Chicago World Relief employees quit over religious policy

Oh, gee, here we go again with this issue of World Relief (one of the top nine, maybe ten, federal refugee contractors) apparently requiring its workers to be Christians and being under attack for it.  From the Chicago Tribune:

A prominent refugee resettlement organization has enacted a policy that requires new employees to be Christian, triggering an exodus of Chicago staff members who denounce it as religious discrimination.

The former director of the Chicago office of World Relief, a global evangelical Christian charity that receives federal funds to resettle refugees, said she was forced out in January because she disagreed with how the policy was implemented. The agency also has dismantled mental health services for refugees in Chicago after losing staff and funding because of the hiring rule, officials said.

“As a Christian, I feel it is my duty to advocate for the most vulnerable,” said former legal specialist Trisha Teofilo, who also left because of the policy. “I believe Jesus would not promote a policy of discrimination.”

The hiring policy comes as President Barack Obama* faces pressure to reverse former President George W. Bush’s executive order enforcing the right of organizations to receive federal funds while hiring based on faith. On the campaign trail, Obama recommended halting government contracts with groups that proselytize to clients or hire only members of a certain faith.

Read it all.

To me it is very simple—don’t take goverment money and you can practice your faith and give your love and private charity to whomever you wish.  Once you take those 30 pieces of silver you have sold your soul to the government—no sympathy from me.

To see previous posts on the topic, begin here and follow links back to other posts on World Relief and its litmus test.

*Ha! Ha! If Obama does get rid of this policy, then all those Muslim groups (like Muslim ECBO’s) getting federal funding will have to not discriminate against Christians or Jews—won’t that be fun to watch!

Don’t miss George Will’s good column on birthright citizenship

Here it is.  I don’t have time to discuss it, just want you to know that it has caused a stir in the Open Borders/Pro-Amnesty crowd.  I wish I had saved it, but the other day I saw an article about “birth tourism.”  This time it was Turkish women timing their “vacation” in America so that surprise, surprise, their babies would come while visiting the US.  And, of course be US citizens!

Jews leaving Malmo Sweden: “a degree of hate none of us have experienced before”

We have followed the travails (the decline!) of Malmo, Sweden on these pages as a reminder of what is happening in Europe with its blind reverence to multiculturalism combined with a  large influx of Muslim immigrants and refugees.  It could ultimately happen here.  This is an AP story, hat tip Jerry Gordon:

Marcus Eilenberg is a Swedish Jew whose family roots in Malmo go back to the 19th century. His paternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors who found shelter in this southern Swedish city in 1945. His wife’s parents fled to Sweden from communist Poland in the 1960s.

Now the 32-year-old law firm associate feels the welcome for Jews is running out, and he is moving to Israel with his wife and two children in May. He says he knows at least 15 other Jews who are leaving for a similar reason.

That reason, he says, is a rise in hate crimes against Jews in Malmo, and a sense that local authorities have little desire to deal with a problem that has exposed a crack in Sweden’s image as a bastion of tolerance and a haven for distressed ethnic groups.

Anti-Semitic crimes in Sweden have usually been associated with the far right, but Shneur Kesselman, an Orthodox rabbi, says the threat comes from Muslims. “In the past five years I’ve been here, I think you can count on your hand how many incidents there have been from the extreme right,” he said. “In my personal experience it’s 99% Muslims.”

Referring to the Davis Cup anti-Israel demonstrations:

Eilenberg said it was a wake-up call — “a degree of hate that none of us — except those who survived the Holocaust — had experienced before.”

Here is an archive of our previous posts on Malmo.  One of those posts, “Muslim immigration killing Sweden,” remains a top visited post almost every day.

Fredericksburg, VA bombshell: churches say don’t send more refugees here

Update November 3rd:  Resettlements to be restarted, here.

Update April 2nd:  Editorial in Fredericksburg today, here.

Update:  Christopher Coen writing at Friends of Refugees, here, has a much more detailed analysis and an important State Department document about this case.

We had heard for some time that trouble was brewing in Fredericksburg, VA, a city overloaded with refugees (Gee, I wonder did Eric Schwartz visit Fredericksburg on his national tour of overloaded cities?  In my previous post I told you about Denver.)

Please visit this post from March 2009 where we learned that Iraqis unhappily resettled in Fredericksburg went back to the Middle East.


In the past five years, more than 500 refugees have made new lives in the Fredericksburg area.

These newcomers, invited by the U.S. government, fled persecution, torture and possible death in their homelands in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

And volunteers from Fredericksburg-area churches unrolled an elaborate welcome mat. But now, church staff and volunteers say enough is enough.

“This is a justice issue,” said the Rev. Larry Haun, pastor of Fredericksburg Baptist Church. “We don’t want to be understood as being against refugee resettlement. We just think that when they’re resettled, they should be treated according to the guidelines. They should be treated humanely.

“When people are invited here, and when they aren’t given food, when they aren’t given beds, when they aren’t given blankets, that’s injustice.”

It is also a legal issue. Resettlement agencies contract with the federal government and agree to provide beds, blankets, food or money for food, other furniture and linens.

At a meeting in late February, local church leaders asked the U.S. Department of State to stop sending refugees to the Fredericksburg area.

Read the whole incredible article!   I call it “incredible” not because we haven’t heard this before.  We heard it recently in North Carolina where churches stepped in and said that the way refugees were being resettled by federal contractors was not compassionate or humane.  We heard it in 2008 in Waterbury, CT too where churches had to help refugees left in the lurch by contractors.   It is “incredible” because the story was even published.  (We have heard in other locations that reporters and their editors are pressured to NOT run such stories!)

