Reforms coming, maybe, sort of…not really!

Here is another thoughtful article by reporter Amy Umble pubished at in which she summarizes where we are in the process of “reforming” the “broken” US State Department’s Refugee Resettlement program.  I don’t have time to go through it, so please read it yourselves.

I doubt that the chickens in the Obama Administration will do much more than throw money at the problem, they will keep refugees pouring into overloaded cities, they will continue to strain local welfare services and health departments, and maybe tinker around with the law.  Already the only “reform” legislation involves making it possible for asylum seekers to get into the US and not face detention, and it throws more taxpayer money to the federal contactors—big deal!

They won’t do what I think needs to be done—revamp the whole system and reduce the number of refugees entering the US.  Run the program through state agencies accountable to governors and elected officials and get all the federal contractors out of the business!  It is a bottomless money pit that sends taxpayer money to entrenched, unaccountable and politically powerful non-profits hiding behind a facade of faux humanitarian compassion.  The program is rotten to the core.

San Antonio: Same old story—too many refugees, community scrambling

Update March 31st:  More on this story at Friends of Refugees, here.

I just yesterday told you about Fredericksburg, VA where church leaders there have told the US State Department to halt refugee resettlement to their immigrant overloaded city.  Now, comes the same story from San Antonio, TX.   This time it’s Burmese refugees in a case that sounds amazingly similar to the horror story we reported from Bowling Green, KY.  And, gosh, didn’t we hear the same thing from Greensboro, NC, here.  Come to think of it, there is Kansas City, MO, Denver, CO, Houston, TX, and Pittsburgh, PA, etc. etc. etc.

Looks like those “humanitarians” at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (too busy with their Washington politics?) are the federal contractors here just as they are in Fredericksburg, VA.  In the Bowling Green case it is the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) leaving refugees living in squalor and fearing eviction.  In Greensboro, the federal contractor is Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)—compassionate all! (Not!)

From Education Info.101:

Something wasn’t right with 5-year-old Taw Meh.

She threw up every morning, just before breakfast at the Head Start program she attended. It had become so frequent that her counselor, Abdul, a former interpreter for U.S. military forces in Iraq, would cover her with plastic to protect her clothes.

When he told his Family Services Association co-worker, Pam Espurvoa, about the child, she suspected her diet. she suggested they visit the Northwest Side apartment Taw Meh shared with her father, Baw Reh, 49, mother, Htwa Meh, 39, and two sisters, Pleh Meh, 15 and Mo Meh, 3.

When Espurvoa and Abdul arrived at Taw Meh’s apartment at the Auburn Creek complex off Wurzbach Road, the only food they found was rotting vegetables in the refrigerator. a chill hung through the apartment. several wires dangled from a furnace blower that didn’t work.

Taw Meh’s parents never complained about the furnace to management. It wasn’t their way.

Espurvoa learned by word of mouth that they were struggling to pay their rent and scared they’d end up on the street. Since Taw Meh was enrolled in the Head Start program, the Family Service Association signed the family to a six-month rent assistance program.

“If one of the refugees became homeless, another refugee family would take them into their home,” Espurvoa said.

Her family is part of an influx of refugees living in four Northwest Side apartment complexes who are falling into a gap with limited or no services after resettlement aid from the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program runs out. Like thousands of refugees across the country, their lives teeter on goodwill from volunteers, church groups and nonprofit organizations.

The family fled poverty, civil war and violence in Myanmar before seeking asylum in Nepal for one year. they arrived in San Antonio in March 2009. they attended English and financial aid classes, but were illiterate in their own language, Andrade said.

According to the U.S. State Department, 74,654 refugees resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2009. Texas ranked second among states, with 11 percent of the new refugees. Bexar County had 1,010 arrivals in the last fiscal year.

State officials estimate that 750 more refugees will arrive in Northeast San Antonio this year through the Catholic Charities program. Some aid workers said the best move would be to take care of those already here before bringing in more refugees.

Read the whole article there is much, much more!

I think Asst. Secretary of State Schwartz should be heading to San Antonio right after he visits nearby Fredericksburg.  See visiting Denver and Phoenix, here.

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).

Canadian Parliament to consider upping the refugee numbers to Canada

What I found most interesting about this short news story is that in Canada the Parliament actually votes on the number of refugees.  In the US, the President sends a “determination letter” to Congress, but Congress doesn’t vote.  It is merely a courtesy gesture.

OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on Monday proposed expanding Canada’s refugee program starting with the resettlement of 2,500 more people living in refugee camps and urban slums.

Canada would welcome as many as 14,500 refugees annually, or 2,500 more annually, once the proposal is passed by parliament.


Countries with refugee resettlement programs, including Canada, resettle about 100,000 refugees from abroad each year.

New readers should know that the US’s share of 100,000 refugees is 70,000-80,000.

The Netherlands: Refugees moving on

Here is an interesting little bit from Dutch News

Some 10% of the asylum seekers granted refugee status in the Netherlands between 1998 and 2008 have moved on to a third country, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

The research covers 38,000 people. Of them, some 4,000 have left the country.

Britain was the most popular destination, attracting one in three refugees. Six out of 10 Somalian refugees went to Britain, as did half of the Afghans.

Yugoslavian and Iraqi refugees are most likely to return home, the CBS figures show.