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!

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 101 in Seven Minutes!

Here it is!—a great summary of the US Refugee Admissions Program and where it has gone wrong according to Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in an interview at Blaze TV.  H/t Kevin

I get pretty deep in the weeds here at RRW, so this is excellent to send to everyone—especially newbies—who want a quick overview of the program’s failings!

Federal Judge Gives Warm Reception to Refugee Contractors and their Bid to Stop Trump Refugee Reform

LOL! Don’t miss “notable rulings” by Clinton-appointed Judge Peter Jo Messitte at wikipedia. He banned use of words “Redskins” from his court in 2014. I think you can see how the POLITICAL winds are blowing! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Jo_Messitte

Of course I wasn’t there and you can never completely believe the media spin by major news outlets like the Associated Press, but past experience informs us that, yes, the federal judge hearing the refugee contractors’ case is sympathetic to the three federal refugee contractors and not the Trump Administration.

In fact, he asked the contractors’ attorney if this was a political move by the President.

Did he ask the complainers if they were operating with political motives?  I bet not!

Why isn’t he simply looking at the LAW?

(By the way, be sure to see Michelle Malkin’s excellent piece on the President vs. the contractors yesterday to see the long list of the Open Borders activists expected to be in attendance for the political press conference the contractors held after the hearing.)

Here is the AP story about the case I told you about on Tuesday:

Judge weighs bid to stop Trump’s refugee resettlement limit

But of course this isn’t political for the contractors (ha!) as they held a press conference outside the court house after the hearing. Looks like they had a small crowd.

 

GREENBELT, Md. — A federal judge on Wednesday pressed a government lawyer to explain why President Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing state and local governments to reject refugees, questioning whether the change was politically motivated.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte in Maryland didn’t immediately rule on a request by three national refugee resettlement agencies for a preliminary injunction stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the order.

During a hearing on the request, the judge said the president’s order essentially changed a federal law governing the resettlement of refugees.

“On what authority is the president acting?” Messitte asked Justice Department attorney Bradley Humphreys.

Humphreys said the 1980 Refugee Act gives the president “ample authority” to make such a change.

“Why change it now?” Messitte asked. “Is it purely a political thing?”

Humphreys said the executive order is designed to enhance the involvement of state and local officials in the process of resettling refugees. But he insisted it doesn’t give them a “veto” over resettlement decisions.

The Trump administration announced in November that resettlement agencies must get written consent from state and local officials in any jurisdiction where they want to help resettle refugees beyond June 2020.

[….]

And, the contractors are not political? Here Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS, helped organize an anti-Trump rally along with then MN Rep. Keith Ellison less than a month after the President was inaugurated in 2017. Did the Judge ask HIAS about any political motivations? https://refugeeresettlementwatch.org/2017/02/14/breitbart-federally-funded-refugee-resettlement-contractor-hias-organized-ny-rally-against-trump/“

Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and HIAS — a Jewish nonprofit — filed the lawsuit in Greenbelt, Maryland, on Nov. 21. They are three of the nine national organizations*** agencies that have agreements with the federal government to provide housing and other services for refugees. [Notice AP won’t say that there is federal money involved for the contractors.—ed]

They have been providing these resettlement services for decades,” plaintiffs’ attorney Justin Cox said. [Makes it sound like it’s all being done with their private ‘religious’ charity.—ed]

At least 41 states have publicly agreed to accept refugees, but a governor’s decision doesn’t preclude local officials from refusing to give their consent.

For instance, the Democratic mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, has refused to give written consent for refugees to be resettled in the city. [This especially grates on Hetfield because the subcontractor being shut out in Springfield is one of HIAS’s subcontractors.—ed]

HIAS President Mark Hetfield called it “unacceptable and un-American” that refugees could be banned from living in cities or even entire states. He said the executive order doesn’t explain how the secretary of state could override a governor or county official’s refusal to give consent.

“It’s even worse than a veto,” Hetfield said. “It’s very clear that we can’t even submit for a place unless we think that they’re going to consent.”

