Will the Supreme Court Hear the Ultimate States Rights Case?

I know it’s a little hard to believe that there are other things going on in America besides the virus crisis, but here is important news I should have mentioned sooner.

The Thomas More Law Center has filed a petition to attempt to get the Supreme Court to review the Tenth Amendment case that has been working its way through the legal system.

The heart of the case is the Tenth Amendment argument that the federal government has no Constitutional power to shift the cost of refugee resettlement onto state governments as it has been doing for decades.

TMLC is looking for other like-minded organizations to file amicus briefs in support of their argument which has far-reaching implications beyond just the refugee program!

Here is their press release from earlier this month.

Thomas More Law Center Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Review Tennessee’s Challenge to Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

ANN ARBOR, MI – In what could have far reaching implications for all states seeking to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program, the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) collaborating with attorney John Bursch, filed a certiorari petition Monday, March 16 in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Will they, or won’t they consider the Tenth Amendment case about how the feds have been dumping the costs of refugee resettlement on the states?

 

The petition asks the Court to hold that the Tennessee General Assembly has standing to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s forced state funding of the federal refugee resettlement program. ​

The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) is a national nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Both TMLC and Mr. Bursch are representing Tennessee without charge.

John Bursch, a former Michigan state solicitor general, nationally prominent appellate lawyer and past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers, authored the petition for certiorari.

The petition argues that the issues presented in the Tennessee case cut to the core of the Constitution’s protection of states against overreach by the federal government. The Constitution does not give Congress the authority to appropriate state funds, contrary to the wishes of the state, to fund a federal program.

According to the petition: “If a state legislature cannot vindicate its rights in court when the federal government picks the state’s pocket and threatens the state if it dare stop providing funds, then federalism is a dead letter.”

The petition seeks to overturn a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which ruled that the General Assembly does not have institutional standing to challenge the constitutionality of the resettlement program. The cert petition does not challenge the federal government’s right to resettle refugees in Tennessee. What it objects to is forcing Tennessee taxpayers to pay the costs of the resettlement.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of TMLC, noted: “From the beginning, opposition to the federal refugee resettlement program has been about protecting Tennessee’s state sovereignty from impermissible federal interference. The federal government cannot simply commandeer state tax dollars to fund a purely federal program to extend benefits to noncitizens.”

Tennessee initially agreed to participate in the federal resettlement program because the federal government promised to reimburse 100 percent of the cost. In fact, Congress crafted the 1980 Refugee Act specifically intending that states not be taxed for programs they did not initiate and for which they were not responsible. As is often the case, however, the federal government began shrinking its financial support to the states and by 1991 eliminated it entirely. Due to the mounting costs the federal government was not covering as promised, Tennessee withdrew from the program effective June 30, 2008. But that didn’t stop the federal financial burden on Tennessee taxpayers. The federal government simply designated Catholic Charities of Tennessee, a non-governmental private organization, to continue the program with state dollars.

Between 2007 and the end of 2019, resettlement agencies pumped more than 15,000 refugees into Tennessee cities and towns. They came from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma, Central African Republic, Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan 3 and many other countries. They often arrive from United Nations camps in poor health, with no job skills or English-language abilities.

The resulting cost to state taxpayers amounted to tens of millions of dollars. In 2015 alone, the refugee-related Medicaid costs paid by Tennessee tax dollars topped $30 million.

Instead of resolving the merits of Tennessee’s claim, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sidestepped the pivotal constitutional issue concerning federalism by ruling that the Tennessee General Assembly lacked standing to bring its lawsuit.

The petition filed on March 16, 2020, argues that this was in error:

“The General Assembly is an institutional plaintiff asserting an institutional injury; the federal government has co-opted the General Assembly’s appropriation power and impaired its obligation to enact a balanced state budget. That is because the federal government can siphon state funds—to help pay for a federal program from which Tennessee has withdrawn.”

TMLC originally filed the federal lawsuit in March 2017 on behalf of the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee General Assembly, and state legislators Terri Lynn Weaver and John Stevens challenging the commandeering of millions in state taxpayer dollars for a purely federal program.

A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case on the federal government’s motion. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal on the sole grounds that the General Assembly lacked standing. It never reached the merits of the case.

The Supreme Court now has a chance to shed light on the proper role of the states relative to the federal government—which is the bedrock constitutional principle of federalism.

The petition states: “The (Tennessee) General Assembly does not object to the federal resettlement program. It does not even object to the federal government resettling 4 refugees in Tennessee. The General Assembly does object to the federal government reaching its hand into Tennessee’s pocket to pay for the cost of such a program, particularly when the enabling legislation was enacted with the promise to reimburse states for all expenses incurred in this program.”

The federal government mandates that states provide Medicaid to otherwise eligible refugees, or face termination of federal benefits.

