What a difference 9 years makes!
In 2007, I started writing Refugee Resettlement Watch because my local newspaper editor wouldn’t send a reporter out to find the answers and explain to the public how it was that a Virginia-based ‘church’ group could choose our county seat in Maryland in which to place impoverished people. I assumed, and I think correctly, that most local papers back then wouldn’t discuss the program in any way other than to report on fluffy-puffy stories about refugees seeing their first snow.
See my 2007 post and the questions I thought the Hagerstown Herald Mail should answer for the public. By the way, Church World Service (setting up shop in Poughkeepsie) was the major contractor where I live too. Virginia Council of Churches was the immediate subcontractor in charge.
I thus chuckled when I saw this report at the Poughkeepsie Journal this morning. The paper is at least making some effort to educate the public. I would like to add more facts and quibble with some of it, but because of a shortage of time, here are just a couple of reporter Jordan Fenster’s points I want to mention. He lists five things your city needs to know, I have Ten Things, see here.
For new readers see our previous three posts on Poughkeepsie, here, here and here.
Plans to settle 80 refugees in Poughkeepsie have caused much discussion: Can the Church World Service Network set up shop and resettle refugees wherever it wants? Who has authority over the resettlement process?
Here are five things to know about the process of refugee resettlement:
2. Federal law requires the use of outside contractors
The Refugee Act of 1980 asks the director of the ORR to cut costs whenever possible, and specifically requests the use of outside contractors.
In 2014, the ORR paid out $606,805,703 to state, resettlement and nonprofit agencies, $29,422,396 of which went to programs in New York.
The Church World Service Network is considered an effective agency by the ORR, which tracks refugees’ path to self-sufficiency. In 2014, 83 percent of the organizations refugee clients were deemed “self-sufficient,” more than any other agency contracted by the ORR.
I’m glad to see that the reporter tells readers about the enormous federal TAXPAYER outlay! The Refugee Act of 1980 set up the system of so-called public-private partnerships, but the understanding was that it would be a 50-50 deal, not a 90-10 (or worse deal where taxpayers shell out 90% of the costs, sometimes more). This last bit about self-sufficiency is bogus because a refugee can be on medicaid, food stamps and live in public housing and still be labelled “self-sufficient.”
But, the most interesting thing about #2 above is the use of the word CONTRACTOR. They were not identified (accurately!) as such much before 2007 that I know of. They are federal contractors just like Haliburton is a federal contractor.
Jumping to Poughkeepsie Journal’s point #4 where the reporter made a good choice in choosing Amarillo as an example of a ‘pocket of resistance’ to highlight. One of our posts on Amarillo is near the top of our all-time most read posts.
4. Amarillo argued for more state and local control
Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole went to the Texas state house in April to argue against what he said was an inordinately large number of refugees coming into his city, as the Amarillo Globe-News reported.
Harpole testified that his city receives about 500 refugees a year, “more refugees per 100,000 population than any city in the world.”
The problem, according to Harpole, is that he, state leaders and even federal representatives have no say in how many refugees are resettled in a specific location.
“What the Senators are talking about is why the federal government gives the state no control over this and no insight,” he said.
At this point in time, state officials may have little or no say, but it is one of the major areas of reform needed if there is going to be a refugee program going forward.
But, I don’t want readers to assume that whatever Obama (or God forbid Hillary) want with the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program will happen as if no one has any power to push back. Even Senators Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Pres. Jimmy Carter (creators of the 1980 Act) knew that there is a way to rein-in this program any time it wanted and that is for CONGRESS USE OF THE POWER OF THE PURSE!
Unfortunately, Congress has shirked its duty for decades!
See one of many of my recent posts on DEFUNDING the program in the upcoming Lame Duck session of Congress.
If Hillary is elected on Tuesday and Sean Patrick Maloney is returned to Congress, without a doubt, there will be no hope for Poughkeepsie……