This “tough love” argument you see mentioned in here is one that is spouted all the time by the federal contractors, but it sounds so phony.  The idea is that refugees are given only a few months to find jobs and be on their own.  How on earth is that even possible in light of the economy?   Frankly, they (the contractors) can’t bring in as many refugees if they don’t push them ‘out of the nest’ and it is numbers they need in order to advance their political agenda and get paid! 

Call me a cynic, but I see it is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops* espousing this view this time.  What!  Are they too busy organizing Open Borders marches in DC while collecting your tax dollars?   Refugee Resettlement is all about Leftwing politics and bringing in as many bodies as they can (the human beings are the pawns!).   For local church people it’s about compassion and humane treatment and I predict we will be seeing more of these clashes as the recession continues (if papers have the guts to report them!).

* The federal subcontractor of the USCCB that has brought the refugees to Fredericksburg is this one in Arlington, VA.

Frustrated and sick of this?  Complain here!   Do not forget to copy your complaints to your two US Senators and your Congressman (add in your governor and state representatives for good measure).

Denver meeting points to problem of refugee care falling to local communities

Update April 22nd:  Friends of Refugees has more on this visit, here.

This is an article I’ve had in my queue for the last couple of weeks and somehow something more pressing always seemed to get in its way.  But, I do need to tell you about it. 

I mentioned when I attended the “celebration” for the Refugee Act of 1980 in Washington, DC a couple of weeks ago that Asst. Secretary of State Eric Schwartz was headed to Denver and Phoenix for more meetings on the refugee overload being experienced in many of the US’s “welcoming” cities.  He was leaving for Denver that very day.

Here is the Denver Post’s article about that meeting:

Nearly a dozen representatives from state and volunteer agencies who help refugees rebuild their lives got a rare chance this week to tell high-ranking U.S. State Department officials what work is like on the front lines — and that they could use a little more support.

This year, the State Department will bring more than 70,000 refugees to this country. About 2,600 will find their way to Colorado. [This phrase always makes me laugh, “find their way,” as if refugees arrive in the US and stick a pin in a map and say, golly, this is where I would like to live.  The resettlement agencies divvy up the refugees and they decide where people are going with the exception of secondary migrants discussed later in the article.-ed]

When they do, it’s up to local governments and private organizations to figure out how to help them.  [Most of the private organizations are also funded by taxpayers.-ed]

Some will be sick or elderly or injured; many will be traumatized. A few will have been doctors or engineers in their home countries; others won’t know how to read or write in any language, let alone how to navigate the aisles of an American supermarket.

Maria Otero, undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, told the representatives she’ll take their ideas back to Washington.

She and her staff heard plenty of them.

Paul Stein, director of the Colorado Refugee Services Program, which oversees resettlement here, pleaded for more flexibility in how states spend the money that comes from federal agencies.

“We need to be better prepared for what’s coming, not what’s in the rear-view mirror,” Stein said.

Health departments overloaded

Brenda Hummel, the state refugee health coordinator, said it’s particularly frustrating not to know when someone coming to Colorado needs medical attention.

Refugees are supposed to be medically evaluated before they get here. But, she said, those evaluations commonly miss serious problems. That leaves the state health department scrambling to find them care, she said.

Individuals are hurt, and the whole resettlement program suffers when workers don’t have accurate information about the refugees arriving, Stein said.

Eric Schwartz, a State Department undersecretary who also attended the meeting, said the department has taken steps to address the issue.

Obama’s National Security Council is presently working on “reforming” the refugee program but don’t hold your breath that local communities will be given much consideration.  My reform suggestion is that there should be a Sociological and Economic Impact Statement prepared by the federal government in advance of refugee resettlement to a given community.  For existing “welcoming” communities the impact study needs to be updated on a regular basis.  If a city is overloaded, the federal government stops sending refugees to that city.

Of course that doesn’t solve the secondary migrants problem.  That is when large numbers of certain ethnic groups just arrive in a town usually following word that there is work, or in some cases like in Maine where there is a great welfare system.

A recurring theme of the downtown meeting was a lack of attention to what those who work with refugees call “secondary migration” — groups of refugees who leave the areas where they first settle in search of jobs.

That happened in Greeley, said Judy Griego, director of Weld County’s human services department.

After immigration officials raided the Swift meatpacking plant in 2006, dozens of Somalis arrived, hoping to fill jobs vacated by the raid, Griego said.

“It ends up being on the counties to take care of these individuals,” she said.

The 2,600 refugees Colorado expects in 2010 would be a sizable increase over recent years and comes as resources to help refugees get acclimated, find jobs and learn English are stretched thin.

For everything you ever wanted to know about the mess in Greeley, CO where Somalis demanding religious accommodation ticked off all the other meatpacker workers from the multicultural labor force, we have an entire category on the subject, here.

Everything will be better if people just understand that refugees are legal immigrants (yeh, right!)

While lack of funding is a recurring issue, one problem that could be addressed with little or no money is the widespread misunderstanding of who refugees are.

They aren’t illegal immigrants, and most residents have no idea what the refugees have been through or why they are here.

People in the community don’t see those distinctions; they just see people coming into their community and draining resources,” said Karen Beye, executive director of the state human services department.

Do you really think that telling people in the midst of the great recession that refugees are legal is going to make them feel better about throwing more tax dollars into the refugee program?