Accordingly, the federal government forces Tennessee to continue funding the refugee program by threatening to pull $7 billion in federal Medicaid funding, which represents 20 percent of the state’s total budget.

The argument in favor of the General Assembly’s standing is bolstered by the fact that both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in 2016 in favor of filing a civil lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program. The State Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 467, by a vote of 27-5 while the House voted 69-25 to pass the same resolution.

And without any waiting period they can automatically apply for all welfare programs provided by the State of Tennessee.

Read TMLC’s Petition for Certiorari here. 

If you know any organization that is in agreement with the broad-reaching tenets of the case, please have them contact the Thomas Moore Law Center immediately.  Time is short!

Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman Brags about Role in Creating Refugee Act 40 Years Ago

I’m posting this opinion piece by the former Democrat Representative from New York merely to continue to give ‘credit’ where credit is due to those who helped create the dysfunctional Refugee Admissions Program that turned forty last Tuesday.

Holtzman came out of the woodwork and used the occasion of the anniversary to pen yet another hit piece on the President with this, posted at CNN:

The Refugee Act reminds us to not forget our humanity — especially now

(CNN) As the global Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, it puts into sharp focus how the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies may lead to (yet another) humanitarian crisis — this time along the US-Mexico border, where thousands of asylum seekers are living in overcrowded makeshift encampments, many without running water. If there were a coronavirus outbreak in one of these encampments — which are already short on medical supplies — the results could be catastrophic.

Elizabeth Holtzman says she and Teddy Kennedy created the Refugee Program 40 years ago.

Meanwhile, the President is describing Covid-19 as a “Chinese virus” on Twitter and in news conferences, stoking xenophobia and fear — and continuing to undermine the United States’ global leadership.

It wasn’t always this way. Forty years ago this week, when Sen. Ted Kennedy and I co-authored the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States was a different country. It largely welcomed asylum seekers and refugees, and the Refugee Act reflected that humane view. In the act, our country made a permanent commitment to admitting refugees, based on the international non-discriminatory standard of fleeing persecution, and established an asylum procedure inside the United States.

The Refugee Act was not controversial. It sailed through the Senate unanimously and won overwhelming approval in the House before President Jimmy Carter signed it into law on March 17, 1980.

Apparently it was controversial because here we learn that 62% of Americans did not want to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees to America.

If Carter had a Twitter account at that time, I imagine he would have pointed to the United States’ proud tradition of welcoming the most vulnerable: the 360,000 people who fled Fidel Castro’s takeover in Cuba in the mid 1960s, the tens of thousands of Jewish refugees who fled the Soviet Union beginning in the 1970s, and the more than 400,000 refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos who arrived here by 1980.

Holtzman then describes how her family came to America as refugees escaping Communism with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (aka HIAS).

I see now how they got their inside track to the federal treasury money spigot.***

From 1980 to January 2017 — for 37 years and under six presidents — the Refugee Act worked well. More than 3 million refugees were admitted and overwhelmingly became productive participants in our country, just as my family did.  [I can play that game too! For every successful refugee I can find you one who is a criminal, terrorist, murderer or just a plain old mooch!—ed]

Yet every year since Trump took office in 2017, he has slashed the number of refugees admitted under the Refugee Act. For this year, it is 18,000, a historic low, reflecting his ongoing battle against admitting new refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers.

More here.

The US State Department has said that refugee arrivals will resume on April 6th.  How many of you think the virus crisis will be abating by then.  Show of hands!

*** For fun I went back to the first Annual Report to Congress in 1980 to see which resettlement contractors were operational (being paid by taxpayers to place refugees in your towns and cities) and found this list.

I’ve marked those that are still, 40 years later, receiving millions of your tax dollars. Six of nine have been in on the deal for those 4 decades. No wonder they are furious at the President for breaking their rice bowls.

 

 

Go here to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and see all of the Annual Reports to Congress.  They are very informative and you might have a little extra time these days for reading ‘pleasure.’

Refugee Act of 1980 is Forty Years Old Today

Sheesh, I almost forgot!

You can thank Senator Ted Kennedy, former Senator and Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden, and former President Jimmy Carter for giving us the dysfunctional US Refugee Admissions Program that turns forty today—St. Patrick’s Day (Carter’s cute nod to Teddy).

Why any self-respecting Republican thinks this program has benefited America and should continue unchanged is beyond me!

Heritage Foundation’s Refugee Expert Testifies in House

Thanks to a reader for bringing the Heritage Foundation’s testimony in the House Judiciary Committee in late February to my attention.

Information on the Hearing is here.

Heritage expert Lora Ries makes some good points about vetting and the lack of assimilation by some refugees.

