Reader from Maine shares his comments to US State Department

This is one more in a (hopefully!) continuing series of statements (saved from the State Department’s black hole!) that readers of RRW have sent in response to their notice of a comment period on the “size and scope” of refugee admissions for fiscal year 2015.

Longtime readers know that Maine has been a hotbed of controversy ever since Catholic Charities began encouraging the resettlement of Somalis to Portland and Lewiston Maine about 15 years ago.

Here (below) a reader from Maine expresses his concern about the program and asks that it be strictly limited.

Be sure to read yesterday’s post in which we directed readers and those who submitted statements to the US State Department to write to Rep. Trey Gowdy who chairs the all important subcommittee responsible for refugee resettlement and ask that he obtain the statements from contractors that the State Department is withholding from the public.  What are they afraid of?

Ask Rep. Trey Gowdy to demand the release of all testimony from May 29th public comment period and ask him to hold Congressional oversight hearings on the refugee program.

From Michael in Maine:

Dear Ms. Spruell:

I am concerned with the large numbers of refugees (~70,000 a year) that are being resettled in the U.S. I am particularly concerned regarding the large number of people claiming refugee status who are from countries containing significant populations that are not friendly with the U.S. Unfriendly populations often include people who are not aligned with the countries’ governments, so just because these people are refugees does not mean that they are pro-American.

I do not wish for anyone to be forced to live under oppression, but in many, and perhaps most, cases it seems to me that it would be better to try to resettle refugees in less oppressive countries more similar to or nearer to their home country rather than to the U.S. Moreover, there is great concern that the number of refugees we are letting in currently is so great that it is overwhelming our ability to properly screen applicants for fraudulent claims.

I think that we could probably get by with a refugee program that relocated about 1/5 of the people to the U.S. that we do now; moreover, our program ought to prioritize refugees based on how easily they can be assimilated to the U.S. For those who cannot easily be assimilated to our culture we should find alternate countries and help them to immigrate to them instead.

I am also very concerned about the influence of various Refugee advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, who gain financially from government contracts when the number of refugees increases.

Given that (for reasons that remain unclear to me) there will be no public hearing this year, I would like for a complete record of all comments to be published.

I am sending written copies of this mail to Anne C. Richard, Asst. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, and to the proper House and Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittees. I am also sending electronic copies to my Senators and my Congresswoman, using their on-line contact forms.


cc: Senator Susan Collins, Senator Angus King, Representative Chellie Pingree,
House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, US Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

See all of our posts relating to this year’s State Department hearing by clicking here.  And, see our extensive archive on Maine, here.

And, by the way, if anyone gets any interesting response from an elected representative, send it our way.

One last thing—next week the Lutherans send 50 refugees to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress (for more money and more refugees), so it’s especially important that you get your statements in at this time as well.

Lancaster Lutherans run job placement service for African refugees

But, of course they are paid by you, the federal taxpayer, to provide the service.

I guess the Lancaster, PA area has run out of Americans looking for work and so Sudanese “refugees” who traveled through Libya, Egypt and the Ukraine are now working at an egg processing plant there.

There are some interesting nuggets in this story that obviously riled up local commenters (check out the comments before they disappear!).  I was struck again about how we (the US) have picked up “refugees” that have traveled through safe countries (not including Libya) and didn’t ask for asylum in say the Ukraine and wherever else they must have passed through.


Be sure to check out the part of the story where the three Arabic-speaking men were dropped off by a driver in the wrong PA community and didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome.

From the Republican Herald (thanks to several readers for sending it):

SPRING GLEN – R.W. Sauder Inc., a fourth-generation family company, has returned to the Hegins Valley.

As of Jan. 1, R.W. Sauder Inc. has taken over Hegins Valley Farms and have all eight bird houses filled and fully operational. Unfortunately, the business was having difficulty filling all the positions in order to have the Hubley Township plant fully operational.

A trip to a Lancaster gym by Paul Sauder paid off in more ways than one both for both himself and his company.

