustain U.S. leadership in responding to the global refugee crisis and represent our refugee community members.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue. If you are interested in joining the Congressional Refugee Caucus, please contact Andres Jimenez at (202) 225-5380 or via email at andres.jimenez@mail.house.gov. Also, please let me know if you would like more information about refugee resettlement or if we can be helpful in your support of refugee issues.


Here is what I recommend to our readers, if you see a problem with refugees, any problem, or maybe a story here at RRW, then send it to the Members of Congress listed as the present members of this “bipartisan” caucus.  Also send the information to Mr. Jimenez noted in this letter as well.  Oh, and don’t forget to copy anything you send to your own Representative and your two US Senators!

I believe what we are seeing is the construction of a coalition of supporters in Congress so that the Top Ten contractors can more easily appeal for more funding (from you) for them.  I think Members of Congress should get the complete picture of the refugee program, don’t you?

USA Today: Muslim honor killings on the rise in US

This is not news to us, we know it well, but what is so surprising is that it appears in USA Today, a major mainstream publication one would think might not be wandering outside accepted politically correct boundaries.

Muslim immigrant men have been accused of six “honor killings” in the United States in the past two years, prompting concerns that the Muslim community and police need to do more to stop such crimes.

“There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam, and we’re going to see it more and more in the United States,” says Robert Spencer, who has trained FBI and military authorities on Islam and founded Jihad Watch, which monitors radical Islam.

Honor killings are generally defined as murders of women by relatives who claim the victim brought shame to the family. Thousands of such killings have occurred in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Palestinian territories, according to the World Health Organization.

Read it all, but note that USA Today’s links are not very useful.  They don’t even direct readers to Robert Spencer’s must-read blog Jihad Watch.

Use our search function for other posts on this heinous crime.

Australia invests in program to teach refugees to respect the law

Confirming there is a problem with some refugee youths, the government of Victoria has extended a project to teach refugees some basic information about their new society.

From the Gov Monitor:

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls today announced a $1.32 million funding boost to extend a successful refugee youth project from a pilot into a three-year program.

Mr Hulls said the funding would allow the pilot project run by iEmpower Pty Ltd to expand and reach a broader audience after its initial success working with 23 disengaged young refugees aged 18 to 24 years old.

“The expansion of this project is recognition of the pilot’s success in reaching young refugees and helping them connect, or reconnect, with the community,” Mr Hulls said.

“Through a series of workshops and individual sessions over five months, participants are taught about justice, tolerance and fairness in society.

“They develop basic skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, and learn to build confidence in themselves, greater levels of resilience and self-reliance, and respect for the community and the rule of law.

Refugees incarcerated for not finishing paperwork?

O.K. this doesn’t make any sense to me, there must be some facts left out of this report from “Immigration Impact” , a pro-immigration website. 

If refugees “have not adjusted to permanent resident status after one year of residency in the U.S” they can be locked up?   For not completing paperwork?  Well, who’s fault would that be?  Either some refugee resettlement agency wasn’t doing its job and helping refugees understand the law and get it done, or there is something shady going on with the refugee. 

Here are the first three paragraphs of the report, read the whole thing, then if any readers know what the real story is, please let us know.

Last month, President Obama authorized the admission of 80,000 refugees into the U.S. in fiscal year 2010, something every President has done annually since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. The United States has long recognized the importance of providing a safe haven for refugees. Beginning with laws granting refugee status to displaced persons after World War II and culminating with the comprehensive Refugee Act of 1980, the U.S. has sought to safeguard those who are unwilling or unable to return to their homeland based on a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Despite this commitment to helping refugees resettle in the U.S. permanently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its sub-agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have adopted a policy of incarcerating refugees who have not adjusted to permanent resident status after one year of residency in the U.S. (“unadjusted refugees”). Often ICE comes in contact with unadjusted refugees who have had some contact with local law enforcement; however ICE also has detained refugees who have no criminal charges pending against them. In recent months, advocates have alerted DHS and ICE about such detained refugees in regions including Minneapolis, MN; Florence, AZ; Eloy, AZ; York, PA; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA.

ICE defends this detention policy by citing section 209(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which states that refugees who have not acquired permanent resident status after one year “shall return or be returned to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security for inspection and examination for admission.” ICE says “return to custody” means that refugees who have not applied for permanent resident status after one year may be detained and held while they complete their adjustment application and while ICE’s sister organization, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), adjudicates it. This interpretation is particularly unfair since the law prohibits refugees from applying for permanent residence until one year after they have been admitted to the U.S. as refugees. In essence, ICE detains refugees for not doing what the law bars them from doing.

Note that some of the so-called “unadjusted refugees” have come to ICE’s attention when they broke other laws.

Also, one can see from this the power a resettlement agency must hold over a law-abiding refugee because the refugee is dependent on the agency to help him or her get through the paperwork hurdles in order to become citizens.

Immigrants cost Maryland a whole lot of money

Here is a study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (Hat tip Help Save Maryland) entitled “The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders,” but interestingly some of the  numbers also take into account legal as well as illegal immigrants.  This is what Brad Botwin, President of Help Save Maryland, reports from the study:

Maryland has a fast growing illegal alien population of about a quarter million persons, more than quadrupling since 2000. Between 2000 and 2008, the state’s foreign-born population has grown by 34.6 percent while its native-born population has increased by 3.3 percent.  Public school enrollment of students who require special instruction in English has soared even more, rising by 93.5 percent from 2000 to 2008 while overall enrollment declined slightly.

This illegal alien population represents a major burden on the state budget and is borne by Maryland’s taxpayers. The costs imposed on law-abiding Marylanders are unfair and unwelcome even in the best of times, but are especially burdensome at a time when the state has been cutting jobs and funding for schools and health care. Furthermore, the state is facing what the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute projects will be a $2 billion deficit in the 2010 budget.

In 2008, the foreign-born population in Maryland represented nearly one in every eight residents (12.4%), and illegal aliens constituted more than one-third of that immigrant population. This illegal immigrant population costs the state’s taxpayers more than $1.4 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. The annual fiscal burden amounts to about $790 per Maryland household headed by a native-born resident.

This reminded me to have a look at Maryland’s (our home state) refugee numbers, something I hadn’t done for a long time.  From 1983-2005 Maryland took in 30,766 refugees.  That’s an average of about 1400 a year.  However, interestingly, in the last 3 years Maryland resettled well below that average:  2006—675 refugees, 2007—648, and in 2008—862.  (See databases here) I can only guess that there aren’t enough jobs in Maryland to bring in greater numbers, possibly all the illegal aliens crowd refugees out of work?    Although as we have learned from other states, a lack of jobs hasn’t stopped resettlement agencies from bringing in unsustainable numbers of refugees, I’m thinking of Bowling Green, KY for example.

Readers may want to visit FAIR for other useful reports on immigration issues, here.