As I said here, the swamp is not going to be drained anytime soon, so my best advice to all of you concerned about the economic and cultural disruption in your communities fostered by the US State Department and its contractors choosing your town/city as a resettlement site (and the lack of transparency by federal government contractors in the process) must renew your efforts at the state and local level.
Here we have an excellent example of citizen action to get their local mayor and council to pay attention to their concerns. The citizens are asking for a moratorium on resettlement until their questions and concerns are addressed.
Watch the council meeting here. Begin at 13:45 to hear private citizens and then here again at 1:17:50 to hear Councilman Jeff Johnson say that he will be placing a resolution before the board at the next meeting. (Hat tip: Ron)
You too can do this!
Again, go here to play the video: http://stcloudmn.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1324
I had to laugh, check out their rule that a citizen may have 2 minutes only two times a year to address the high and mighty. And, they only take 5 commenters at each meeting.
You can learn more about the St. Cloud council at their website, here. They said at the meeting that they accept letters and e-mail commentary.
Let me be clear, there is nothing in refugee law now to address the issue of a city having any power to halt resettlement to their city. However, the State Department has repeatedly said they will not place refugees in communities that don’t want them. So, if the council were to ask the federal government for a moratorium, it would (should!) carry significant weight!
But, if the council turns down a resolution for a moratorium, it becomes a very important educational opportunity for the community. If council members votes are recorded, the political stance (in support of, or opposition to, more resettlement and continued secrecy) of each council member becomes clear to the whole city.
Again, see my post here. Some of you in St. Cloud might decide to run for mayor or council based on what happens next. Even if you don’t win, the exercise will educate even more voting citizens.
Please visit my post yesterday where I told you about the ‘stakeholder meetings (quarterly consultations)’ held without the public, and the R & P Abstracts that are kept secret from the public.
You should be demanding that your mayor and council members (or whatever local govt. format you have) attend those meetings and receive the planning documents before they go to Washington and make an opportunity available for the public to comment on the plans before they are submitted to Washington each year!
Just fyi, I have been to St. Cloud twice in recent years. You can see my whole archive on the controversy there by clicking here.
I think RRW’s first mention of St. Cloud was by Judy in 2008 when she wrote about Somali students harassing a fellow student’s service dog, here.
Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota is the primary contractor in St. Cloud responsible for placing large numbers of Somalis there.
This post is filed also in my category entitled ‘What you can do.‘
Because frankly the Washington swamp is alive and well! Some important swamp creatures are the Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbyists looking for more customers and cheap labor! Do not be fooled! Refugee resettlement is not, first and foremost, driven by humanitarian zeal!