“My dad was working out at the gym and got talking to this man who works with Lutheran Refugee Services in Lancaster,” Mark Sauder said. “He learned of refugees that are here from various places in the world and who need employment.”

Sauder met with Lutheran Refugee Services in Lancaster and was introduced to a program that works with companies to find gainful employment for refugees and help them to get established here in the states.

Lutheran Refugee Services resettles approximately 180 refugees to the United States [they must mean to Lancaster because the Lutherans actually resettle thousands to America every year—ed]. Refugees are individuals who are forced to leave their country because of war or persecution. In order to gain admittance to the United States, refugees must prove that they have not fought or aided in military action, but rather are victims of the conflict.

According to LRS, refugees arrive in the U.S. with a status that allows them to work. After five years, they will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Currently, LRS is resettling refugees from Iraq, Burma and Sudan. LRS assists them for their first 90 days in the country. The goal is for all refugees to be self-sufficient at the end of that time. Because some refugees need time to learn the language and culture enough to gain employment on their own, LRS is also funded to provide assistance with their job search beyond that time. Refugees can come back to the agency for the assistance any time within their first five years in the country.

Three men from Sudan – Alhadi Gouma, Norreldin Ali and Ismaeil Shrif – are now gainfully employed at R.W. Sauder Inc.’s Hubley Township plant.

Sorry, it never rings true to me that these ‘frightened’ men are willing to leave wives and children behind in the supposedly dangerous area they came from.   No, I should rephrase that, what kind of man leaves his wife and children in danger?

“We have been in the United States for the past eight months,” said Shrif, who left his wife and other family members in order to seek a better life. “It was very scary in the Sudan. There was much killing and burning, the men in the area were constantly in danger.”

Shrif said the men traveled to Libya, Egypt and Ukraine in order to finally escape.

“I still have contact with my wife in Sudan and hope to bring her to the states,” Shrif said.

Don’t forget to read the commentary!

We have a lot on Lancaster here at RRW, click here for our complete archive on the preferred resettlement site.

Columbus, OH Somalis could lose Section 8 housing because they can’t read the legal documents

This is a post aimed directly at the Wyoming governor and any others in the nation who believe “welcoming” refugees is a freebee for local tax payers.   It is not! and you better be saving your money for the translation services required by the feds.

Columbus is right behind Minneapolis as a go-to destination for Somalis where housing is at a premium.  Remember this 2012 story—-Somalis gone wild.

From the Columbus Post Dispatch:

A Bill Clinton Executive order in 2000 (just as he was leaving office!) says states and cities better get everything translated for the immigrant masses arriving in America.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has failed to translate key documents into Somali and Spanish despite federal requirements, jeopardizing some families’ housing, advocates say.

Leases, hearing notices and payment contracts “are complex documents full of legal jargon that can be challenging for any tenant to understand,” said Benjamin D. Horne, a managing attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “For a new American struggling to learn a new language and a new culture, the challenge is multiplied,” he said.

The Legal Aid Society is to discuss the translation issue with the CMHA on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development office in Columbus also is looking into the situation, said Tom Leach, the field-office director.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, Horne said.

In August 2000, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order requiring agencies that receive federal funds to create plans to ensure that people with limited English skills would have access to services.  [Access to welfare!—ed]

Seven years later, HUD released a set of guidelines for housing providers that receive federal assistance to meet the requirements to provide translation assistance.

CMHA created a plan in 2009 but still hasn’t acted on all the provisions, said Tracey Rudy, CMHA’s chief operating officer.

Immigrant activist:  It is shameful that we might lose Section 8 housing because we can’t understand English.

Hassan Omar, who leads the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said he sees people who are having problems understanding CMHA documents two or three times a month. He usually sends them to the Legal Aid Society.

CMHA should fix the problem, said Josue Vicente, executive director of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.

“It’s shameful that people are losing their Section 8 vouchers because they don’t understand their rights and responsibilities under the program,” he said. “There are supposed to be protections in place to keep this from happening.”

Just a reminder to “welcoming” communities, here are the top ten languages  spoken by refugees that you need to start translating.   Arabic tops the list.