Amarillo, TX: Refugee kids living in poverty, homeless, sleep in cars

A few weeks ago we reported that Amarillo, once a “welcoming” community, is now in refugee-overload and asking the federal government to give them a break and slow the flow of refugees.  Amarillo is a ‘pocket of resistance.’

Somali women learning English in Amarillo.

Now, here is a story that all Wyomingites should note, poverty is increasing in Potter County with the increase in refugees arriving there and there is a cost to the local taxpayer and a social cost to the community.

From ABC News Amarillo (hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’):

AMARILLO, TEXAS — Over the years, Amarillo Independent School District has seen an influx of students who live in poverty, many refugees. Studies show when a child is food insecure and tired, they can’t learn. That’s why the district has employed social workers to make sure their students have basic necessities.

Sabre McLean was hired by AISD 12-years ago to work at San Jacinto and Margaret Wills Elementary when the principals at the time noticed they were spending a lot of time working on social issues with struggling families instead of educating their students.

“Amarillo has a lot of homeless families, families that sleep in cars, families that stay in shelters. And every night we have kiddos that are in those situations,” said social worker, Sabre McLean.

In fact, more than 23% of Potter County families are living in poverty, that’s according to the Census Bureau. A number that’s growing along with the refugee population. Studies show when kids are food insecure, tired, and embarrassed over worn out clothes, they’re not learning.

“When kids come in and they’re dirty, they haven’t had a good nights sleep and they’re hungry. My job is to provide those services so they can be in their chair doing their job and learning,” said McLean.

She works with the students and their families making sure they’re fed, clothed, and getting help with basic needs. But the only dollars spent AISD is on these social workers salary, everything else is donation based.

Does your community have a taxpayer-funded social worker to help poor refugee kids get through a school day?

Check this out!

I visited Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, one of the primary contractors resettling refugees in Amarillo and they have this handy flow chart entitled, ‘Report on Refugee Resettlement in Amarillo’, which shows exactly what we have been saying for years—the program is so complex (they need a flow chart!) that the average concerned citizen of Amarillo could not possibly sort this out without spending many long hours in research.

LOL! Of course the UN is at the top of the flow chart!

Wyoming op-ed: Time for the refugee program to come out of the shadows!

As regular readers know, the Republican governor of Wyoming, Matt Mead, last year wrote to the federal government to begin exploring the possibility of setting up a refugee resettlement program in the only state in the nation wise enough to stay out of it completely for over 30 years.

A political firestorm is underway in the state now over whether or not the state should proceed with the US State Department, the US Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Refugee Resettlement), and a Lutheran contractor to begin bringing refugees to Gillette and/or Casper, Wyoming.   See all of our previous posts on the controversy by clicking here.

The feds and the contractors need Wyoming because they are reaching a saturation point in many locations around the country.  “Pockets of resistance” have developed.

Don Barnett

One of the leading critics of the program, Don Barnett, has penned this piece published in the Casper Star Tribune yesterday so Wyomingites have more facts before they leap into a contract with the federal government and a federal contractor (emphasis is mine):

Refugee resettlement was once the calling of true sacrificial charity and the work of private sponsors who invested their own resources. Today, it is the work of federal contractors who have no responsibility a mere 3-4 months after the refugee has arrived.

Traditional sponsor duties have been replaced by access to all forms of welfare upon arrival for refugees and an opaque stream of grant money from seemingly every government agency except NASA.

In recent years up to 95 percent of the refugees coming to the U.S. were referred by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees or were the relatives of U.N.-picked refugees. Until the late 1990s, the U.S. picked the large majority of refugees for resettlement in the U.S.

Considering that the refugee influx causes increases in all legal and illegal immigration as family and social networks are established in the U.S., the U.N. is effectively dictating much of U.S. immigration policy.

A network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the U.S. State Department “selects communities where refugees will live” according to a 2012 GAO report, “Refugee Resettlement — Greater Consultation With Community Stakeholders Could Strengthen Program.”

They don’t place refugees in D.C. where the NGOs have offices which lobby for more refugees and money. They don’t place refugees in Delaware, home of Joe Biden, co-sponsor of the 1980 Refugee Act which defines the program we have today.

The GAO report is critical of refugee contractors and how they place refugees in local communities across the U.S., noting of the resettlement contractors “few agencies we visited consulted relevant local stakeholders, which posed challenges for service providers.” The report found that “… most public entities such as public schools and health departments generally said that agencies notified them of the number of refugees expected to arrive in the coming year, but did not consult them regarding the number of refugees they could serve…”

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, the affiliate proposed for Wyoming for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) the fourth largest refugee contractor in the nation, takes this penchant for operating in secret to the max. According to notes from a February 2014 board of directors meeting the process of selecting resettlement sites in Wyoming has been “complicated by both the state and a private citizen advocate providing media availability to a local paper. Media coverage at this stage is potentially damaging to the success of the overall process…”

There is a reason for the secrecy.

