Tea Parties and Amnesty: Let’s be clear!

Readers should know that some inside the beltway Open Border Republicans have been working very hard to steer the Tea Party agenda away from any position on so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform (amnesty).  But, today, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in a post at National Review Online pops a festering boil by making it very clear that Dick Armey (Freedom Works) and Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform) are indeed advocates for Amnesty when really the majority of  Tea Party grassroots cut their political eye-teeth in the summer of 2007 opposing the McCain/Kennedy/Bush legislation that would have created a “pathway” to citizenship for aliens who entered the US illegally.  Hat tip:  Richard Falknor, Blue Ridge Forum.

Here is Krikorian:

Dick Armey, the putative tribune of the Tea Partiers, has had sense enough up until now to keep his pro-amnesty, open-borders views to himself while helping rally grassroots opposition to the metastasizing state — though he and Grover have been working hard to keep immigration out of the Tea Party agenda (notice that the “Contract from America” doesn’t include anything on immigration or border security among the issues people are supposed to vote for). But Armey can’t help himself; Monday at the National Press Club, his “freewheeling talk” included the following:

In language that will likely be recalled in the upcoming debate over immigration, Armey minced no words in condemning Republicans over their stance.

“Who in the Republican Party was the genius who said now that we have identified the fastest-growing demographic in America, let’s go out and alienate them? This is a nation of immigrants. … There is room in America,” he said.

“When I was Republican leader, I saw to it that Tom Tancredo could not get on a stage because I saw how destructive he was,” Armey said of the anti-immigration former congressman. “Republicans have to get off this goofiness. Ronald Reagan said, ‘Tear down this wall.’ Tom Tancredo said ‘Build that wall.’ Who’s right? America is not a nation that builds walls. America is a nation that opens doors, and we should be that.”

For more from Krikorian, go to National Review Online, here!

By the way, I mentioned Tea Parties Against Amnesty, here, in a post about the USCCB’s lobbying and organizing for Amnesty.   Use our search function for the many posts we have written on Grover Norquist and his questionable ties to Islamic supremacists.

Nuggets from the “celebration:” where is the money going?

I just told you in my previous post that I attended a 30th anniversary celebration of the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 at Georgetown Law in Washington, DC yesterday.  Over the next few days (maybe weeks!) I’ll bring you things I learned at the “celebration.”   

One of the most interesting panel discussions was the lunch panel—all refugees and asylees discussing their experiences with refugee resettlement and making recommendations for improvement.   And, as I mentioned in my previous post, except for this panel and an oblique comment here and there, there was little attention paid to what I think is the ticking time bomb of the refugee resettlement program—an overload of refugees to certain cities and refugees left in the lurch by the agencies (federal CONTRACTORS) that brought them to the city in the first place.

I didn’t get the former refugees names so I will describe them and tell you what they said.

Expressing gratitude for being granted asylum in the US an African young man from Sierra Leone described how he somehow (mysteriously) got a plane ticket to the US and ended up in NYC.  He was placed in detention for 4 months, but also mysteriously was visited by a lawyer from Human Rights First who helped him through the asylum process.  Now he is happily making films relating to immigration issues and grateful to Human Rights First.

An African woman (I didn’t write down from what country in Africa) spent many years in refugee camps and finally got resettled in the US where she works for federal contractor—Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services—and proclaimed the biggest need for refugees and the agencies was more “resources.”   And, more “resources” and more “resources.”  Did you get that —more “resources.”  That, of course, is code for money—your taxpayer money!

An Iraqi refugee and sometime reporter for the New York Times (NYT) was very forthcoming.   Asked whether Iraqi refugees in places like Syria and Jordan would go home eventually, he went on to describe how afraid they were of the terrorists.  He said especially those who worked with anyone connected to the US.  The moderator first posed the question as those having worked for the American military and he corrected her by saying anyone who worked for any American organization (including NGO’s) was still in jeopardy.  He said that he and two other Iraqis worked for the NYT and the other two are now dead.

When asked why Iraqis were not faring well in the US, he was equally forthcoming.  He described the Iraqis as having come from a culture more dependent on government.  So they were having real culture shock in the US when they discovered that after 3 months or so they were expected to be on their own—working and paying bills.  Of course the economy is so bad they aren’t finding work and don’t even have the skill to find a job (aren’t the contractors supposed to help with that?) he said.   They are living on cash assistance and food stamps.  He went on to say they are extremely fearful of being homeless!

I hope this audience of mostly eager young people was paying attention!

He described other cultural misunderstandings and said that the Iraqis needed to be better oriented to life in the US before arriving here.  He said he has heard one story where Iraqi men are urging other Iraqis to not let Americans into their apartments because the Americans (especially the women) will spoil their Iraqi women by teaching them about women’s rights!   (young attendees at the celebration:  were you listening!).

