Residents of St. Cloud, MN get more facts on refugee resettlement

If you have just dropped in here at RRW today for the first time, you should read our report from my visit to St. Cloud, MN, a small city a little over an hour from Minneapolis where Lutheran Social Service is dropping off Somali refugees who are now causing tension in the school system.

Although the Left-leaning St. Cloud Times couldn’t control itself completely and put up one story as news that was really an opinion piece, we are pretty satisfied that for the first time ever the readers of that paper received a tutorial of sorts on how the refugee resettlement program works.

The contractors, such as Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, are often happy to promote the idea that refugees simply “find their way” to your towns, rather than to tell you that the UN is picking them and the US State Department is assigning them to 9 contractors and 350 subcontractors (some masquerading as ‘religious’ charities), and paying them with your tax dollars to distribute them!

The original article generated lots of discussion, see the comments, and here is a letter to the editor published yesterday from Tennessean Don Barnett who has had over two decades of experience following the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program.

I would like to draw your attention to the airfare loan issue.  Shortly after refugees arrive in the US the contractor begins nagging the refugee to repay the airfare loan money (that you ‘loaned’ them through the federal treasury).   The State Department to my knowledge has not reported how much is actually ever collected, but we know that the contractors keep a chunk of what they manage to wring out of the refugees for themselves! 

Remember readers this is big business for the contractors and for the industries in Minnesota looking for cheap labor!

Here is Barnett (emphasis is mine):

This is regarding the Times news report “Fact-checking refugee resettlement activist,” published April 24.

Don Barnett

Stating that Lutheran Social Services “receives $850 per arrival” is misleading. Refugee resettlement is very profitable, and money is earned in many ways. If a volunteer spends time with an LSS refugee or donates, say, a used couch, LSS submits a bill to the feds for the volunteer’s time or the used couch and receives cash from the misnamed federal Match Grant program.

If LSS’s parent organization collects the airfare from the refugee — which was provided by the taxpayer to the refugee as a loan — the organization pockets a full 25 percent of the amount as a collection fee. This relatively small program alone means millions for the larger refugee contractors.  [In its 2012 annual report, for example, the contractor US Conference of Catholic Bishops reported over $3 million in cash for the collection of airfare loans.—ed]

There are many grant programs providing an opaque stream of money from almost all departments of the U.S. government. As a state refugee coordinator notes in a 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.”

It is hardly the case that “refugees receive a one-time federal grant of $1,125” and “after that, refugees are on their own.” Most refugees are placed into one or another federal assistance program by the refugee resettlement contractors.

Just in the past few weeks Congressional Research Services provided data about welfare usage among refugees. Among refugees who had arrived in a recent 5-year period, 56 percent were receiving Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance, 74.2 percent were on food stamps, 22.8 percent were in public housing, and 47.1 percent were on some form of cash assistance.

Unfortunately, it is the refugee resettlement contractor, such as LSS, which leaves the refugees “on their own” — abandoning them to the care of the taxpayer.

See our complete archive on St. Cloud going back many years by clicking here.

If you are interested in listening to my interview with Dan ‘OX’ Ochsner on KNSI radio in St. Cloud, click here and scroll down to podcasts part 1 and 2 on April 23, 2015.

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