There are some stories floating around that CEOs of some of America’s largest corporations are taking pay cuts to help keep more of their lower level workers on the job as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Here is one from Forbes published two days ago.
At the same time we are learning that the refugee agencies continue to be shuttered (staff reduced) and refugees are struggling. See refugees struggling inBowling Green, KY and in Durham, NC.
So this morning I am wondering if ‘moneybags’ Miliband and other CEO’s of leading ‘charitable’ refugee agencies were giving up large salaries to help especially the refugees they have been dropping off across America for decades. And, to save some of their low level employees from getting the budget ax.
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!
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.
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.
This story is no surprise and I expect there will be many more like it in the coming days and weeks.
Refugees work at menial labor—cleaning hotel and dorm rooms, working in restaurant kitchens, etc. all no longer essential services—and they are increasingly unemployed (however $$$ is on the way from the feds).
I guess we can say it sure is a good thing that the Trump administration cut the flow of refugees to America starting last October or we would have even more unhappy, struggling people as those described here.
Refugees in Orange County struggle to make ends meet amid COVID-19 economic hardships
Coronavirus has forced many families to alter their ways of life. Although COVID-19 has impacted almost every Orange County resident, a group that has been especially devastated is the local refugee community.
Refugees can already be a vulnerable population without something like the coronavirus, said Flicka Bateman, director of the Refugee Support Center, a volunteer-based organization that helps transition refugees in Orange County to their new lives.
“I know people who’ve been here less than three weeks, I can’t imagine what in the world for them it must be like,” she said. “They’re totally uprooted, they’ve left situations that were full of violence and uncertainty, and then they come here and instead of being able to learn English and get all these services, suddenly they’re told to stay where they are and people will do the best they can remotely. It’s just very tough.”
Orange County has about 1,200 refugees, primarily from Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria. [It would be many more if Trump had not cut the flow this year—ed]. Bateman said a lot of refugees in the area have lost their jobs or seen reduced hours, especially those who work in restaurants or hotels, or in food service and housekeeping at UNC, where dorms have been closed and dining services have been severely reduced.
Adam Clark, office director of World Relief Durham, a refugee resettlement agency based in Durham that serves refugees across the Triangle area, said programs that help refugees with employment have seen a spike in applications due to a greater amount of people needing sudden job assistance.
He said they’ve seen about 20-30 unemployment applications among refugees just in the last week, and a long list of people are already waiting.
“There are a lot of refugees worried about their rent, obviously the same things that are affecting everyone,” he said. “But I think it just affects them even more because of the sectors they work in.”
Hannah Olmstead, a junior at UNC who is a part-time caseworker at World Relief Durham, said as local school districts transition to online instruction, many refugee parents don’t have the English ability or understanding of American education to homeschool their children.
Kentucky is in the top ten refugee resettlement states in the nation, but between the President’s reduction in the number of refugees that can be admitted and the present suspension of the refugee program due to the Coronavirus crisis, the resettlement agency in Bowling Green, International Center of Kentucky, is not seeing many new arrivals and is now trying to educate their ‘clients’ about the virus and help many with their unemployment problems.
Before I get to the story, I hope all of you are well. I don’t know about you but even with more time, I’m not being as productive blogging here and at ‘Frauds and Crooks’these days as I should be. But, one good thing is that there is more time to communicate with family and with friends, especially elderly friends, in my community.
Pandemic disrupts refugee resettlement by International Center
Before the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, Bowling Green’s refugee resettlement agency planned to welcome 400 arrivals this year.
Now, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide, those plans have been thrown into chaos. International Center of Kentucky Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said Thursday that he expects the center will resettle less than half of the refugees it did last year.
“They will be barely trickling in,” Mbanfu said, speaking to a group of community representatives who assist with resettlement efforts.
Now, Bowling Green’s International Center has largely pivoted to assisting refugees who’ve been laid off work and informing the local community what steps they need to take to protect themselves from COVID-19, the respiratory disease that coronavirus causes.
Through social media and on its website, Mbanfu said, the center has been sharing videos in various languages like Swahili and Arabic to help inform Bowling Green’s refugee community about the virus and its effects.
Leyda Becker, Bowling Green’s international communities liaison, said the city also has resources in multiple languages online at bgky.org/ coronavirus.
Local refugees have also been impacted by business closures spurred by the pandemic. Mbanfu said Trace Die Cast, a top employer for local refugees, has laid off “almost all of our clients.” The employer is filing for unemployment insurance on their behalf, Mbanfu said.
I wonder why a company that makes automotive parts is laying off so many workers?
Mitch McConnell: money is on the way!
A representative from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office said during the meeting that a $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate and headed for House approval on Friday will offer some relief.
Unless you have escaped to your bunkers, you know that the Senate passed the COVID-19 stimulus funding yesterday. Here at USA Today:
Senate passes historic $2 trillion stimulus package to curb effects of coronavirus
WASHINGTON – The Senate approved its largest emergency aid package in modern history that will offer $2 trillion to help Americans, hospitals and businesses weather the effects of the coronavirus. The vote late Wednesday night was 96-0.
The bill will now go to the House for approval before it’s sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.
House Majority Leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced that the House will vote on the $2 trillion bill Friday, and that they will convene at 9 a.m.
“We expect the bill to pass by voice vote,” he said.
You have been hearing reports, like this one atBreitbart and hereat RRW (refugee contractors lobby for $$$) a couple of days ago that the package includes money for the Migration and Refugee Assistanceaccount that is the pot of money we use either overseas for refugee assistance or to resettle refugees in American towns and cities.
Here is a recent description of MRA from a Leftwing Open Borders advocacy group. They lobby for over $3 Billion annually for the fund.
Now see that the Senate bill includes an additional $350 Million that will end up in the hands of the refugee contractors***, especially those working elsewhere in the world, like HIAS.
The UN has temporarily stopped the placement of refugees, but the US State Department expects to resume resettlement here after April 6. Normalcy by Palm Sunday? I doubt it.
*** For new readers these (below) are the nine federally-funded refugee contractors that operate as a huge conveyor belt monopolizing all refugee placement and choosing which lucky towns and cities will be ‘welcoming’ refugees.
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.