LOL! He says they can’t “submit for a place!”

That is code for ‘we can’t put our applications into the US State Department for our MONEY’—the money that flowed to them by the millions for decades from your (taxpayer) wallets to their salaries, overhead, travel and so forth.

More here.

 

***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 plan to say this once a day from now on!)

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.

 

Tomorrow Three Refugee Contractors Will be in Federal Court to Try to Kill Trump’s First Effort to Reform Refugee Program

We have reported on the case several times recently, but thought that the details of tomorrow’s court date in Maryland would be of interest to you.

HIAS’s Mark Hetfileld (left) protesting the President along with Church World Service in front of the White House in 2018. https://um-insight.net/in-the-world/advocating-justice/faith-groups-sue-trump-administration-over-refugee-resettlem/

 

Three big fish representing the Refugee Industry will be available to the press following the hearing.

This whole effort by the President to solicit consents (on non-consents) of governors and county elected officials throws a monkey wrench in the works for the nine contractors*** who have for decades been able to place refugees in pretty much any place they chose to set up a subcontractor office (of course in consultation with their ideological partners in the US State Department).

They will be in court to argue that you, taxpayers and citizens of Anytown, USA, have no right to voice your concerns about their ‘religious’ work of placing impoverished third worlders throughout America. 

And, specifically that the President is blocking them “from fulfilling their faith calling and missions to ‘welcome the stranger,” says Church World Service’s Erol Kekic here.

Below is the news from something called Value Walk:

LIRS, CWS, HIAS vs Trump

 

This Wednesday [tomorrow!], on January 8, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland will hear arguments on the Trump Administration’s Executive Order allowing state and local officials to stop refugees from being resettled in their jurisdictions.

The new order was signed on September 26, 2019, and for the first time ever, requires resettlement agencies to obtain written consent from all localities and states in which they plan to resettle refugees. This could prevent refugees who have waited years from being reunited with their U.S.-based families, and communities from welcoming refugees, even if they have long-standing and successful resettlement programs.

On November 21, three faith-based resettlement agencies, HIAS, Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), filed a complaint against this new order, charging that it violates federal law and is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to restrict refugee resettlement in the United States.

WHAT:

The case being heard is:

HIAS v. Trump, brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), on behalf of HIAS, Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS).

WHEN:

Arguments: Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 10 a.m. ET

Immediately following the arguments, (approximately 12:30 p.m. ET), attorneys and plaintiffs will give statements and respond to questions outside the courthouse.

WHO:

Linda Evarts, Litigation Staff Attorney, IRAP

Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS [HIAS Federal funding from recent Form 990: $19,138,737—ed]

Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President, CWS [CWS Federal funding: $39,424,221—ed]

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO, LIRS [LIRS Federal funding: 45,316,561—ed]

WHERE:

United States District Court

District of Maryland

6500 Cherrywood Lane

Greenbelt, MD 20770

The case is in the same court where an Obama-judge slapped the President on the so-called travel ban, but the judge is not the same one who made that decision.

https://www.knkx.org/post/new-rulings-against-trumps-travel-ban-what-was-blocked-and-why

See the schedule here and note that the judge tomorrow is Peter Jo Messitte, a 79-year-old Clinton appointed judge.   The pious contractors are surely ‘praying’ for a quick decision with the hope that Trump’s refugee program reform can be frozen in its tracks and they can go back to business as usual—changing America by changing the people and being paid for it!

I’m sure this information was posted so they could make sure some press showed up and maybe a little gaggle of supporters holding ‘Refugees Welcome’ signs (supplied by the contractors!).

One more time—Any Republican governors who virtue-signaled and pandered to the contractors, rushing their consent, were downright dumb in my opinion.

I see that Alaska’s governor yesterday joined the bunch thumbing their noses at the President weeks before a flexible deadline—a deadline that could be moot depending on what happens with the contractors’ case tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

 

LOL! Now to my daily message for new readers….

***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 plan to say this once a day from now on!)

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.