Testimony to the US State Department from Laurel in Illinois

Editor: Here comes another one! I am still sorting my e-mail in search of the testimony you sent to the US State Department in response to the DOS request for public comment on the “size and scope” of the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program for FY2017.
The day before the deadline for submission of testimony I noticed (maybe you were all ahead of me and noticed!) that the dates were wrong in the Federal Register.  I happened to see a comment sent by lawyers to the DOS asking that the comment period be re-opened because citizens, who might like to have testified, didn’t think the notice was for a comment period this year, but for last year.   See here.
So far no sign that the State Department is re-opening the comment period.  Have any of you seen a new notice?
From Laurel who is most concerned about the impact on her local school system (including costs!) with the sudden arrival of large numbers of refugee children in need of special help.

Ms. Anne C. Richard U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

Dear Ms. Richard:

The refugee resettlement program is a secretive, expensive and potentially dangerous program that needs to be immediately halted, and probably scrapped. What once began as a wellintentioned means to help asylees has now evolved into a complex “people importing” business with many players, most of all the VOLAGS, which are essentially government agencies disguised as charities. A good example is Lutheran Immigration and Social Services, which professes to be “faith based” but in reality has no affiliation to any church (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, 2015).

“We [LCMS] are not connected to the refugee work of Lutheran World Relief at this time, and our relationship with, and support for, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services is limited. LIRS is not a Synod organization, not a Recognized Service Organization and is not officially tied to any church body” (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, 2015).

Unfortunately, the people most directly impacted by “importing” refugees – i.e. local schools, state taxpayers, community residents, medical facilities, social service agencies – are not involved when refugees are placed, yet they are stuck with the costs and problems. A good example is Evanston, Illinois where school districts 65 and 202 have seen a sudden surge of refugee students. (Gavin, 2015). Administrators were not informed.

“Dr. Witherspoon added, ‘I don’t have a real handle on why we’re seeing such a big increase in Evanston.’ He added he would be interested to see if this was a one-time increase, or if it is going to continue” (Gavin, 2015).

Student refugees often have learning and language issues and require the hiring of additional staff.

“Many of the children have not had any formal education, so it is unclear what grade they should be placed in. Language is a barrier, as most of the refugee students speak French, Arabic, Turkish or Swahili. They also require vaccinations and medical care…Evanston Township High School has hired staff to address the needs of these children (Gavin, 2015).

Refugees place enormous costs on the host communities. In September 2015, Center for Immigration Studies released a study estimating that each Middle Eastern refugee costs taxpayers almost $65,000 for the first five years (Zeigler & Camarota, 2015). A more recent study published this month finds that “[the] average immigrant household consumes 33 percent more cash welfare, 57 percent more food assistance, and 44 percent more Medicaid dollars than the average native household (Richwine, 2016).

Illinois (my state) ranks as one of the highest tax states in the nation (Kiernan, 2016). In some cases, property taxes equal or exceed the owner’s mortgage payment. Since refugees impose high costs to state and local residents, why are communities not given the option to say “no?” This amounts to taxation without representation.

The refugee resettlement program has become a “cash cow” to be milked by many players. It is now a $1 billion industry that operates without any oversight or regard for the taxpayers who are funding it. The United States cannot afford to import hundreds of thousands of individuals who will be a net drain on our resources.

Works Cited

Gavin, L. (2015, November 4). Refugees Arrive at School Districts 65 and 202. Retrieved March 4, 2016, from Evanston Roundtable: http://evanstonroundtable.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=11143&SectionID=16&SubSectio nID=27&S=1

Kiernan, J. A. (2016, April 30). 2016’s States with the Highest & Lowest Tax Rates. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from WalletHub: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/2416/

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. (2015). Refugee – FAQ. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=3766

Richwine, J. (2016, May). The Cost of Welfare Use By Immigrant and Native Households. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from Center for Immigration Studies: http://cis.org/Cost-Welfare-Immigrant-NativeHouseholds

Zeigler, K., & Camarota, S. A. (2015, September). The High Cost of Resettling Middle Eastern Refugees. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from Center for Immigration Studies: http://cis.org/High-Cost-ofResettling-Middle-Eastern-Refugees

This is the nineteenth testimony in our series leading up to the deadline for comments to the Dept. of State on May 19th.  Go here for where they are archived to see what your fellow citizens have said.
I intend to keep posting testimonies, a few a day, until I have exhausted my long list! I had no idea so many of you would respond to my offer!  But, thank you for your hard work!

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