Senate voted (and Obama signed) the Continuing Budget Resolution overnight, refugee program comes up short

The federal government will continue to be funded mostly at the Fiscal Year 2016 level until late April.  The budget extension had passed the House earlier in the week and the Senate voted last night to send the bill to Obama’s desk.
Many Dems were unhappy because instead of funding the government for the year—until September 30th—the whole issue will be revisited in the spring.  The election of Donald Trump was pretty much the deciding factor and this short term fix gives the Trump team time to get in place and put their funding priorities in the mix.

Elections have consequences as Congress defers to Trump’s wish to weigh in on the federal budget for a portion of FY17. Funding=policy.

You can read about the final vote here at The Hill.
For our purposes (we have been writing about the issue of funding for the Refugee program for months), the results are good news.
Last week we reported that the Obama Administration was looking for billions in additional funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement claiming that if they didn’t get their big tranche of money, ORR would go broke in February.
Well they didn’t get most of it which should make it even easier for Trump to stop or significantly slow the flow of refugees after January 20th since clearly the Congress is signalling that there is not much support for the high level of refugees that Obama wanted and surely Hillary would have enthusiastically supported had she won the election in November.
Obama’s 110,000 refugee goal for this year will now (in my opinion) be out of reach.
Here is what Numbers USA is reporting:

Fri, Dec 9th

The House overwhelmingly approved, with bipartisan support, a short-term spending bill yesterday without any significant changes to the refugee program and without expanding the H-2B guest-worker program.


The short-term spending bill would fund the government through late-April, so there will likely be another battle then. But negotiations will be with a different administration that’s more focused on eliminating fraud within the refugee program and protecting the jobs and wages of American workers.

We faced two threats with this week’s fight. First, back in September, Pres. Obama demanded an increase in funding for the refugee program to accommodate an additional 25,000 refugees over last year’s already inflated numbers. The White House more recently requested a doubling of refugee funding through the short-term spending bill. The money not only would pay for the additional refugees, but would house and resettle across the U.S. the thousands of border surgers who have illegally entered the U.S. in recent months.

Congress added a small increase in refugee funding, but none of the additional funds can be used to resettle new refugees in the United States nor can they be used by the Obama Administration to house and resettle the border surgers.

The budget battle will now resume in the spring—a battle which could be significantly less important for us if Trump acts on his campaign promise to halt refugee admissions from terror-producing countries—which is about half of the flow coming in right now.
This is strange…..
I searched around this morning to see if the VOLAGs (refugee contractors) or their lobbyists were wailing, but am not seeing anything. Delayed reaction? Maybe they had some leftover funds sloshing around? But, they have already said they don’t!
Keep me posted if you see anything.
What you might see before I do is some local news reports that say that the opening of a new resettlement site is being ‘delayed.’

This post and all posts on the budget process are tagged ‘Where is Congress.’

Mississippi Governor: Don't send us any Syrians until Washington DC 'welcomes' them

This is from Infowars (hat tip: Richard at Blue Ridge Forum).  It is a good thing for the governor that the Obama Administration is headed out the door, or they might just flex their federal muscles and send Mississippi Syrians just for spite.
Here is what Infowars says about what the Governor said on a Fox News program:

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant informed Stuart Varney that his state has not accepted any ‘Syrian refugees’ to date, and has no plans to even consider doing so until the District of Columbia takes some first.

Governor: There are no Syrians resettled in the District of Columbia. He is right.

Appearing on Thursday on Varney and Co., Governor Bryant discussed the stand he has taken against the Obama administration on behalf of his constituency.

“[We have taken] none so far, so certainly we can claim that as a win,” he said. “In November of 2015, I sent a letter to the President saying much of the same that other governors had said – that we will simply just refuse to accept Syrian refugees because we don’t think that they can be properly vetted.”


Governor Bryant also noted that nearly half of Mississippi’s 2016 non-Syrian refugee intake has been comprised of Cubans fleeing a totalitarian regime that Obama and his comrades in the mainstream media, Hollywood, and academia continue to romanticize to this day.

Bryant went on to highlight the hypocrisy of the Beltway Elite, who have appropriated massive sums of American tax dollars for their ‘refugee resettlement’ programs, importing tens of thousands of incompatible, low-skilled welfare leaches from Third World countries to small communities in the United States – despite not having accepted any ‘Syrian refugees’ themselves.