He too said more “resources” were needed for the refugees and that they needed “skill training” in order to find work.

When the Burmese Karen-rights activist spoke one had the sense that someone would have been happy to send up a hook and pull her off the podium.  She said what we all know (and have reported repeatedly on these pages), that the Burmese are living in terrible conditions in the US.   She said they fear most “living under the bridge” a reference to being homeless, and that some want to go back to camps! (Do-gooders take note!)

Her recommendations for improvement were as follows:   refugees must learn to speak English and should have MANDATORY ESL classes, refugees must have thorough cultural orientation so they know how to live in the US, and she wanted Burmese resettled with other Burmese so that when the resettlement contractor finished their work in 3-6 months the refugees would have support from their community.   This last recommendation though would not be happily received in cities like Ft. Wayne, IN because it is so overloaded with refugees, especially Burmese, that the city residents are on the edge (see laundromat sign story).

Then she made the bombshell recommendation—-find out where the money is going!   And, she left no doubt that she was talking about the  money that goes to the resettlement agency federal contractors!

I learned more from this panel then all the lawyerly governmentease that dominated the talks all day.

Comment worth noting: our town is overloaded with refugees

I’ve been away.  Yesterday I attended a conference at Georgetown Law in Washington, DC.  It was a 30th anniversary celebration of the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 put on jointly by Georgetown Law and Human Rights First.  The title of the “celebration” was “Renewing U.S. Commitment to Refugee Protection.”    I’ll tell you about it in smaller bites as the week goes on, but the issue raised in this comment we received while I was away was never addressed at the conference except obliquely—overloaded cities, angry Americans.  The underlying premise of the entire day was how do we get MORE refugees and asylees into the US and find them “resources” (read money!).

The comment from a reader who wishes to be anonymous is from Winooski, VT.  I told you about Winooski in a post in October 2009.  It’s a good thing I captured so much of the original news story because it seems to be unavailable now.  Please read it here and be sure to follow the link near the end to another “comment worth noting” from another Vermont reader critical of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

So here is “name withheld” yesterday:

I live in Winooski, which is technically the Burlington Area. I have lived here off and on for 20 years. When I attended high school at Winooski High, back before there was a cafeteria and you ate in the classroom, there were 2 refugees in the entire high school, perhaps 15 in the entire school system.

Today our refugee saturation is at 40%. Because of this our schools have fallen behind academically in the efforts of leaving no child behind to the point that the High School must now either close or fire the principal and half the teaching staff because for the last few years we have failed national levels of comprehension. This isn’t news. Kids who want to go to college have been forced to bus out to neighboring high schools instead of attending our local high school, because the education level has been so poor for the last few years.

My 8 year old son is in 3rd grade and has attended school at JFK Elemntary in Winooski since 1st grade. About a 1/3 of the kids in his class don’t speak or understand english. Because of that he learned addition by counting in dots, lines and squares to represent numbers, which was done because one is not the word for one in other languages.

In 3rd grade he is still being taught single digit addition and subtraction. They haven’t even started cursive handwriting.

I’m 34 years old, but I still remember that in 3rd grade I had all ready learned triple/quadruple addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and division at the same school and with the same teacher my son has now.

What I’m saying is my child is being penalized because the town in which we live has too many refugees settling here. The penalty is his education. Neighboring towns don’t have nearly this much refugee saturation and although I’m all for tolerance and helping our fellow man, it shouldn’t be at this cost.

Here’s what I don’t understand: Why aren’t some of the refugees being settled in Burlington or Colchester or Essex, S. Burlington or Williston? All are on the same busline, all have the same access to programs… I just don’t get it. There is public housing in all of these towns as well.

I’m sure this will be taken the wrong way and that I’ll be construed as some close-minded idiot, but I’m not just saying this about my child. Winooski schools just don’t have the resources to help the incoming refugees learn english at this point either, which hurts them as well.

To “name withheld” thanks for speaking up.  You are not alone!  This same problem is happening across the US where volags have picked certain “welcoming” cities based it seems on what I have previously called the “squawk factor.”   If no one squawks the city is deemed “welcoming” and the refugees continue to be resettled there.   Americans and local governments need to understand that they can say NO!   NO MORE! You just have to be brave enough to withstand the personal name-calling attacks you and your town will receive from the Open Borders refugee agencies that receive their funding from you, the taxpayer, and want to stay open for business.

Note to Georgetown Law:  The refugee program as presently designed is imploding.   You know it too!  You wrote about it in your Iraqi report.  You would do well to heed the refugee voices you heard yesterday and stop talking about issues like detention for asylees and figure out how to head off the implosion of the primary reason for the Refugee Act in the first place—resettlement.