Some states are pretty secretive about refugee health data—Tennessee is one of them

Michael Patrick Leahy (Breitbart) continues his series on Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases entering the US with the refugee population with this news from Tennessee.
Citizens of the Volunteer State are not given information about the health status of their new ‘refugee’ neighbors.

President Barack Obama is introduced by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as he speaks about No Child Left Behind Reform in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Republican Gov. Haslam, left, with friend. Is the Governor adequately protecting the health and well-being of TN citizens?

We have a tendency to focus on the Islamic terrorism angle with refugees and migrants to the US generally, but in addition to the cost to the taxpayer is this oft-forgotten worry about refugees—-we are very lax about refugee health.
However, if you are a different sort of legal immigrant or adopting kids from abroad, you know how rigorous that health screening is and how many immunizations must be given abroad or immediately upon arrival.
Not so with refugees as we are learning from Leahy’s investigative work.
Breitbart yesterday:

NASHVILLE, Tennessee—Both the Tennessee Department of Health and the VOLAG (voluntary agency) that administers the refugee resettlement program in the Volunteer State, Catholic Charities of Tennessee’s Tennessee Office for Refugees, are failing to make public critical information on refugee tuberculosis (TB) health care.

Breitbart News asked the two organizations to provide the following refugee TB healthcare data, which several other states make public on an annual basis, but neither provided it:

• The percentage of refugees who successfully completed medical screenings within 90 days of their arrival, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
• The percentage of refugees who tested positive for Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI).
• The percentage of refugees who tested positive for LTBI who completed medical treatment.
• The number of refugees who were diagnosed with active TB upon their arrival in Tennessee.

Tennessee is one of fourteen states that have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement. In those states, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has selected a VOLAG to run the refugee resettlement operations under the statutorily questionable Wilson Fish alternative program.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a resolution in April to sue the federal government for its operation of the refugee resettlement program on Tenth Amendment grounds. In May, Gov. Haslam chose not to veto the resolution, so a lawsuit is in the works, though Tennessee’s embattled Attorney General Herbert Slatery could raise an objection impacting the Tennessee General Assembly’s standing.

At least seven states that are not part of the Wilson Fish alternative program, California, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, and Florida, regularly report on the health data, tuberculosis and otherwise, of refugees resettled in their states.

Go here for more of this very thorough report.
All of you working in ‘pockets of resistance’ should start checking whether your state collects refugee health data.  There are several diseases and parasites the come in with refugees in addition to TB.
We have 297 previous posts on refugee and immigrant health issues archived at RRW.

Top posts of the last week

rrw-logo-1Hope you are all having a nice Memorial Day weekend with family and friends and take a few minutes to remember and honor those in the military who have kept you safe.
As I mentioned last week, several readers have asked that we let you know which posts garnered the most attention here at RRW over the preceding week.  Here they are:

Think about Utica, NY before you jump on the “welcoming refugees” bandwagon

Too funny! Mayor of Rutland, VT says we got our heroin epidemic under control, so now let’s take some Syrian refugees

Speaker Paul Ryan complicit in Syrian migrant surge to America

twitter logoWe reached a milestone this past week at twitter.
We passed the 3,000 followers mark!   That’s not much compared to some of you, but it was a milestone I was tickled to have reached!  (See my twitter feed in the right hand sidebar because even if you aren’t on twitter, you can still access the news stories I post there.) I am @RefugeeWatcher.
We have 20,000 likes at our facebook page, here.

Bowling Green, KY pastor: 'we need to have more faith in the process'

…..but does he know what that process is?
We are only about one month away from this blog reaching its 9th birthday.  Most of what we have been writing for those nearly 9 years is about “the process,” so on this 90 degree day (I am hot already!) I want to blow a gasket over the ignorance still surrounding the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program.
It’s not that I expect every American to have been to this blog (nearly 5 million have!), but I am furious that the mainstream media and cable news have been so disgustingly uninterested in investigating and reporting about how the program works!  So, years after Bowling Green, KY has been a preferred resettlement site for refugees of all kinds, there are still many citizens who are shocked to learn that the federal government is dumping diversity on your town whether you like it or not!
And, we still have pastors like this one who hasn’t been reading the news.  If he had he would know that WE ARE ONLY RESETTLING A TINY FRACTION OF THE TRULY PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN SYRIANS!
Publications like CNS News (a Christian news network) with its report this week, is getting its information directly from government data bases.  They are not making this up! These are the facts in its headline!

