US State Department will not hear public testimony on refugee program this year

For the first time that I know of, there will be no opportunity for the public to go to Washington (frankly they should be having hearings all over the country!) to make suggestions for the refugee program for the upcoming fiscal year.

See announcement of public comment period here.

We can only conclude that officials were not happy with the outspoken testimony given by a handful of concerned citizens in the last two or three cycles.

Anne C. Richard Assistant Secretary of State for PRM.

I’ve been to the last two, and two years ago the room was mostly filled with contractors and others employed in the refugee business.  Several of us testified that the program needed to be changed.  [You can see my testimony here—ten reasons for a moratorium on refugee resettlement.  I presented virtually the same testimony both years.]

Last year a larger number of critics were in attendance and many of the contractors had apparently simply mailed in their comments and didn’t attend.  Here is my report from last year.

We just got word yesterday that there will be no hearing at all this year.

In the past two years (and I assume previously as well), the only way for your mailed-in testimony to see the light of day was by those of us in attendance bringing it home to review.  There was no public record made.

This year we must insist on a published public record.  Don’t send your comments yet, you have time.   I’ll have more information later….gotta run today! 

And, as I said I will be re-posting some of last year’s testimony so you can see what some of your fellow citizens had to say.

Anne C. Richard is Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration.  She was formerly employed as a contractor (International Rescue Committee) and was likely the official responsible for making the decision to have no public hearing for FY 2015.



Somali stowaway soap opera (next episode): family contradicts CAIR

Just when I thought it was safe to move on to another topic, along comes one more news story about why a Somali refugee boy stowed away in the wheel well of a jet bound for Hawaii.

In our previous post this morning we reported that CAIR was acting as a spokesperson for the family (blathering about immigrants being bullied in school) and never mentioned the boy’s desire to go home to Africa to be with his mother.    At the same time Voice of America is reporting that according to law enforcement officials in Hawaii, that is what the boy told them.

Mom in Ethiopia, with two more kids, wants resettlement in to America now as well.

Meanwhile, VOA, says the whole family would like to go back to Africa (if it was safe).

We should be grateful for this boy’s great adventure because it is producing a copious number of main stream media reports and thus bringing the whole Somali refugee migration issue into more American’s living rooms.

Voice of America:

What led 15-year-old Yahya Abdi to jump a fence at San Jose International Airport and stow away on the jetliner bound for Maui?

According to unidentified law enforcement officials, the teen, who lived with his father, had argued with relatives and was trying to reach his mother in Somalia. In reality, she lives in an Ethiopian refugee camp that is home to about 10,200 displaced Somalis, a United Nations official told the Associated Press.

In two separate VOA interviews, both parents mentioned that extreme homesickness might have prompted Yahya to attempt the dangerous trip.

Abdullahi Yusuf, Yahya’s father, spoke to VOA’s Somali service in an exclusive interview last week.

“He was always talking about Africa, where his grandparents still live,” Abdullahi said. “… We all wanted to go back, but due to the security and living conditions there we could not go back.”

Speaking to VOA Somalia Service from Sheed Dheer, the refugee camp, Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi said her son was homesick. She blamed the father for their son undertaking the dangerous journey.

Fractured Somali families:  kids miss Mom.

Hashi Shafi, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Somali Action Alliance, said the California teen’s story is only one example of many fractured Somali families.

“I know a lot of young kids in Minnesota who have been struggling with life lately,” Shafi said, “and when you talk to some of them, they tell you that they are missing their mother whom they haven’t seen for 10 to 16 years.”

So how come so many are missing Mom?  Could Mom be wife #2 or #3 and hubby had to choose just one in order to be eligible for refugee resettlement.  (LOL!  I am not advocating bringing all of the wives to America, just pointing out that due to this huge religious and cultural difference, we have families “disintegrating” and many messed up kids!  Diversity is so beautiful!).

Illegal alien Somalis in US too!

VOA then gives us a comment about a Somali illegal alien who traveled across the globe (not apparently having asked for asylum in the many safe countries he traversed) to get to our southern border, and now says, gee, I miss my family!   Here is an idea! Let’s reunite them—in Africa!

