Friends of Refugees group responds to Kansas City expose’

This is a follow-up to my post the other day about the controversy involving inadequate care of refugees in Kansas City.  I mentioned that there were many comments to the original story at The Pitch.   Below is a comment from Chris Coen of Friends of Refugees—a group we told you about in March 2008, here.  At The Pitch he informs readers about how little monitoring of the refugee program is done by the US State Department.

The way the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Reception and Placement Program monitors local refugee resettlement agencies is to send out two people once in a blue moon to do a monitoring inspection. The ten national refugee agency parent groups are expected to monitor their own local offices, resulting of course in all rosy reports about local agencies (what resettlement agency parent group is going to report wrong-doing by one of their affiliates?).

Based on the number of reports that they sent us in response to our Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA), the State Department inspections are done at each agency once every 8-11 years. Janice Belz of the refugee admissions program claimed that they make 35 to 50 monitoring trips per year to local resettlement agencies, but the math doesn‘t add up. We put in a FOIA for a 16 month period (July 2002 through October 2003) and received only 12 monitoring reports from the State Dept. If Belz was telling the truth, there should have been 45 to 65 monitoring reports.

The State Department monitors themselves are former employees of the refugee resettlement agencies. It should be noted that the State Department has fairly cozy relationships with the resettlement agencies, which leads to questions about their real ability or willingness to conduct real and neutral oversight. Any problems they report may shed a negative light on the refugee program as a whole and therefore on the State Department. This is why the Congress should be  doing real oversight of the Refugee Admissions Reception and Placement Program, but they do not.

The refugee resettlement agencies are given advance warning of the inspections, allowing things to be cleaned up before the State Department personnel arrive. We heard of one resettlement agency in Texas that prepared for six months for their monitoring inspection, so that leaves in question whether or not the State Department is really getting a clear idea of how resettlement agencies really operate. When the State Department monitors show up they examine the case files that the resettlement agencies must keep on each client, so the monitoring is not based necessarily on how refugees have been treated, but rather by what resettlement agencies claim in writing has happened. Based on those files the monitors select 3-4 refugees families to visit at their home. The monitors then try to verify from those refugees if the information contained in the resettlement agencies’ case files is accurate and complete, and they ask the refugees about their experiences and how they are doing. Strangely, if the State Department is making a monitoring trip based on complaints from the community they will not visit the refugees that are said to have been neglected. Instead the monitors will again look through the case files and select 3-4 families to visit, so no attempt is made to confirm the accuracy of community complaints. Our group complained about dozens of specific refugee families and refugees in Fargo that were neglected by Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, but when the State Department monitors finally showed up after a few years they made no attempt to verify any of the complaints Instead they interviewed 3-4 refugee families that reported no specific problems. The State Department monitors were instead highly impressed by the resettlement agency’s use of three-ring binders!

By the way, there is no punishment for resettlement agencies that fail to fulfill the bare minimum required services and material items required by their State Department contracts. Instead if an agency is caught cheating they are just given a warning. If the cheating and neglect of refugees is severe then the State Department will occasionally temporarily discontinue the flow to the local refugee agency only of new refugees who are arriving without a family member or relative to sponsor them (the “free case” refugees). Very rarely will a refugee resettlement agency lose it’s State Department contract entirely, and usually only if there is media scrutiny of refugee neglect and abuse.

Missouri residents should contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives and demand that the State Department immediately investigate the complaints at JVS (the specific complaints and refugees that have been reported to have been neglected) and immediately provide these refugees with at the least the minimum required services and material items that have been contracted for. They should ask that a moratorium be placed on any continuing refugee placements with JVS until the agency shows that it will adequately care for the refugees that it has been entrusted by the public to care for.

Christopher Coen
Friends of Refugees



Is Britain considering limiting immigration?

