“We are disheartened by the policies of the current administration.”
(Tsehaye Teferra, president and CEO of the Ethiopian Community Development Council)
The legacy media is filled these days with stories about how refugees are having a tough time in America coping with the Chinese Virus—so commonsense would dictate that we don’t bring anymore until Americans are back on their feet. Right!
What interested me in this news from Arlington, VA isn’t so much about how refugees are coping, but that it features the Ethiopian Community Development Council one of the nine major refugee contractors operating in America.
I’ve been writing this blog for 13 years, and they have hardly made a blip on my radar screen because they seem to have chosen to keep a low profile. I haven’t seen them out protesting Donald Trump, filing lawsuits against him or otherwise whining to the media about how they have to fire staff and close offices until now.
The ‘Our man in Arlington’ column by Charlie Clark (whoever he is) at the Falls Church News Press featured ECDC yesterday in a column about how (you guessed it) refugees are coping with the COVID lockdown.
The Supreme Court on June 25 okayed the Trump administration’s policy of limiting the number of asylum seekers in the country by denying them court appeal rights.
That decision came just days after the worldwide marking of the United Nations-sponsored World Refugee Day, June 20. And it comes after President Trump spent the past three years aiming to reduce total refugee levels to zero.
Most likely to feel the impact locally is the Arlington-based Ethiopian Community Development Council Inc., the refugee-support and State Department-authorized transition agency with offices just off Columbia Pike.
I was alerted that this sub-sector of Arlington’s diverse population is among those hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdown. So I logged on last week to several Zoom conversations with the nonprofit’s far-flung constituents.
Today’s immigration landscape is a far cry from the 1970s when Arlingtonians (mostly) opened our doors to refugees from the Vietnam War. And the current push to restrict America’s benefits to those born here distances us from our classic international role as a beacon for victims legitimately escaping violence and tyranny.
A rare public comment about our President by Tsehaye Teferra, president and CEO of the “donation-supported council”:
“The current policy of the Trump administration with regard to refugees represents a departure from the foundational ideals that established this country as a place of refuge for those that are in need of protection and safety,” said the statement from Tsehaye Teferra, president and CEO of the donation-supported council. “We are disheartened by the policies of the current administration.”
Teferra founded the counsel in 1983, focusing at first on Ethiopians in the Washington area, but eventually expanding to all refugee groups for help in resettlement, languages, employment and education.
I take issue with the columnist’s characterization of ECDC being a donation-supported council unless you consider tax payer funding as a ‘donation.’
So, I did what I normally do under these circumstances and headed to Guidestar to have a look at their most recent Form 990. Gee, what a surprise! ECDC is almost completely federally funded and Dr. Teferra pulls down a comfy salary thanks to US taxpayers and Donald Trump.