Furor over Australia/Malaysia immigrant swap

Australia will take 4000 processed ‘legitimate’ refugees and in exchange Malaysia will take 800 boat people.  The theory is to discourage all those asylum seekers from getting in boats and heading for Australia.  Human Rights Watch objects calling Malaysia a “dumping ground.”

From Aljazeera (be sure to see the photo of demonstrators in Malaysia):

Australia and Malaysia have signed a deal to send 800 asylum seekers in Australia to Malaysia in exchange for the resettlement of 4,000 refugees.

The 4,000 refugees are to be resettled in Australia over a four year period, with that country bearing the cost of their transfer and settlement.

Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s interior minister, and Chris Bowen, Australia’s immigration minister, formally signed the deal at a Kuala Lumpur hotel on Monday.

The 800 asylum seekers sent to Malaysia will be placed in a “holding centre” for six week before being allowed into the community, Hussein said.

From midnight on Monday, the next 800 asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat will not be processed there, but will be transferred to Malaysia, Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister said.

The government said they would receive no preferential treatment in the processing of their claims or arrangements for resettlement.

‘Dumping ground’

Ahead of the signing, Brendan O’Connor, Australian’s interior minister, said the deal represents “an historic and innovative approach” to undermining the people-smugglers’ business model.

“We want to treat people fairly,” he told ABC Television, but refused to confirm a report that those shipped to Malaysia would be allowed to work.

However, the deal has drawn criticism because Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN convention on refugees.

“Australia is using Malaysia as a dumping ground for boat people it does not want and in the process walking away from its commitments to follow the 1951 Refugees Convention,” Phil Robertson, the deputy director at the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said.

I’ve mentioned Malaysia a bunch.  Here in 2009 we had a report on how badly this Muslim country treats its co-religionists who seek shelter there.

What is up with Utica, New York?

…..and what could the Mayor of Utica possibly say to the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow?

Back in 2007, I noticed that someone of the “caring class” had dubbed Utica the city that LOVES REFUGEES.   But, I noticed over the years that some problems were brewing.  Here in 2007, they had a problem with immigrant teens, in 2008, here, nearby Rome, NY (also in Oneida County) citizens complained about the economic impact of too many refugees in the area, here in 2009 we had a big food stamp fraud bust in Utica, then here in 2010 we had a refugee murdered….

Then I saw this article posted at Friends of Refugees reporting on a story from last May about how the county council wants the federal government to pony-up more of the cost of the refugees.

From the Observer-Dispatch:

The Genesee Street center expects to help roughly 500 refugees relocate to the area this year.

Providing services for such an expanding refugee population, however, is becoming a financial burden on Oneida County, according to a report drafted by county legislator Brian Mandryck, R-Lee, and signed by 20 of his legislative colleagues, 15 Republicans and five Democrats.

Mandryck’s report requested additional federal and state funding to help dilute the roughly $3.2 million to $5.3 million it contributes to the refugee population.

If no funding is available, the report request that the number of refugees entering the area each year be reduced.

“Reducing the need for services will reduce costs and will reduce the need for the expenditure of local tax dollars,” the report states.


Based on Mandryk’s review of costs, the county spent $9.5 million in 2009 for services such as temporary assistance, Medicaid, health screenings and translator services. After state and federal reimbursements, county taxpayers paid $3.2 million to $5.3 million to provide those services, a bulk of which went to Medicaid payments.

So, when New York Senator Chuck Schumer holds hearings on immigration reform with the Mayor of Utica testifying, what is that all about?    Comprehensive immigration reform usually involves illegal immigrants.  Do they have an illegal immigrant problem in Utica too?  Or, will the mayor just make a pitch for more federal tax dollars for his city?

Here is the hearing information:

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security entitled “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform” for Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

Check out the big business and university honchos testifying—will they say they need more (cheap) immigrant labor?  More college students?

Curiously the hearing is one day before fellow New Yorker, Rep. Peter King, will hold another hearing in the House of Representatives on Somali refugee terrorist recruitment.

Note when you check out the hearing schedule that the Mayor of Lewiston, ME will also be testifying.  He is expected to say everything is just peachy in Lewiston with its huge Somali immigrant population just one day before the Somali terrorist hearings in the House (remember he was recently feted by John (let’s airlift 100,000 Iraqis here) Podesta and the boys at the Center for American Progress.)!

Palestinians in Libya have no place to go

As the Obama/NATO bombing continues in Libya, here is a writer who says that Gaddafi had welcomed Palestinians (most Arab countries do not resettle Palestinian refugees) to the country, many have been there for decades, and now, desperate to escape, they have no place to go.

The article is a bit confusing but some things I gathered from it:  Palestinians have died in the bombing, the UN agencies are confused over who has authority for helping Palestinians since they have their own UN agency (UNRWA), but its jurisdiction is geographically limited.  UNHCR then has helped some, but its outside their authority. The Palestinian Authority has sought permission from Egypt for some to be transported across Egypt to Gaza, but that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.  Egypt has refused them entry into Egypt.  Israel offered to take 300.  Some may be be supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood rebels, others deny it.

The trapped Palestinians sent out this appeal, so far no response:

“We the Palestinians living in Libya, some for more than 35 years have come from Lebanon to flee (civil) war and resided among our brothers in Libya where we got married and worked. However, after the 17 February insurrection and the worsening security situation, we are trying to leave the country via its ports but were not allowed because of inadequate travel documents. We are now stranded and sell our belongings to eat; we do not have work or shelter and do not know what to do or where to go.”

Read the whole article.  It’s the first I’ve seen about Palestinians trapped in Libya.

An afterthought!  I just remembered that in 2009 when NO ARAB COUNTRY WOULD TAKE ITS FELLOW PALESTINIAN ARABS trapped in Iraq, we started to bring them to the US, here.