Political correctness is enforced in Britain to a degree we can scarcely imagine in the U.S., unless perhaps you are at a university.  Opposing immigration or talking about Islam as a problem are seen as signs of fascism, ignorance and general evil. So it is with some surprise that I read this guest column in the UK Times headlined Migration threatens the DNA of our nation. Furthermore, it’s by a former Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Church of England), George Carey. The Church of England’s top officials are part of the politically-correct elite. The article begins:

Too often in recent years the call for a rational debate on mass migration has degenerated into name-calling and charges of racism. Even the campaign for Balanced Migration, which I have supported, representing cross-party politicians, has barely been heeded by party leaders who have run scared of the issue.

This is why we have launched a declaration calling on the leading political parties to make manifesto commitments to prevent the UK population reaching 70 million, which is projected in official figures by 2029.

The fact is that a rise in the UK population by ten million in two decades will put our nation’s resources under considerable strain, stretching almost to breaking point the enormous reserves of tolerance and generosity of the British people.

The declaration by no means spells out a halt to immigration. In fact we welcome the contribution of both economic migrants and asylum seekers to our lively cosmopolitan culture. But we urge a return to the levels of the early 1990s, about 40,000, compared with 163,000 in 2008. Failure to take that action could be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.

It looks like the concern is prompted by the success of the British National Party in recent elections. The BNP was founded as a fascist party. It is attracting people who are desperate at the major parties’ lack of attention to the threats to English culture and identify by the huge influx of immigrants, especially Muslims, and the clampdown on criticism of Islam and many other things deemed sacrosanct by the elites. Carey’s concern is the danger of bolstering the “far right” if these concerns are ignored. He goes on:

Democratic institutions such as the monarchy, Parliament, the judiciary, the Church of England, our free press and the BBC also support the liberal democratic values of the nation. Some groups of migrants, however, are ambivalent about or even hostile to such institutions.

The monarchy is a democratic institution? Funny. I guess since it has a defined role, what we would call a constitutional role here, does make it democratic. Carey is not evading the problem of Islam, for he goes on:

Furthermore, the idea that Britain can continue to welcome with open arms immigrants who immediately establish their own tribunals to apply Sharia, rather than make use of British civil law, is deeply socially divisive. The last thing any of us want is ghettos. And while we don’t expect groups to assimilate, there must be a willingness on their part to integrate with the rest of British society.

And he connects his point to Christianity. I shouldn’t be surprised at this, but somehow I am.

Yet, is there anything distinctly Christian about such a call? Some will say “no”. Our values lie rather with the Enlightenment than with the Church. I believe that history is against them. It is my firm view that our society owes more to our Christian heritage than it realises and to overlook this inheritance of faith will lead to the watering down of the very values of tolerance, openness, inclusion and democracy that we claim are central to all we stand for.

This is not to say that I am calling for Christians as a group to be given priority in any migration points system. The tragedy is that any intervention into such sensitive matters is open to such widespread misinterpretation.

But what I am saying is that those who seek to live in this country recognise that they are coming to a country with a Christian heritage and an established Church. Just as we should expect immigrants to subscribe to democratic principles, abide by our laws, speak English, support freedom of speech and a free press, so they should also respect the Christian nature and history of our nation with its broad, hospitable Establishment.

John Derbyshire has a typically acerbic comment at The Corner.  He rightly says,

Like another well-known clerical performance, it is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.

There is another party besides the BNP that calls for limits on immigration, the United Kingdom Independence Party. According to Wikipedia,  it “holds thirteen seats in the European Parliament and two in the House of Lords (the latter due to the defection of Conservative peers). It also has around 100 local councillors on principal authorities, town and parish councils.” Its platform calls for a five-year freeze on immigration, and after that,

No one should be admitted unless they are fluent in English, have the required educational qualifications, demonstrate loyalty to the UK, its laws and values, and can support themselves financially, with no recourse to public funds – and this to apply equally to their dependents.

Carey didn’t mention the UKIP in his column. There are things about them he probably dislikes, such as their main platform position of withdrawing from the European Union, but they are too respectable to frighten people into considering a change in immigration policy. However, their existence shows that the desire to assert British or English culture and to do something about the tidal wave of hostile immigrants is not limited to those who can be tarred as fascist.