Huge numbers of young African immigrants, among them significant portion of Somalis, risk their lives in search of a better life in Europe and U.S.

But for many of them, reality turned out to be far removed from their hopes.

Sa’id Gure took a long, perilous journey from Somalia through the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Mexico before reaching the United States. The 20-year-old said he misses his parents and siblings.

Again, this disillusioned 20-year-old is an illegal alien!  We admit thousands of Somalis into the US every year as legal refugees, so why didn’t he just get in line in Africa?

And, by the way, where did this poor kid get the money needed for his globe-trotting adventure to our Mexican border?  Why the h*** doesn’t some reporter ever ask that question?



Somali stowaway soap opera continues; CAIR involved now

Reports are sprouting up everywhere with conflicting stories about the Mom (is she a liar?), the Dad (did he kidnap the kids and bring them to America?), will the State Department permit the Mom to come to the US to reclaim her kids and to (of course) stay? etc.  And, now the siblings are in the mix talking to reporters too!

Then here comes CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) to defend the family—they say it is all about bullying that is hard on immigrants trying to adjust to America (America bad!) with no mention of the aggrieved Mom back in Ethiopia.  In Islam, Dad has rights to kids, Mom doesn’t.

For background, our first report on the Somali stowaway is here.

CAIR Executive director Zahra Billoo: the boy is struggling to adjust to life in America and needs social services.

CAIR speaks for the family, from Fox12 Oregon (Hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’ who can’t get enough of this case!):

SAN FRANCISCO (HawaiiNewsNow) – The father of a teenager who stowed away on a flight from San Jose to Kahului plans to fly to Hawaii soon to take his son back to California.

The family of Yahya Abdi, 15, released a statement through a civil rights group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).   [“Civil rights” group—ha! ha!—ed]

“The family is very relieved about their son’s safety. I think for the last week everyone has had the opportunity to learn about the harrowing circumstances of the trip, the very low likelihood of survival,” said Zahra Billoo, CAIR’s executive director.

The teenager told investigators on Maui that he climbed into the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane after running away from the California home he shares with his father and stepmother. The boy was trying to reunite with his mother in Africa after just learning that she was alive, according to San Jose authorities.

“The family spent a lot of time displaced in Somalia and as a result of sort of the war-like conditions of that country the son had not had any formal education before arriving in the United States,” explained Billoo.

Abdulahi Yusuf said his son is struggling to adjust to life in the U.S. as a high school student.

“The dad said that he was a really good kid and that he is loved dearly by his family,” Billoo said. “Overall it was a very difficult situation and school was possibly the hardest of all of those pieces.”

Then get this!  We need to supply him with social services!

“In this era of bullying and cyberspace and social media, things are already so difficult for youth, further aggravated for recent immigrants at times. I hope that they will get the social services that they need,” said Billoo.

There is more in the continuing soap opera:

Here is a story about Mom fretting in Ethiopia (with two more kids she would surely bring to the US, see photo).   And, CBS interviewed siblings who say their birth mother is a liar and is only saying that the kids were taken to America against her wishes so that she too could get in to the US.   I suspect hubby had two wives back in Africa at the same time and the State Department made it clear that he could bring only one wife to America.

By the way, this CBS news piece says the kids have been here for 5 years (something that seemed to be in dispute in some previous reports).

As I said before, why not send the whole kit-and-caboodle back to Africa and let the new Somali government sort out their domestic entanglements (involving at least 11 kids!).  Why should the US taxpayers be on the hook for the legal wrangling, potentially new resettlements, and for “social services”?

For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US.   To check out the numbers visit this post, one of our most widely read posts*** over the last few years.  It is a little out of date, but you get the idea.

In the first six months of this fiscal year we have admitted 3,708 additional Somalis.

Also, after being closed for years, the US State Department has resumed the Somali  family reunification program that admitted tens of thousands of Somalis fraudulently to the US between 2003 and 2008 before a moratorium halted the program.  The frauds were not found and deported!

