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.
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.