When I caught this news at the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a program for lonely senior refugees, not refugees who came decades ago and grew old here, but senior citizens we admit through the US Refugee Admissions Program, it reminded me to tell you how your tax dollars are used.
First a bit of the warm and fuzzy story:
Twice a month, elders from the area’s East African community gather here for a shared halal meal and a program that can range from citizenship to weaving to winter preparedness. [I’ll bet the emphasis is on citizenship and registering to vote!—ed]
The goal is to help break the social isolation experienced by members of the older immigrant population, many of whom speak little English and stay home to care for grandchildren while younger adults in the family are at work.
About 20 people were on hand last week, including Abdi Matan, who helped organize the program through the nonprofit Horn of Africa Aid and Rehabilitation Action Network. Matan came to St. Peter six years ago after working in Somalia for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He also worked for the U.N. in refugee camps in Somalia and Kenya.
“Minnesota is the next home for Somalis,” he said with a big grin. “We have really enjoyed this program for socialization.”
Somali elders, he said, often have a hard time adjusting to their new home.
Mohamed Omar Ali, 73, was a herdsman in Somalia. He arrived in St. Peter about five years ago. [Arrived in the US at age 68, sure will be a real asset to the US workforce which is the usual excuse for the program in the first place!—ed]
Agencies paying for this program are all taxpayer-funded including of course Lutheran Social Service of MN!
Mahoney [Leah Mahoney, Minnesota Department of Health] said she believes this is the first program of its kind in rural Minnesota and hopes that other communities with East African populations will take notice. Support for the program has come from the state Health Department, as well as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the city of St. Peter and the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.
Here is more that you need to know!
First, senior citizens admitted as refugees are eligible for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) from Social Security. Read about it here.
However, in addition to individual benefits, states that welcome “elder” refugees receive help directly from the federal treasury (from you again) to help them cope with needy senior citizen refugees.
It would take a lot of time to go through the entire list of over a hundred countries from which we receive refugees to get to the total. But here are a few numbers from the Refugee Processing Center.
In the last five years we admitted 748 seniors (over 65 years old) from Bhutan, Burma 640 seniors, DR Congo 777, and Somalia 273.
Now get a load of this!
States are given federal money to help take care of refugees aged 60 and older.
Do a little math and see how much the elder refugees are costing taxpayers in just this one portion of the welfare services available to them.
From the Office of Refugee Resettlement:
FY 2020 Allocations
The FY 2020 allocations to states and replacement designees are based on the number of ORR-eligible individuals aged 60 or older who arrived and were served in FY 2018, as reported in the ORR Refugee Arrivals Data System (RADS).
The chart below documents the number of eligible individuals served in each state in FY 2018 and the corresponding funding allocations for the SOR program for FY 2020.
Here is just a bit of the chart in a screenshot. But be sure to open the chart and see the whole list! It gets worse. I wondered if this is sweetener for many states? New Hampshire 4 refugees $75,000 from the feds!
This is the kind of handout you have been supplying through your tax dollars for years and possibly decades!