***I will update that and let you know what the top five posts are now!  Here it is!

Man attacks woman with hatchet in Fargo, ND

Don’t you love it, it is always just “a man” when the news media doesn’t want to say “immigrant” or “refugee” and one is left reading the story to try to figure out who the man might be, what brought him to North Dakota, and what his motive might have been for taking a hatchet to a neighbor (or what his mental illness is).

Diversity is strength alert!

This man’s name is Kokouvi Mawuena Afidegnon and his photo is at right.  Is he a refugee?  Fargo is a resettlement site for Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and they would know if he is a refugee or another legal immigrant (TPS? Diversity visa lottery winner? Student visa?). Or, is he an illegal alien? Couldn’t a reporter simply call the Lutheran contractor to find out if he is one of theirs?

Hatchet man: Kokouvi Mawuena Afidegnon

From  (Hat tip: ‘pungentpeppers’):

WEST FARGO – A West Fargo man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment after police say he attacked a neighbor with a hatchet late Friday afternoon.

West Fargo police arrested Kokouvi Mawuena Afidegnon after they were called to the scene in the 200 block of Eighth Avenue West around 5:30 p.m.

A woman fled to neighboring residence after the reported attack by the time officers arrived, a police news release said. Afidegnon was taken into custody without incident at his residence.

Police say the woman was walking to her vehicle when she was attacked by Afidegnon. She was able to escape by running to a nearby residence where Afidegnon threw the hatchet through a front window, police said.

The female was transported to Essentia Hospital by F-M Ambulance. The condition of the female is unknown.

Learn more about what is happening in your state with refugees!

As I said in a post about refugee resettlement in New Jersey over the weekend, here is a list of all the state refugee coordinators and it’s a good place to start your research on what is happening in your state with refugee “placement.”

Call or e-mail your state coordinators and politely ask:  who (from what country) is being resettled in your state, how many have been resettled in recent years, find out who the resettlement contractors are and ask for the state plan.  State coordinators are supposed to submit a plan to the Office of Refugee Resettlement every couple of years (I have my doubts though about whether they do it!).

And, I’ll mention this in most posts for the next few weeks: You have an opportunity to comment to the US State Department which is asking for input on the size and scope of the refugee program for fiscal year 2015.

As for Kokouvi Mawuena Afidegnon, if anyone finds out if he is a refugee or other legal immigrant, let us know!

US State Department: public invited to comment on FY2015 refugee admissions

Update April 30th:  There will be no opportunity to testify in person this year, here.

Here we go again!  The US State Department is inviting public comment on how many refugees/from where should be resettled in the US in the next fiscal year which begins October 1, 2014.

Your testimony will be addressed to Anne C.Richard, Asst. Secretary of State for PRM shown here with Hillary.

Longtime followers of RRW know that in the past couple of years we have flooded the State Department with critical testimony, while the majority of the give-us-more-refugees crowd was comprised almost exclusively of the contractors who gain financially from each refugee resettled (they are paid by the head).

Here are the pertinent facts about the upcoming opportunity to comment:

Federal Resister Notice 8690

Inviting Public Comment on the size and scope of the refugee admissions program.

Comments to be submitted by 5 p.m. May 29th by e-mail to or fax to 202-453-9393

Don’t hesitate to contact Ms. Spruell if you have a question.

In the past, some of us attended the ‘hearing’ at the State Department.  I’ll check and see if that opportunity is available this year and when it is.

We will also plan to re-post some of the good testimony from the last couple of years in the coming days.  If you are eager to find out what critics said in previous years, note we have two categories in the left-hand side bar.  One is entitled Testimony for 5/1/2012 and the other Testimony for 5/15/2013.  Note that not all posts are the actual testimony but might just include my references to someone’s testimony.

Just now, we have created a new category for all posts referencing the 2014 State Dept. invitation to comment.

For those who say this is a hopeless exercise, that the testimony goes into a black hole, you can make your testimony goes farther by sending it to your Senators, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors etc.  and ask them for a response to your concerns.  Even consider using it as a press opportunity for a local group.