“Strangely enough – [there are] no Syrian refugees in the District of Columbia,” he observed. “So, when we see some moving to Georgetown and Pennsylvania Avenue, certainly we’ll reconsider them moving to Mississippi.

Again, it is a good thing Obama is on the way out, or they would send some to Mississippi just to show they can!

We know that neither Mississippi or the District of  Columbia get very many refugees, but I thought it would be interesting to check.  For those of you following the program closely, you know that some states are overwhelmed every year with thousands upon thousands of refugees while others get only a trickle.  I’m guessing the feds see both Mississippi and the District of Columbia as ‘unwelcoming’ for very separate reasons.
This is what I learned after having a look (at at the last ten fiscal years for each location. (Oh, and by the way, when the governor says they are getting Cubans in Mississippi that would likely be secondary migrants since I found only one Cuban actually placed through the RAP in the last ten years.)
In ten fiscal years Mississippi got 89 total refugees.  The countries from which ten or more were placed there were as follows:

Afghanistan (22)

Burma (15)

DR Congo (10)

Eritrea (15)

Iraq (13)

Six other countries were represented by less than 10 individuals. The state got 3 Somalis.
In those same ten fiscal years, the District of Columbia took in 249 refugees.   The ethnic groups admitted with ten or more were as follows:

DR Congo (12)

Eritrea (38)

Ethiopia (29)

Iraq (124)

13 other countries were represented, but in each case it was less than 10 individuals. DC got 4 Somalis.

Message to new 'welcoming' towns: get out your wallets for your school system!

Ehtesham-Cating said… she cannot foresee the government penalizing Rutland schools if they cannot provide translation services right away.

This is yet another story from Rutland, VT where citizens and elected officials have been questioning a resettlement contractor (USCRI) and the federal government for months about the details of the US State Department’s decision to send the FIRST 100 Syrians there perhaps next month!
Board of Aldermen President William Notte wanted to know about school funding if the refugee children arrive in the middle of the school year.
As we point out in our 2015 postTen things your town needs to know‘ when ‘welcoming’ refugees, the impact of the resettled refugees will be felt first in your school system’s budget.
Here is what we learned at Vermont Watchdog:

Miriam Ehtesham-Cating, the English language program director for the Burlington School District, said the focus needs to be on elementary and high school kids, in keeping with the federal government’s requirements for English language learning.

In news dated December 2nd, USCRI says it is proceeding with plans for Rutland with a wait and see attitude toward the incoming Trump Administration.

“Vermont and the federal government have a strict regulatory process for identifying English language learners, and providing language assistance,” Ehtesham-Cating said.

Ehtesham-Cating, who oversees English language instruction for 14 schools, said services for preschoolers would not likely be a priority. “It is more important for staff to receive coaching and to receive help in developing learning profiles for these children,” she said.

In addition, since schools are required to send materials home to students and parents in a language they can understand, Rutland schools will need to offer some sort of translation services.

Ehtesham-Cating said that in her opinion, she cannot foresee the government penalizing Rutland schools if they cannot provide translation services right away.


Winooski, another refugee resettlement community in Vermont, spends about $1 million dollars annually on language services. Rutland schools would have a much lower tab, said Ehtesham-Cating, since only two full-time liaisons would likely be needed to help an estimated 40 refugee school kids.

“(Language services) aren’t just a requirement, they’re good practice,” she said. “Some of these children have grown up their whole lives inside a camp. They don’t know how to even go to school. … Rutland has to decide how they are going to help these children transition.”

Continue reading here.
See our complete archive on the on-going tension in Rutland, VT by clicking here.
The federal contractor WRAPSnet previously maintained a list of a couple hundred resettlement offices, here.  As of this writing they have removed that list and so after years of being able to see where refugee offices are located that information is no longer available to you.
Rutland is one of 47 new sites the US State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement have quietly targeted as new resettlement sites.  One of the first things the Trump Administration must do is to make all of this information public information.  Here are some of the sites we have identified so far:

Asheville, NC

Rutland, VT

Reno, NV

Ithaca, NY

Missoula, MT

Aberdeen, SD (may have been thwarted as a primary resettlement site!)

Charleston, WV

Fayetteville, AR

Blacksburg, VA

Pittsfield, MA

Northhampton, MA

Flint, MI

Bloomington, IN

Traverse City, MI

Poughkeepsie, NY

Wilmington, DE

Watertown, NY (maybe)

Youngstown, OH (maybe)

Storm Lake, Iowa