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).