Members of Congress: We need more Iraqi refugees (Afghans too)

Following the increasingly common refrain—we broke it, we own it—19 Members of Congress earlier this month wrote to President Obama seeking his leadership in extending the deadline for the so-called Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqis and Afghans who ‘helped us’ when we sought to give them a free country.  I thought we succeeded, isn’t that why we can leave now?

Longtime readers may recall that the Special Immigrant Visa was created by an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (here is one post I wrote at the time).   It was an amendment by Senator Ted Kennedy that gave the US government permission to grant Visa’s and give all the perks of the refugee program to certain qualified Iraqis.  There was little debate and since the amendment was attached to a Defense Authorization bill, ol’ Ted knew that Bush had to sign it.

Waad Ramadan Alwan. His fingerprints were on an IED in Iraq, but he lied and got into the US as a refugee!

Now we have a bunch of bellyaching stories about how we didn’t fulfill our promise and bring enough of these people into the US.  But, none of the stories tell the reader why we have some problems with the influx of Iraqis.  First, remember that ‘shock-of-shocks’ we had a couple of Iraqis who went to Kentucky convicted on terrorism charges (here is one story on the case), so it has caused even the Obama Administration to vet the Iraqis more carefully.   And, then the Iraqis who have come to the US are experiencing high levels of unemployment (46%) and of welfare use (95% on food stamps)!   Some have even returned to the Middle East in disgust.   But, you would never know about the problems from the news stories.

Here isTruthdig (yes, but only a part of the truth, LOL!).

We have brought ONLY 80,000 IRAQIS!!!  Can you believe it!

….the U.S. 10 years later is loath to invite too many of our friends inside our borders. Of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees who have fled the country, only about 80,000, or 5 percent, have been resettled here in the U.S.

The author goes on to tout how great Sweden has been compared to the US, but fails to mention that Sweden is now sending Iraqis BACK to Iraq.

Truthdig continues:

Most Iraqi refugees, along with those internally displaced in Iraq, have received little attention from the nation that sought to bring them freedom.   [Little attention?—ed]*


The Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for Iraqi and Afghan civilians, created in 2008, were meant to expedite the process of resettlement for those who provided “faithful and valuable service” to U.S. efforts in the wars and who might face “ongoing serious threats” as a result of their actions.

Flawed criteria for admittance, coupled with technical difficulties many refugees face in the application process, have led to a dearth of visas. Of the possible 25,000 SIVs, only 5,500 have been issued. The program, which anticipated four times as many resettlements, expired at the end of fiscal year 2012, failing many applicants who have struggled to relocate themselves and their families.  [They don’t tell you that many potential refugees have also heard the stories about the US menial labor or high unemployment rates and have had second thoughts about coming.—ed]

Earlier this month, 19 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to extend the program. They cited problems of inefficiency, lack of transparency and discrepancies between the Afghan and Iraqi SIVs—22 percent of the available Iraqi SIVs have been approved, but only 12 percent of Afghan ones have been issued.

Frankly, I don’t know how Obama has any authority to do anything, other than cheer these guys on.  They have to write legislation and get it passed which surely they will do by sneaking the bill on as an amendment to another more important piece of legislation in the dark of night (like Kennedy did last time).

Here are the nineteen who want to bring more Iraqis to your towns who will be largely unemployed and in need of social services:

The members signed onto the letter are Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andre Carson (D-IN), Jon Conyers (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Chris Gibson (R-NY), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Frank Wolf (R-VA).

* Little attention!  We have 564 previous posts on Iraqi refugees in our special category specifically for Iraqi refugee news, so I find Truthdig’s (Thomas Hedges, Center for Study of Responsive Law) suggestion ludicrous that little attention has been paid to Iraqi refugees!

Come to think of it, what ever happened to those Iraqis arrested on rape charges in 2012?  One of them had helped US troops and an American soldier helped him get to Colorado?

Update: Here is a story I meant to post this past week about Iraqis struggling in California.

Canada: Is access to health care a basic right for illegal aliens?

They call them failed asylum seekers—aliens who have arrived in Canada illegally, asked for refugee status, but come from countries that are capable of protecting them and so are being denied the right to stay in Canada.  We mentioned this policy earlier this month, here.   In the past they received free medical care, but no more.

America pay attention because as Obamacare kicks in and we can’t afford it, we will be headed down this same road.  Socialized medicine—free to all—cannot survive.

Here is the news from The Star:

Immigration minister Jason Kenney: They have to be real refugees to get our free healthcare.

Israel Sosa’s deportation has been put on hold as the 50-year-old battles colon cancer.

The failed refugee claimant from the Dominican Republic has been allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds for now — but he has been banned from getting treatment under Ottawa’s Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program for refugees.

The Toronto man could choose to delay treatment and face death — or go into debt paying his medical costs.   [He could go into debt and pay it off over time, could he not?—ed]

That’s the new reality for asylum seekers from the so-called “safe countries” — ones such as Mexico and the Czech Republic, which are deemed democratic countries capable of state protection — as well as failed refugee claimants.

They are no longer eligible for government health care as of last June, unless they put public health at risk. The old program covered them for emergency and basic health care, similar to what is included with OHIP.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said these are not legitimate refugees and taxpayers should not be held accountable for their care. The cuts are expected to save Ottawa $100 million over five years.

“It is very important to distinguish between a refugee, an asylum claimant and a failed asylum claimant. Canadians have been clear that they do not want illegal immigrants and bogus refugee claimants receiving free, gold-plated health-care benefits,” Alexis Pavlich, Kenney’s press secretary, told the Star this week.

However, critics say the federal government cannot just sit back and watch these patients suffer as resource-stretched hospitals demand prepayments for medical procedures and tests.

A court will decide if the cuts are unconstitutional:

Two national organizations made up of physicians and lawyers are suing Ottawa, arguing the health cuts are unconstitutional and illegal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case is expected to be heard in a year.

There is much more, more sad cases to tweak the Canadian taxpayers’ guilt, read it all.

This is what I don’t get, why can’t all the complainers start a foundation to collect private charity to fund some of these medical cases.  Maybe they can’t all be saved, but some would and surely they could find enough rich people/celebrities and so forth willing to show their generosity to the poor immigrants.

Another 1000 Bhutanese headed for Canada

Just now looking over the website for Canada’s Immigration Department I see that they just this week announced that they will take another 1000 Bhutanese from camps in a safe country—Nepal—which would bring  their resettled Bhutanese population up to a total of 6,500.  Not to be too picky about the facts, but the Bhutanese are of Nepali descent and are in Nepal, again a safe country, but somehow they are persecuted refugees in need of resettlement to Canada (and to the US where our totals are now approaching the 70,000 mark!) and will be eligible for free, free, free health care?