I’m writing and listening to the hearing in the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. Eventually, when the video is available, you should all take a couple of hours and watch this. Right now Senator Al Franken is talking and doing the ‘my grandfather came from Russia and read the poem on the Statue of Liberty (his ignorance is so profound) act.’
One of the things that continues to amaze me, it shouldn’t, and that is the Left is always focused on emotions and the facts be damned!
But I digress…..
One big piece of news is that the Obama Administration is refusing to say how many Syrians they want to see admitted beginning Saturday (the first day of the fiscal year).
Simon Henshaw Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration U.S. Department of State told Senator Grassley only that it would be more than 12,500.
Grassley quipped (I’m paraphrasing), ‘is that because it’s a hot political item.’
Yes, exactly. They know the public would go crazy to hear that we were going to bring in 20,000, 30,000 or more.
The subject of Hillary’s 65,000 Syrian Muslim (98% are Sunni Muslims) proposal was raised and Senator Sessions wanted to know, if she becomes President, could she get that number. Henshaw answered that the President can change the numbers ‘with consultation with Congress.’ So, that would mean that Donald Trump would have the same power!
We previously reported that a resettlement contractor told an audience in California that 20,000-30,000 is the Syrian target number.
At this moment Senator Cruz is doing a really good job of making the point about the high Syrian Muslim population being admitted to the US in contrast to the tiny number of Christians.
That is nothing new. Leahy has been a longtime advocate of the US Refugee Admissions Program, but what interested me was his remark that local communities needed more money to support refugees, and references Rutland.
But, wait, Rutland mayor Christopher Louras was just in upstate New Yorktelling those citizens that refugees revitalize and bring economic prosperity where they are resettled. Which is it?
Or, is it possible that the only economic benefits a town or city will see is the federal welfare dollars that would come in to the community with the refugees?
Here is the news about Leahy at Vermont Digger:
RUTLAND — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is calling on the United States to strengthen its commitment to refugee resettlement on the eve of a congressional hearing on the Obama administration’s pledge to take in 110,000 refugees next year, an increase of 25,000 from fiscal 2016.
At the same time Leahy said additional resources need to be allocated to communities that receive refugees. His remarks come as the State Department weighs whether Syrian refugees will be placed in Rutland.
“As we have seen in Vermont for decades,” Leahy said in a statement Tuesday, “refugees can enrich and revitalize our cities and towns, but they also need our help, especially at first.”
When you get discouraged about how this program is so entrenched and impervious to reform, take note of what Human Rights Watch’s honcho says here. Things are changing!
Bill Frelick, director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, called the recent backlash against refugee resettlement unprecedented. Frelick, who has worked in the field for more than 30 years, said that historically refugee resettlement has been an issue on which both political parties have agreed. That came to an end in November after the terrorist attacks in Paris, when more than 30 U.S. governors signed a letter saying their states would not admit Syrian refugees.
We have told you about the ‘Refugee Congress’ in past years (here the 2014 lobby campaign was run by the Lutherans). This is the time in September when the refugee contractors help to bring in refugees from all over the country to lobby Congress. It is always at this time of year because it is now, just before the new fiscal year begins that Congress (having not completed its budget work during the year) is in a crunch to get it done so they can go home. The lobbyists for the resettlement industry are not stupid (and they have a lot of money) and they know that bringing some very presentable refugees to DC now is a good move on their part. You know tug on the heartstrings, blah, blah, blah.
This year we see that the Refugee Congress is being funded largely by a new non-profit—USA for UNHCR—which is getting much of its funding from businesses who benefit from cheap migrant labor.
One of those (and proud of it) is Hamdi Ulukaya CEO of Chobani Yogurt. You know, that is the company that has caused social turmoil in Twin Falls, Idaho*** as it brings in, with the help of the US State Department and the refugee contractor USCRI, hundreds of refugee workers for its huge plant there (Chamber of Commerce loves this plant!).
I continue to wonder if any of the humanitarian do-gooders working with refugees ever think about how the refugees supply labor that keeps wages low for the benefit international corporate giants? Here is the Refugee Congress website (refugees were in DC for the last couple of days and are visiting their representatives today, looking for more money for the refugee contractors).
And, now go to the 2015 annual reportfor USA for UNHCR and see their corporate sponsors including their star of the year—Hamdi Ulukaya:
Some readers have asked recently what other companies are in on the refugee advocacy bandwagon, go here, to see a larger list (but certainly not a complete list).
***See our complete archive on Twin Falls, Idaho here.
If you live in New York’s North Country, beware, because the great minds at the Adirondack North Country Associationhave invited Mayor Christopher Louras down from Rutland to tell them all about how to best get some refugees for themselves (for your towns!).
