Update November 22nd: Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart investigated and found more details. In an update to his earlier article, he reports that the US State Department claims they did not organize or participate in the conference call, see here.
They are worried. And, as my good friend Richard (Blue Ridge Forum) would say, it has a lot to do with rice bowls. What? you ask! Have you ever heard the phrase ‘breaking rice bowls?’ It happens a lot when a new administration comes in to power and a lot of people have their livelihoods placed on the line perhaps for the first time ever!
In a story ostensibly about what is going to happen to the new resettlement site of Northampton, Massachusetts, the head of the local Catholic Charities tells us a good bit about what went on when 452 worried refugee resettlement workers got on a conference call with presumably leaders of the two main federal agencies that administer the program and dole out the federal bucks in Washington.
BTW, as we have mentioned previously, both the Asst. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration and the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (as political appointees) will soon be on their way out.
Here is Masslive.com:
NORTHAMPTON — Asked if she thought a city refugee resettlement program would be subject to change under President-elect Donald Trump, Catholic Charities Executive Director Kathryn Buckley-Brawner pulled no punches.
“Of course it is,” Buckley-Brawner said. “Because Trump will be president. It’s less a question about ‘is’ as opposed to ‘will.'”
Buckley-Brawner participated in a 452-person nationwide “post-election national refugee advocacy” conference call Friday headed up by people in government. [Advocacy on the taxpayers’ dime!—ed]
The call leaders said “don’t overreact,” prepare to advocate and argue in favor of refugee resettlement programs and hold steady until something changes, Buckley-Brawner said.
But feelings of uncertainty permeated the discussion, according to Buckley-Brawner.
“People whose job it is to have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in our government don’t have a clue,” Buckley-Brawner said in a MassLive interview following the call. “If they don’t have a clue, the rest of us are in the same position.”
Members of the call seemed to think the most likely way a Trump administration might impact U.S. resettlement efforts would be by blocking refugees from certain places — like Iraq and Syria. [LOL! If Trump asks me, I’ll say Somalia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Burma (Rohingya) need to be on the list too!—ed]
Trump told CNBC on Monday he felt more against allowing Syrian refugees into the country than ever, calling the prospect “one of the great Trojan horses.”
Several different scenarios were discussed during Friday’s conference call, Buckley-Brawner said.
Among these, a complete shut-down of funding for refugee resettlement — thought very unlikely. A tightening of vetting procedures and slow-down of refugee intake — thought very possible. Finally, a dramatic decrease in refugee intake across the board.
“We’re simply going to keep on doing what we’re doing until somebody says ‘stop,'” Buckley-Brawner said.
Continue reading here about the elected libs in Northampton and their enthusiasm for taking Syrian Muslim refugees.
Be sure to visit our archive on Springfield, Mass. where the mayor called for a MORATORIUM and begged for relief from Buckley-Brawner’s resettlement of refugees there for years.
Northhampton is fresh territory and I will bet that although it is only 20 miles north of Springfield, the folks in Northampton likely have no clue about all the problems Springfield has had (unless they have been reading RRW for years!).
Endnote: My apologies to the good citizens of Northampton! I have been spelling the name of your town wrong for months! Sheesh, just found that I had spelled it wrong above!
Schwartz, the Humphrey School dean, said the 110,000 national number for the year is a ceiling, not a legal obligation binding the new government.
Actually I don’t think they will have to worry about taking their share of the huge number Obama proposed for FY2017—110,000—because Trump will surely reduce that number one way or another.
For our readers in Minnesota this is a very useful article with lots of details about the contractors and the cities in which they are placing refugees. Seems one big limiting factor is affordable housing! I sure hope one of the Trump Admins first actions will be to kill Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering FAIR Housing initiative!
Here is the latest from Minnesota at the Star Tribune (emphasis is mine):
Minnesota, one of the nation’s busiest resettlement destinations, is aiming to keep its refugee arrivals steady in 2017.
Faced with a housing shortage and other constraints, the state is forgoing a larger role in an almost 30 percent national increase the Obama administration announced earlier this fall.
Now, that Obama goal and the nation’s longer-term approach are in question as a Donald Trump administration prepares to take over. On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to pause resettlement from “terror-prone regions” and took aim at Somali refugees in Minnesota. But he has not addressed the overall number of refugees the country resettles each year.
“There is complete and total uncertainty,” said Eric Schwartz, dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a former federal official who oversaw refugee admissions in the Obama administration.
In the fiscal year that ended in September, Minnesota took in 2,630 refugees, a 15 percent increase over previous year.
Kristina Hammell of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Winona says her agency is running into housing shortages in the Rochester area as well.
“If we can’t find affordable housing, we aren’t doing refugees any great favors,” she said.
Schwartz, the Humphrey School dean, said the 110,000 national number for the year is a ceiling, not a legal obligation binding the new government. Although Trump has criticized resettlement from countries including Syria and Somalia, he has not discussed the United States’ role in addressing the global migrant crisis.
Presumably, the administration could block resettlement from some regions and shift admissions to others, but that would be a significant logistical challenge, Schwartz said.
This last is wishful thinking I believe. Since the contractors are paid by the head and their salaries, office rent etc. depend on your tax dollars, I think they are hoping if Trump suspends resettlement from say Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and so forth that he will make it up with numbers from non-Muslim countries. I doubt it.
It is best to pause the whole program on January 21st and then “find out what is going on!” (As Trump frequently intoned on the campaign trail!)
Editor:Last week one of the nine major federal resettlement contractors responsible for placing refugees in your towns and cities held a post-election webinar to discuss the future of refugee resettlement in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory on November 8th.
