Washington Post does the warm and fuzzy Syrian refugee story, so what else would you expect?

Reporter Julie Zauzmer does the stereotypical report on a Syrian family in fear of Assad who have just managed to be in the first batch of Syrians “welcomed” to America.

You can read the lengthy early paragraphs about the family’s long ordeal until they were rescued by America (through the UN), by the US State Department and by the State Department’s resettlement contractor Catholic Charities all geared to get your mind right before we get to the all important question—how are these people going to make it in America without enormous taxpayer support?  He was a journalist who can’t speak English, she a hairdresser who can’t speak English.

Anne Richard Asst. Secretary of State (left) and Antonio Guterres (UNHCR): We take those that the UN sends us and run this whole program on a shoestring (over $1 billion a year) budget!

Washington Post (emphasis is mine):

The State Department has promised that the United States will take in 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next two years.  [Seems to me she said 10,000 annually here—so what is the truth?—ed]


The United States takes in a set number of refugees — 70,000 a year — no matter what troubled part of the world they come from.

The UN picks our refugees!

Candidates for resettlement are nominated by the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, then interviewed by State Department officials. The rigorous process involves a background check, review of any documents the refugees can provide to prove their lives are at risk and numerous interviews to make sure the refugees’ accounts of their hardships remain consistent.

“Their stories have to hold water. They can’t be dishonest or criminals or would-be terrorists,” said Anne Richard, the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration.  [She assumes they never lie, but she knows better.  We have admitted terrorists through the refugee program.—ed]

One reason they got in, the teenage daughters were candidates for sexual assault (in a Muslim country, but they never say that).

US State Department Daniel Langenkamp: The vulnerable teenaged girls in the family helped move them up the list. Photo: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/daniel-langenkamp/1a/197/563

In the Smaisems’ case, State Department spokesman Daniel Langenkamp said that the specific threat against Khaled, as well as the fact that the family had two teenage daughters in an environment known for its sexual-assault hazard, may have contributed to moving them up the list.

Richard said that 105 Syrians were resettled in the United States in fiscal 2014. In fiscal 2015, which began on Oct. 1, 112 have arrived.

If she now says it’s going to be 9,000 over two years she is going to really tick-off the contractors who want 15,000 per year!

As of mid-December, 9,972 Syrians had been nominated by the U.N. office and begun the process of applying for U.S. resettlement, Richard said. She said nearly all likely will be accepted within the next two years.

Once refugees arrive, they are assigned to a private organization that partners with the State Department to get the families settled. In the case of the Smaisems, it was Catholic Charities, the largest such group. [Partners!  They are contractors and why can’t these reporters for the mainstream media ever say that! Or, don’t they even know!—ed]

Refugees receive U.S. government stipends for up to three months, and federal grant programs help states support them for longer. But the money quickly tapers off.  [Federal grant money goes to the contractors who then launder it through their offices.—ed]

“This is not a luxurious program. This is very challenging,” Richard said. “It’s kind of run on a shoestring budget.”

Shoestring budget!  It is over $1 billion just to get 70,000 in the door!  That does not include most of the social services they will live on for years and years!

Khaled is keenly aware of that. His family’s initial cash aid has ended. According to Derek Maxfield, the associate director of Catholic Charities of D.C., the family is receiving food stamps, which will end after they have been in the country for eight months; local government cash assistance that amounts to $200 to $300 per month; and $1,000 monthly per family member through a Catholic Charities program. [There is no reason the food stamps will end! And, haven’t we been told many times that refugee resettlement doesn’t cost local taxpayer dollars?—ed]

The large Catholic Charities stipend is not charitable Catholic money—it is federal taxpayer money!   Come on reporters, stop being lazy, or is this to mislead?

That large Catholic Charities stipend, which will end after about four months, is predicated on the family’s efforts to become self-sufficient. Smaisem has been looking for work, though he says that his lack of English hampers him.

After you’ve read the long mushy (superficial) story, tell me—any chance this family is going to be “self-sufficient” any time soon?

Isn’t it about time that publications like the Washington Post and the New York Times begin to do some serious and careful reporting?  I know, I know, stop laughing!

Portland, Maine: White cabbie files discrimination lawsuit against city, all airport licenses went to Somalis and Iranians

More refugee-related problems coming to light in Maine (see yesterday Lewiston Somali arsonist).  If the facts are true, it sure looks like an open and shut case of discrimination.

Somali cab drivers protesting in Portland in 2011. New city rule said they must apply in person for licenses (not with power-of-attorney while in Somalia!). There is clearly a heck of a lot going on with this licensing program and don’t you wonder why Somalis are so organized at airports around the country? http://bangordailynews.com/2011/12/05/news/portland/somali-taxi-drivers-say-new-portland-policy-aims-to-shut-them-down/

From the Portland Press Herald (emphasis mine):

A white taxicab driver has filed a lawsuit accusing the city of Portland of racial discrimination for denying him one of 45 permits to work as part of the Portland International Jetport’s taxi pool.

The driver, Paul McDonough of South Portland, said in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland that the city’s current jetport taxicab permit system is “blatantly discriminatory” because it has issued permits only to people of Somali or Iranian descent or nationality.

“How does it happen that 45 licenses all go to one racial group who just arrived in this country?” McDonough’s attorney, David Turesky, said in an interview after filing the lawsuit.

Turesky said that in 2008, the city granted all of its then 50 jetport licenses to Somali or Iranian immigrants without opening bidding to the general public. The city reduced the number of available jetport licenses in July 2013 to 45, “grandfathering” in those license holders, again without opening the bidding process to the public.

“It was done in a way that was never publicized,” Turesky said. “Our supposition is something was done to benefit these gentlemen or this particular group. But we don’t know how. We don’t know precisely what the motive was. We don’t know who paid for the licenses.”

The city’s attorney, Corporation Counsel Danielle West-Chuhta, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit originated from a complaint that McDonough and another white male taxicab driver filed in June 2013 and brought before the Maine Human Rights Commission. State investigators found that the complaint by McDonough and Raymond Chasse of Scarborough has “no reasonable grounds.” Chasse has since died.

Turesky said the Maine Human Rights Commission did not investigate the background of how the city’s permitting practices began. He expects that those details will be ordered to be disclosed through the court process.

Turesky expects that even if the court finds that the city did not intentionally commit racial discrimination, it did discriminate.

 There is more, read it all.   Be sure to see the comments.  See Debba Curtis who says the Somalis don’t allow her seeing-eye dog in their cabs at the airport.  Another discrimination case?

Why did so many Somalis go to Maine?  See one of our top posts of all time—Somali migration to Maine–its the welfare magnet stupid.

See our extensive archive on Maine refugee problems by clicking here.

Update January 15th:  I see a Maine blogger has written more on the story, here.