I’m sure the folks in Rutland will be tickled to see what their mayor says about them when he leaves home. “…ignorant by design!”
KEESEVILLE — The outcry over Syrian refugees has shaped much of Rutland’s discourse this summer.
The dispute over whether to accept 100 asylum seekers has cleaved the city, pitting Mayor Chris Louras against constituents, city aldermen and other elected officials.
As the five-term mayor waits for the Department of State to sign off on the expansion of the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program into his city — a roadblock thrown up by peeved aldermen — Louras ventured to New York last week, where he briefed local leaders on his push to make the state’s third-largest city a host for escapees of the war-torn nation.
A decision may come as soon as 10 days, he said, with the first family arriving as early as December.
Bringing refugees into the city, he said, goes hand-in-hand with urban revitalization efforts.
Their entry, Louras believes, would breathe new life into an ailing city.
But the road to get here wasn’t easy. The mayor has come under fire for a perceived lack of transparency. Earlier this summer, city aldermen asked the department of state to examine the issue. A former political opponent also circulated a petition, which was nixed, asking the issue be brought to a vote.
Louras admitted he could have been more open.
“I keep trying to go back to the human element,” he said. [So is he saying secrecy and lying are o.k. if one is moved by one’s emotions to save the world’s downtrodden and in this case Syrian Sunni Muslims—ed]
The crowd at the Adirondack North Country Association’s annual meeting, the daylong workshop that acts as somewhat of an experimental laboratory for regional leaders to tinker with economic solutions to rural problems, was perhaps more receptive.
Louras joined other officials in Keeseville last week to share his experiences — and to offer advice for other communities exploring similar efforts.
When resettlement agencies zero in on a possible relocation site, they look at three main areas, Louras said:
Safe and sanitary housing, the availability of entry-level jobs and the English-language learning opportunities necessary to build skills.
Rutland, a city of about 16,500, has all three, the mayor said.
“We’ve got a workplace problem,” Louras said, “not a jobs problem. Our employers are looking for employees.”
There it is readers, once again, they hide under the humanitarian white hat, but it is all about labor (I’m guessing the Rutland Chamber of Commerce backs Louras?). Beware residents of the North Country, you could be the next resettlement site:
Discussions on accepting refugees have percolated this year in the North Country, and a number of organizations have been formed to explore the feasibility of the concept, including several in Essex County.
Then you can’t make this up, we have an immigration lawyer, Anas Saleh, a Syracuse-based lawyer who works directly with asylum seekers, telling us that refugees pay more taxes than they get out of the system in the form of welfare. Be sure to see this postfrom last year where we told you that a study by the Center for Immigration Studies tells us that each Middle Eastern refugee costs the US taxpayer over $64,000 per refugee over the first five years in the U.S. The Sun continues:
Saleh said refugees don’t pluck jobs from Americans.
Contrary to public belief, immigrants actually pay into social welfare programs more than they receive, he said. [He is flat-out lying!—ed]
Louras then tells the gathering that he doesn’t want to get into politics, but proceeds to call other elected officials and citizens opposing him in Rutland “ignorant by design.”
While Louras said he wanted to avoid politics during the roundtable discussions, he admitted to taking hits and incurring damage from a “small-but-vocal” group of opponents on his home turf.
Expect the national negative discourse to be replicated at the local level, he said.
Could he have facilitated the discussions more transparently?
Sure, he admitted.
But some people are ignorant “by design,” he said, and would have sabotaged the process — including the city’s treasurer, who the mayor said circulated misleading information about the impact of asylum seekers on property values.
“She’s helping create that fake narrative,” Louras said.
The mayor, a Republican, said his greatest frustration surrounding the debate was what he referred to as a “dearth of empirical analysis” among refugee populations. [We have some analysis, impact on taxpayers is $64,370 per Middle Eastern refugee over first five years in US. Middle Easterners use welfare at a higher rate then some from other regions of the world—-ed]
“Those numbers are validated through academia, but there’s not a lot of studies,” he said.
While his decision to make Rutland a beacon for Syrians stemmed from a discussion with Gov. Peter Shumlin following last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris — Louras said he was further miffed by a letter sent by 30 governors barring refugees from their states — he warned attendees that their efforts shouldn’t lean on the government, but rather a constellation of nonprofit agencies.
Grassroots efforts like Rutland Welcomes, the mayor said, were critical in laying down early infrastructure, creating “action-driven” plans that explored everything from transportation to language learning.
I urge all of you to visit The Sunarticle, especially all of you Vermonters and Upstate New Yorkers, it is really full of enlightening information that I couldn’t possibly analyze if I worked on this post all day. They use the really refugee-overloaded/stressed cities of Syracuse and Utica as model cities even! Sheesh!