Record 499 Syrian Refugees Admitted to US So Far in May Includes No Christians

Bowling Green will NOT be getting Syrian Christians but primarily Syrian Sunni Muslims!  Sunni Muslims are the persecutors of the Christians!  Sheesh!
Here is what Pastor Blais is quoted as saying at the Bowling Green Daily News about the meeting last night (hat tip: Robin):

jason Blais
Rev. Blais is giving the audience an untruth! Photo is at the Bowling Green Daily News story.

The Rev. Fr. Jason Blais, a pastor at the Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, said many Syrian refugees are Christians displaced by genocide, and said the United States bears some responsibility for the current situation in Syria.  

Although Christians face persecution, Blais said, his church’s mission goes beyond helping one group.

“It’s important for us to be able to help whoever comes because in no small way they’ve contributed to growth of our faith in the country of Syria over the past 2,000 years,” he told the Daily News following the meeting. “If it weren’t for them there wouldn’t be an orthodox here on these shores.” [He is talking about Syrian Christians who will not be coming to the US in any numbers!—ed]

Blais also responded to what he described as “animosity” toward refugee resettlement at the meeting.

“I think a lot of it is maybe birthed out of the political climate,” he said. “What was really disappointing to me is when the facts were given and people said ‘Well I don’t want to belief that. That’s not true.’ ”  [I repeat! They are not getting all the “facts” and I think they know it!—ed]

“I think we need to have a little bit more faith in the process,” he said.

Faith in the process! I’m sure the good reverend doesn’t know what that is! But, maybe he can still learn!
Continue reading here.
In addition to 40 Syrians, Bowling Green is going to get 400 other refugees! That is a huge number. I sure hope the Mayor and Council have asked for the R & P Abstract (it will look like Reno, Nevada’s) the contractor (USCRI) has sent to Washington which would tell how many others and from what parts of the world BG is going to get.
And, for all the folks in Bowling Green who didn’t know what was going on there in the last decade with the arrival of thousands of refugees, see our archives on your town by clicking here.  And, did you know that there is a national grassroots network of ‘pockets of resistance’ to the resettlement program.?
You will see in the archive that a few years ago there was a huge controversy there because the resettlement contractor was accused of ignoring the needs of hundreds of Burmese refugees resettled in BG and placed in substandard housing.

Bowling Green, KY info meeting on Syrian refugees turned into heated debate

I’m sure there will be more reports today about what went down in Senator Rand Paul’s hometown last evening when the local resettlement agency honcho held a meeting to explain to the community that he had applied for 40 Syrians to add to Bowling Greens already large Muslim community, but here are two reports.

I don’t have a lot of hope that Sen. Rand Paul will do much, but Kentucky’s new ‘tea party’ governor Matt Bevin is perfectly positioned to throw a huge monkey-wrench into the refugee industry by standing up for state’s rights and filing a law suit already prepared by the Thomas More Law Center.

Both indicate that the meeting went longer and got angrier than organizers expected, and the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) employee indicated there will be another public meeting before the close of the fiscal year (Sept. 30th).  We will be watching for that.
The bottomline however is the refugee industry spokesman says (too bad folks!) the local community will have no say anyway!
You are going to have to go to both stories to see what happened because I am so bogged down with a huge list of things to post (including more of your testimonies to the US State Dept.) over this holiday weekend and no time to analyze further.
Here is WKU Public Radio where the head of the Bowling Green USCRI office shows that he is not up to date with the latest from Washington where we are told the screening process for Syrians has been shrunk to 3 months!

Albert Mbanfu, executive director of the International Center of Kentucky, explained the extensive screening process that takes 18-24 months before refugees are approved for resettlement in the U.S.

This is not just about Islamic terrorism!

The other report is from WKBO and here (below) is the bit that jumped out at me.  We are beginning to get reports from people with direct knowledge of the inner workings of the Refugee Resettlement Program and apparently here is one who made a comment last evening. (I wonder if we could get a national whistleblower club going!).

One woman said she worked with refugees for 30 years, and doesn’t trust the system.

“There is a lot of fraud within the agencies that are placing refugees. They’re paid per head by the number of refugees that they sell [resettle?—ed], and you gotta follow the money.”

In both reports you will get the very clear signal that the resettlement agency, working for the federal government, is in the cat bird seat and refugees are coming to Bowling Green anyway (whether you like it or not!).
There is one way out for Kentucky, a Wilson-Fish state just like Tennessee.  Because of how Wilson-Fish states are structured it is the contention of many that it is a 10th Amendment (State’s Rights) issue.  The Governor of Kentucky can sue to stop the program!
Kentuckians with concerns need to hound your governor!
LOL! One of the two stories above uses the words “testy town hall” in its title.  Maybe we should have a whole new category for those testy town halls, see Rutland, VT this week as well.