The program places significant unfunded costs on state and local taxpayers in the form of social services which must be provided.

According to the latest data available, a federal study of refugees who have been in the country 5 years or less, the unemployment rate for refugees was 21 percent compared with 9 percent for the U.S. population in 2010. Twenty-six percent were dependent on cash assistance, 63 percent were in the food stamp program and 48 percent were in Medicaid or short-term federal Refugee Medical Assistance. The federal welfare program SSI is a good indicator of long-term welfare dependency rates. It is generally a lifetime entitlement and usually includes Medicaid and other social services. The federal study of arrivals over the previous five years found an 11.6 percent rate of usage – about 2.5 times the national average.

Most of this cost is borne by the federal taxpayer, but programs such as Medicaid have state cost components as well.

There is even secrecy in the meaning of official language used in the program. For instance, it will be claimed – and the media will report – that refugees are “self-sufficient” in some amazingly short period of time. But as officially defined, refugees are considered “self-sufficient” even if they are living in public housing, receiving Medicaid and Food Stamps. They can receive cash assistance from local, state and federal sources, such as SSI. Only TANF disqualifies one from being “self-sufficient.”

Then there is the money racket. As a state refugee coordinator notes in the 2012 GAO report, “local affiliate funding is based on the number of refugees they serve, so affiliates have an incentive to maintain or increase the number of refugees they resettle each year rather than allowing the number to decrease.”

Refugee resettlement is very profitable for the non-profits.

At the point of his recent retirement the CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, another resettlement affiliate of LIRS, was making $441,767 a year in salary and benefits – almost all taxpayer-supplied.

It is time to bring this program out of the shadows.

Don Barnett is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.

Editors note:  If you’ve had experience with the refugee program where you live, please take a few minutes and comment to Mr. Barnett’s opinion piece so that the citizens of Wyoming have all of the facts before they get into something they will never be able to get out of!

Are these the refugees we really want in Australia?

Diversity is beautiful alert!

Reader ‘petzix’ sent us this recent op-ed which describes an incident on a boat carrying illegal migrants to Australia.

Readers here know that Australia’s government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been making great strides in closing the borders to the mostly Muslim aliens arriving by boat.

From Andrew Bolt writing at the Herald Sun News (emphasis mine):

THE ABC’s 7.30 on Monday accidentally showed exactly why we should stop the boats of illegal immigrants — and not only to end the drowning.

The ABC’s footage, including video shot by boat people turned back last month, actually showed a dangerous cultural difference.

How could these 34 people from Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal — mostly Muslim countries that are neither war-torn nor famine-struck — think that threatening to kill our sailors, shouting “f— Australia” and warning of another September 11 would make us unlock our hearts and our door?

And how many people just like them are among the more than 50,000 Labor let sail in uninvited, even taxiing them in on our warships?

Last month our Navy — under new instruction from the Abbott Government — towed another boatload of illegal immigrants back to Indonesia after intercepting them at sea and transferring them into an unsinkable lifeboat.

Some on the lifeboat filmed their tow-back on their mobile phones and, evidently to win our sympathy, gave the footage to the ABC — their friendliest media outlet.

They also gave interviews to tell of the alleged inhumanity of our sailors.

I don’t criticise the ABC for broadcasting all this on Monday and do not accuse it of bias. In fact, I praise it for not deleting footage from the boat people, which actually discredited them.

And here is the point: how complete is the cultural disconnect between such boat people and their Australian audience that they thought their story would soften our hearts?

First, the ABC admitted its main subject, Iranian Arash Sedigh, who is pictured, twice tried to smuggle himself and his wife here by boat after he’d been “refused entry to Australia through the skilled migration program”. Sedigh added: “We decided to go there in illegal way, to make them accept us.”

This sounded like a man we didn’t want telling us we had no right to reject him.

Next, Sedigh said after his boat was intercepted, he warned our sailors: “I will kill you if you don’t take us to that ship. I have nothing to lose. I will kill you. Believe me.”

Then, as the 34 illegal immigrants were towed back to Indonesia, they filmed themselves shouting “f— Australia” and raising the middle finger.

Sedigh even had himself filmed issuing this warning: “F— Australia … If later on you said why they do that to America on September 11, you should know the cause of it is your very deeds.

“Remember 9/11 for United States. All the world should know why.”

There is a bit more and the video, click here.

For new readers, this is our 128th post on Australia, here.