Where were you WV Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Republican Rep. Alex Mooney? Only two choices!—either asleep-at-the-switch or in support of this move by a local ‘interfaith’ group to be named a federal subcontracting agency for the purpose of beginning a new refugee resettlement site in the state. (Charleston previously received a few refugees through Catholic Charities, but no where near this scale).
If Capito and Mooney had put up significant opposition, we would have heard about it and this decision might have turned out differently.
Does Obama think he can stick it to West Virginia (Trump territory) voters in his final weeks in office? And, where is Joe [Manchin]? He must be all for it too!
Just this morning we reported that in Wisconsin, Republican Rep. Sean Duffy sent a strongly worded letter about plans to begin placing Syrians in his district and here a few days ago we learned that the plan for Bloomington, Indiana was shelved because opposition had grown there and because it is expected that Trump will make some move after January 20th to slow (or stop) the flow of refugees to America (money for resettlement is drying up as well).
So why go ahead with this new site at the West Virginia state capitol?
For new readers we have followed the growing controversy in Charleston extensively for months, see here.
From the West Virginia Gazette-Mail (emphasis is mine):
The U.S. Department of State has approved an application to establish a refugee resettlement program in Charleston, officials announced Wednesday. But that decision could be reversed by the incoming administration, according to an expert on refugee resettlement law.
The West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry, which also is the name local organizers have been informally using to describe their humanitarian effort, will begin as a program of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, director at Episcopal Migration Ministries, announced that the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry had been approved to join its network of 30 refugee resettlement sites throughout the country.
In October, they submitted an application for a resettlement agency to place 100 refugees in Charleston in the first year.
David Ramkey, chief financial officer for the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia, said the refugees should be a “welcome addition” and “very productive part” of the community.
Neil Grungras, executive director of the nonprofit Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, said the Donald Trump administration could reverse the decision.
“The State Department is never obligated to allow even an approved refugee into the U.S.,” Grungras said. “The answer, with regard to the 100 approved, is that it probably depends where they are in their processing. [I will bet a buck that the Obama Administration is packing as many as they can into that pipeline right now!—ed]
Lynn Clarke, a local organizer, said the group had been told that, if they were approved, the refugees would likely begin arriving this summer. She said the group anticipates refugees fleeing from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, but she said they also could be from other countries. –
As I said in a previous post, I don’t know why this ‘interfaith’ group was so hot for Syrian Muslims (apparently Iraqis and Afghans too), they usually don’t get to pick their favorite ethnic groups, but actually get a little bit of everything.