World Relief and its fellow contracting agencieshave been calling the shots all these years with virtually no Congressional oversight and definitely no assessment of the Refugee program’s value within any previous administration—Democrat or Republican. All of that could change after January 21, 2017, and they are worried!
For my recent post on World Relief’s financials, click here.
Below is a comment from a former VOLAG (contracting agency) employee who listened in on the webinar and had this to say (subheadings and highlighting are mine):
GUEST COMMENTS ON WORLD RELIEF’S NOVEMBER 18, 2016, 3PM (EST) WEBINAR ENTITLED, “LEADING YOUR CHURCH THROUGH THE POST-ELECTION ENVIRONMENT”
World Relief issued an invitation on a World Relief Facebook page to join the Webinar. As an evangelical Christian and a former employee of a federal and state funded refugee resettlement agency, I want to share some of the notes I took while listening.
Please read on so you will understand their viewpoint so you can better dialogue with them and others. I’ve tried to be accurate in using quotation marks so as not to misrepresent or misquote anything said on the webinar. Keep in mind that World Relief is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Emily Gray, World Relief Senior Vice President of US Ministries for World Relief addressed Church leaders and others who registered for the webinar on how to “navigate a new environment post-election.” Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief, in a reference to Revelation 7:9, spoke of looking forward “to a very real time when people of every tribe and tongue and nation will be gathered around the throne.” He called on Christians to demonstrate the love of Christ and admitted that many Church members are divided about the recent election results, a condition that is not new for the Church. He encouraged Church leaders to look at culture through the lens of their Christian faith.
Stetzer said that five to 10 years ago, evangelicals were committed to serving the “marginalized and the vulnerable” and he dismissed the idea that refugee resettlement is an easy way for terrorists to enter the US, due to the lengthy process refugees go through prior to resettlement. He said the refugee process is the worst way for terrorists to “sneak in” and the Church must engage these issues in the public milieu. I would refer Dr. Stetzer to those Breitbart.comarticles as well as the following from The Daily Mail, Fox News, and CNN. Again, is this fear-mongering or just accurate reporting? Stetzer said that because an “anti-refugee mentality has swept up the country and the mood of the country has shifted,” the Church must have a sense of advocacy. He mentioned that the means of refugees entering this country is different from Europe in that they “can’t walk in here.”
Trump nominees aggressively anti-refugees
He maintains that evangelical leaders largely voted for Trump in spite of his personality and as a vote against Hillary Clinton and that “most white evangelicals align with the Republican party.” He noted that most of President-elect Trump’s nominees are “aggressively anti-refugees.” He enjoined the Church to be driven by faith, not by fear and said that evangelicals have been “co-opted by fear.
James Misner, Senior Vice President at World Relief, referencing the sacraments of baptism and communion and I Corinthians 12 and Galatians 3, said the message is to “value ‘the other.’”
Does Christ want us to love those who would destroy Christians and Jews?
It seems to me that Misner is preaching love of “the other” (a biblical concept, to be sure) but using scripture to imply that evangelicals who are anti- refugee resettlement are opposed to people who are different. Granted, these scriptures do command Christians to love and embrace each other, and those different from themselves, but I do not believe they command embracing pagan, anti-Christian religions and worldviews which seek to undermine and abolish Christians and Jews! Yes, Christians are to be unified, but not unified with anti-Christian ideologies (which the refugee resettlement industry is spreading throughout this nation).
Job of the church to resettle refugees, not the government! (Huh!)
Strangely, Misner said, “We should not outsource welcoming the stranger and serving the vulnerable to the government.” Isn’t that exactly what “faith based” VOLAGs such as World Relief have done? Misner never mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the government grants to WORLD RELIEF and other resettlement agencies to do what Misner thinks is the job of the Church! Misner quoted Tim Keller, “Unless you believe the gospel everything you do will be driven by pride and fear.” What a patronizing and condescending use of Keller’s quote! Many, many Christians definitely believe the gospel and are driven by faith, logic, and sound reason and not by pride or fear, particularly in regard to the fiscally unsustainable, fraud fraught, and dangerous refugee resettlement program. They are driven by common sense and compassion for a nation and its citizens, present and future!
Emily Gray shared some concerns about that the new government administration would mean for refugees. She said a concern of already resettled refugees is that refugees who are separated from their family members will possibly face even longer separations if resettlement numbers are diminished but that until the new administration takes office in January, President Obama’s 110,000 presidential determination number of refugees to be resettled continues.
Another issue she addressed is DACA, which, because it is a 2012 presidential executive order and not a law, it can be changed by the incoming President. According to Gray, 500,000 to 750,000 people receive benefits under DACA and since these benefits may be affected, they are worried!
As a former refugee resettlement worker at a VOLAG, I find it unconscionable that these speakers did not address the serious and valid concerns that evangelicals and everyone else may have about the fraud, fiscal costs to communities, and national security in regard to refugee resettlement and other forms of immigration.
As an evangelical Christian who has supported missionaries, missions, and befriended many, many who are “different” from me, “the other,” the speakers referred to, I find their comments judgmental, patronizing, condescending, and offensive. I fully agree that Jesus commanded His followers to love and serve all people and not to regard one as better than the other. However, He nowhere commands me to be complicit in a program that, over the long run, undermines the very freedoms we have in this nation. I am happy to send my tithes and love offerings to ministries that minister to all peoples. I am not willing to be taxed for it so the government can pay “Christian” agencies to do what the Church should do on its own. That is why I fully support a “Defund Refugee Resettlement” movement.
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