For new readers, and for seasoned activists too, we have been telling you for several years to obtain your R & P Abstracts for your city.
The R & P Abstract (Reception and Placement Abstract) is prepared by your local resettlement agencies each year in advance of the new fiscal year which begins October 1 (we are now in FY18) which outlines a kind of wishlist for the number of refugees your city has the ‘capacity’ to absorb, from where they will come, and what amenities your community has to offer.
Those amenities include housing, jobs, medical care, schools, etc.
To see examples of these important planning documents, see here about Reno, Nevada, and here about St. Cloud, MN.
The Abstract is prepared by a local non-profit group refugee office and then goes up the chain to one of nine major federal resettlement contractors*** who present them to the US State Department in order for the DOS to prepare the President’s Annual Determination and for the contractor to get its federal bucks (on a per refugee head basis).
You will find the Abstract very informative, that is, if you can get it!
Keeping the Abstracts from the public is part of the secrecy game going on with the US Refugee Admissions Program!
If you call your local resettlement office (see list here) they will either tell you that you can’t have a recent Abstract (ask for FY18) or will pretend they don’t know what you are talking about.
Now to Michigan….
After running in to the roadblocks set up by the refugee contractors, the leaders at Secure Michigan have in the past gotten their Abstracts by doing a state public information act request (like the Freedom of Information Act at the federal level).
Not this year!
Incredibly the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees a state refugee coordinator, told Secure Michigan that quote:
“We do not have the resettlement agency proposals you are requesting. We no longer receive them.”
Just think about that, the Michigan DHHS is not able to see the plans that some non-profit contractors have with the federal government to place refugees in Michigan cities.
The state is not permitted to know what nationalities are coming, where refugees will likely work, what housing opportunities are available in various cities and so forth?
And, here is the takeaway for me: If the state doesn’t have the Abstracts, they can’t be obtained by you—taxpaying citizens—through public information act requests!
The MDHHS went on to say:
“The US Department of State chart is the only data we have regarding his request”
Here are the raw (anticipated) numbers for Michigan:
I just checked Wrapsnet and so far this fiscal year, just short of two months, Michigan has received a grand total of 96 refugees. If this pace continues, Michigan would be looking at 600-800 for the year.
If you would like to try to get your FY18 R & P Abstract, go here and find which offices are operating in your city (remember they can place refugees from 50-100 miles from this office).
Call those local offices and ask for the R & P Abstract for this year, FY18. If they refuse, then call your state refugee coordinator (list here) and ask that person. If the coordinator gives you a runaround then consider doing a freedom of information request using your state’s laws (you should be able to find templates for that request on line).
Don’t forget Congress!
And, to make your elected officials earn their keep. Contact your US Congressman’s office and ask him or her to get you the FY18 R & P Abstract for whichever resettlement offices are working where you live.
To have even more fun, call your local elected officials (mayor, council, etc) and ask them if they have the plans, the R & P Abstract, for your town or city. I’ll bet they don’t and I will bet that they have no clue what you are even talking about—dereliction of duty in my opinion!
By the way, not to hammer the point too hard (but I will!), the Heritage Foundation clearly has no clue about the resettlement process and the secrecy surrounding it as there is no mention of YOUR issue (the problems impacting you where you live) in their “reform” proposal that focuses on America looking good to foreign governments!
This post is filed in my ‘What you can do’ category, here.
***These are the nine federal refugee contractors (paid by you) making plans for your towns and cities. See that Michigan has six of the nine bidding for bodies from the US State Department.
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)