“You don’t need to have a moratorium to slow the refugee resettlement program to the point where it dries up and withers on the vine.”
We get some juicy news here from a National Public Radio story from yesterday ….
First reporter Deborah Amos tells us that the State Department has said there will be no more refugees arriving in the US after March 3. Is that because they expect to hit the 50,000 ceiling by then? Not likely unless they plan to haul them in at 1000 a day! (We were just short of 35,000 as of this morning.) So it is unclear if this is a hard and fast date.
The resettlement contractors “shared” the official guidance they received with reporter Amos:
More than 2,000 refugees, already vetted and approved for travel, have arrived since the ruling was handed down on Feb. 9. But over the weekend, according to refugee advocates who shared the official guidance with NPR, the State Department alerted resettlement agencies that new arrivals will end on March 3.
[Readers this is an example of what Trump is up against. Here you have federal contractors taking “official” documents to a friendly reporter at NPR!—ed]
Could this notice of a March 3 halt on the program mean there will effectively be a moratorium of 7 months (the new fiscal year doesn’t begin until October 1)? We can only dream! I’ve argued that in order to spur Congress to action to reform the program, the refugee spigot would need to be closed for longer than the original 120-day proposal.
Here is more of what Amos is reporting:
The federal appeals court that blocked the president’s travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim nations did not directly rule out two provisions in the executive order. Refugee resettlement agencies are scrambling to figure out what they will do if those provisions survive.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges did not address perhaps the most sweeping provision in the Trump order — the deep cuts in the numbers of refugees allowed to come to the U.S. President Trump slashed the refugee quota for fiscal year 2017 by more than half, to 50,000. [This is so maddening! Just because Obama wished for 110,000 for this fiscal year doesn’t mean Trump cut our usual numbers in half. 50,000 is probably just slightly less than the average annual flow since 9/11—ed]
In addition, the court did not rule on a provision that would make it easier for states and cities to veto refugee placements.
“You don’t need to have a moratorium to slow the refugee resettlement program to the point where it dries up and withers on the vine,” says Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch’s refugee program.
Let the wailing begin!
I’m too weary to write more, but if you have been working on the refugee program where you live and pushing for more transparency and involvement by state and local elected officials, you must read on.
The contractors are scared to death that state and local elected officials will play a greater role in the future, thus possibly messing up their cozy relationship with the feds. You will be especially annoyed about how they say they do extensive coordination with local officials. Yes, friendly ones!
For decades, the refugee resettlement program has been a partnership between the State Department and nine private, voluntary agencies; all but two are faith-based groups. Together, they form a nationwide bureaucracy for resettlement.
I’m going to have to remember that!—a “nationwide bureaucracy for resettlement.”
Actually three of the nine contractors are secular organizations while six are faux religious charities. True religious charities would be sacrificing their own private money to help the stranger, not reaching in to taxpayers’ wallets.