Rep. Ilhan Omar went ‘home’ to Somalia in 2016 and perhaps other times as well. https://fraudscrookscriminals.com/2019/01/25/is-minnesota-rep-ilhan-omar-a-poster-child-for-refugee-fraud/

I especially liked her point about how refugees who go ‘home’ to visit the country they claimed was persecuting them should be flagged.

But, no mention of the enormous cost to taxpayers for the program or the fact that citizens have no say about whether their community will be a drop-zone for new refugees.

Watch her testimony and see also that there are some pretty good comments by viewers.

You might add yours.

 

 

See my criticism of the Heritage Foundation here in 2017 on this issue.  They were pretty squishy!

 

Editor’s note:  As RRW approaches its 13th birthday, there are over 10,000 posts archived here at Refugee Resettlement Watch. Unfortunately, it is just me here with no staff and so it has become virtually impossible to answer all of the basic questions that come into my e-mail inbox or to RRW’s facebook page every day. I don’t want to appear rude—I simply haven’t enough hours in the day.

Please take time to visit RRW (don’t just read posts in your e-mail) and use the search window in the right hand sidebar and see if you can find the information you need.  Also see my series that I wrote in recent months entitled Knowledge is Power which explains some basic principles of how Refugee Resettlement is carried out in the US.

And, lastly, I don’t write that much every day, so if you made a habit of reading my posts here on a daily basis, you would eventually catch on to what is happening because I do link back to previous posts as much as possible. LOL!  Thank you for helping me not go crazy!

Refugee Contractor Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Grows During Trump Administration

“He (CEO Hetfield) expects HIAS to spend $80 million this year, its largest budget to date.”

 

I recently showed you, here, that indeed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (one of nine federal refugee resettlement contractors***) is doing better under the Trump administration than it did previously for most of the Obama years.

Now here is news where HIAS CEO Mark Hetfield tells us why that is.

They are expanding their offices into Central and South America, and elsewhere.

So why the wailing about the Trump administration’s reduction in numbers? HIAS can certainly do its ‘religious charitable work’ elsewhere and stop pushing more migrants to America, right?

From The Jewish Standard:

Refugee crisis continues to grow, HIAS director says

When we spoke earlier this week, Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, was traveling through Central and South America, visiting some of the organization’s many offices in the region. The number of those offices continues to grow.

Hetfield (left) protesting with Church World Service against the Trump administration (and suing the Prez). https://um-insight.net/in-the-world/advocating-justice/faith-groups-sue-trump-administration-over-refugee-resettlem/

[….]

We’ve long had programs in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama for refugees from Colombia,” Mr. Hetfield said. But now, with the refugee crisis in Venezuela, the organization has had to create new centers to handle the situation. And while thousands of refugees are streaming out of Venezuela, others continue to come in.

Only one year ago, HIAS had 45 offices across the world; today it has 71.

Most are in Central and South America and Mexico. “Our office in Ecuador has 250 staff members, with 16 offices across the country,” Mr. Hetfield said. He noted that in the United States, Venezuelans comprise the number one asylum-seeking group, “but nobody seems to be noticing this crisis.”

HIAS also has offices in Africa, Israel, and the United States. “We aspire to be where there is a refugee crisis,” Mr. Hetfield said.

Here is my favorite bit of news from this story!

They don’t want to reform the US Refugee Admissions Program because they fear they would lose in a fight in Congress because they know the American people are not on their side!

Unfortunately, he noted, “All international and domestic law is basically responding to the problems of World War II. It hasn’t been updated to reflect realities. And people are afraid to revisit it because of the fear that if we reopen it, it will be contracted rather than expanded.”

More here.

See my post yesterday about a Catholic publication pushing the BIG LIE that the Refugee Act of 1980, which is 40 years old this month and needs to be repealed or reformed, was signed into law by Ronald Reagan.  It was not! Our peanut farmer President was responsible for creating the dysfunctional program that set up the taxpayer-funded money stream to these nine contractors.

***For new readers these (below) are the nine federally-funded refugee contractors that operate as a huge conveyor belt monopolizing all refugee placement in America.

A ‘religious’ message from CWS one of three federally funded contractors suing to stop the President’s effort to reform the UN-driven Refugee Admissions Program.

And, they do not limit their advocacy toward only legal immigration programs, but are heavily involved in supporting the lawlessness at our borders.

The question isn’t as much about refugees per se, but about who is running federal immigration policy now and into the future?  

I continue to argue that these nine contractors are the heart of America’s Open Borders movement and thus there can never be long-lasting reform of US immigration policy when these nine un-elected phony non-profits are paid by the taxpayers to work as community organizers pushing an open borders agenda.

Note to PayPal donors!  I want to thank all of you who send me donations for my work via PayPal. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, PayPal is making changes to their terms of service and I’ve decided to opt-out beginning on March 10, 2020.