New Mexico: Lutheran resettlement contractor puts brakes on new Sante Fe refugee program

With Trump win, Santa Fe’s refugee program on hold

(Albuquerque Journal headline)

Hurrah! We found another*** of the supposedly 47 sites the Obama Administration has (secretly!) approved or was working on approving for the massive numbers of refugees they expected to resettle had Hillary won the election rather than Donald Trump.
Here is the sad tale from Sante Fe (a city yearning for more diversity). After an initial heartwarming intro:

In less than a year – and largely through the efforts of Santa Fe’s faith communities – what snowballed into a group calling themselves Welcoming Santa Fe were able to get the city designated a refugee resettlement site by the U.S. State Department.

“We were elated,” Dickenson [Nancy a Sante Fe filmmaker who spear-headed the effort] said.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Santa Fe, New Mexico Mayor Javier Gonzales attends a press conference after attending New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Mayor's summit on immigration reform on December 8, 2014 in New York City. The summit focused on how cities can best utilize President Obama's executive action on immigration reform. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Sante Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales wanted more diversity for Sante Fe. He was one of 18 mayors who demanded Syrian refugees for their cities in 2015. See here:

But that was in October. Weeks later, on Nov. 8, Donald Trump won the presidential election. He campaigned on a strict immigration policy that included building a wall on the southern border to stop illegal immigration. He also proposed a temporary ban on allowing Muslims into the country, a message he repeated Wednesday in response to this week’s terrorist attack in Berlin that was allegedly perpetrated by a Tunisian asylum-seeker.

No one knows what a Trump presidency will mean for immigration policy. And that’s what caused Lutheran Family Services, an affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service – one of nine national organizations that work on behalf of the U.S. government to resettle refugees in different parts of the country – to put on hold using Santa Fe as a refugee settlement site.

One hundred refugees, including up to 20 families and 30 children mainly from Central Africa but also from the Middle East and South America, were scheduled to make Santa Fe their new home next month. The startup of a refugee resettlement program was mentioned at a recent meeting of the city Immigration Committee and notice had been issued for a fundraising concert.

Money is the main reason it is on hold!

Burnett [Tarrie Burnett, program director for Lutheran Family Services in Albuquerque] said future funding is also a major concern. Trump has talked about scaling back the nation’s admissions program for refugees, defined by the State Department as people who face persecution in their native lands.


Burnett said her office operates on a budget of about $1 million, about 75 percent of it coming from the federal government. The rest comes from various grants, pass-through funding, donations and other sources.

Much more here at the Albuquerque Journal.
Bottomline! Resettlement subcontractors like Lutheran Family Services (LIRS is the major resettlement contractor) are not going out on a limb now to open offices, pay rent, and hire staff when Donald Trump could drastically cut the number of refugees arriving beginning on January 21st.

The contractor’s initial federal funding is paid out by the number of ‘clients’ they place. It is a per head payment!

*** We can now add Sante Fe to our list!

Below are new sites we have identified so far of the supposed 47 the Obama Administration is (or has been) trying to get established.

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 by just keeping an eye on local news reports:

Asheville, NC (not decided yet)

Rutland, VT (approved, waiting)

Reno, NV (open)

Ithaca, NY

Missoula, MT (open)

Aberdeen, SD (not now)

Charleston, WV (approved, see Senator Capito as the Frau Merkel of WV!)

Fayetteville, AR

Blacksburg, VA

Pittsfield, MA

Northhampton, MA

Flint, MI

Bloomington, IN (dead for now)

Traverse City, MI

Poughkeepsie, NY

Wilmington, DE

Hudson, WI (dead for now?)

Watertown, NY (maybe)

Youngstown, OH (maybe)

Storm Lake, Iowa

Sante Fe, NM (approved but on hold)

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