North Dakota: Cass County Caves to Lutheran Refugee Contractor; Votes for More Refugees

But, continue reading!  There is good news too!  Wait for it!

Remember that I told you here that North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum went down the wimpy middle and said the state would take more refugees if local jurisdictions agreed.  So it looks like Cass County has given the governor his green light.

Read all about it here.

Cass County Commissioners Vote Yes to Refugee Resettlement

Unless the governor changes his mind, North Dakota taxpayers will be continuing to prop up a 4-decades-old federal program that was never supposed to be a burden on local and state taxpaying citizens.

If you are a new reader, be sure to see an important post yesterday where I explain what the Open Borders Left is doing to smash the President’s September Executive Order that gives state and local government an opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of being a refugee placement city or county.

Now to some good news!

Cass County might have caved, but the citizens of Bismarck came out in force to urge their county commission to say NO! to more refugees and the commissioners decided to postpone the decision.

Before I give you the news, know that it was 11 degrees in Bismarck last night!  Can you pull this off where you live?

So many people came out to oppose more refugees in Burleigh County that the Commissioners postponed their vote! https://www.kfyrtv.com/content/news/Full-house-at-Burleigh-Commission-meeting-Refugee-Resettlement-decision-postponed-565717621.html

From KXNET:

Decision On Refugee Consent Delayed

BISMARCK — People came from all over Monday evening in the hopes of making their voice heard to the Burleigh County Commission.

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken was in attendance.

With a heavy police presence, you could feel the tension in the air as most of the crowd was there to convince the commission to vote against giving consent to Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota for a refugee settlement.

The consent is necessary after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in September that requires state and local governments to give consent to whether they will accept refugees or not.

Some people KX News spoke with did not want that to happen.

“124 people statewide does not have an impact, however, if the 124 do a chain migration that could easily be 1,200. And in a state of 750,000 people, 1,200 is a lot,” said local resident Phillip Cohen, who’s against allowing the consent.

The problem was so many people turned up to the meeting, they couldn’t fit everyone inside, so in the interest of fairness, the commission decided to table the matter until a larger venue could be secured in the near future.

County Commission Chairman Brian Bitner

Brian Bitner is the chair of the commission and said he also has reservations about granting the consent for financial reasons.

“I haven’t seen anything in this package, anywhere, that tells me that we’re consenting to five or 50 or 500 or anything. So North Dakota is already the highest per capita state for refugee resettlement in terms of number of citizens, so in the absence of any sort of number, there’s no way we could know the cost to the state or the county, and I simply can’t support that,” said Bitner.

Opponents of the news said an increase in refugees could lead to a drain on government services and an increase in crime, something the pro-refugee crowd overwhelmingly denied.

[….]

But with no decision Monday, the clock is ticking, because agencies must submit their written consent by Jan. 21 or lose federal funds that could be used to reunite families and place refugees in places with jobs, and other supportive means.

More here.

As for the January 21 deadline, it is for the nine resettlement contractors and their subcontractors to have their plans submitted to the US State Department in order to get their federal funding.  At that time they need to have written permission from the governor and from the county government, or the city (if applicable), in hand.

(See the US State Department’s funding guidance here.)

They are shooting to get those approvals by Christmas, so you must get moving where you live!  As I’ll tell you in an upcoming post, the Leftwing refugee contractors and others in the Open Borders movement are putting every county in play!  (Not just those with existing sites, like these.)

This is not just a bureaucratic exercise! 

The Left has made it into a referendum on Donald Trump’s refugee policies in an election year.  The President is correct that state’s can choose whether to be a resettlement state or not. For us it is a referendum on state’s rights and whether local citizens will have a say in whether their communities will be changed (forever!).

Original Refugee Act: States have a Right to Opt-in or Opt-out of Refugee Admissions Program

Editor:  Thanks to David James for another excellent analysis of the vital question about the resettlement of refugees in the US—do states have any right to say no to the placement of UN/US State Department selected refugees within their borders?

James says yes, and explains that a Migration Policy Institute paper by a legal expert confirmed that in 2011.

Indeed the original Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 foresaw an opt-in and in practice that opt-in has been ignored for nearly 4 decades, Trump is attempting to fix that as I have been explaining in recent days.
The primary reason you should be involved now is that you should have a say in how your state and local taxes are spent (not some federally funded NGO operating out of New York City, Washington or Baltimore).

 

Soros Funded Immigration Think Tank Said States Can Reject Refugees

The self-described non-partisan Soros-funded Migration Policy Institute (MPI), was light years ahead of President Trump about the limited authority of the federal government to force refugee resettlement in states which say no thanks.

In 2016 George Soros pledged to give $500 million to promote migration. Forbes reports that one of the beneficiaries is the Migration Policy Institute. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerenblankfeld/2016/09/20/billionaire-george-soros-earmarks-500-million-for-migrants-and-refugees/#7815e75b3888

In 2011, the MPI issued a paper titled, The Faltering U.S. Refugee Protection System: Legal and Policy Responses to Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Others in Need of Protection, written by lawyer Donald Kerwin, Exec. Dir. of Center for Migration Studies and former ED of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, a subsidiary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The USCCB is also one of the busiest federal resettlement contractors whose last available financial statement in 2017 showed $50 million dollars in federal grants comprising 94% of the USCCB budget for migration and refugee services.

States have rights!

Kerwin wrote that states need to say yes to refugees before the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration (PRM) resettles refugees in any state:

Resettlement agencies (many affiliated with VOLAGs] meet with state and local officials on a quarterly basis regarding the opportunities and services available to refugees in local communities and the ability of these communities to accommodate new arrivals. They also consult with the state refugee coordinator on placement plans for each local site. PRM provides ORR and states with proposed VOLAG placement plans. If a state opposes the plan, PRM will not approve it.

During a 2010 U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, testimony from Fort Wayne, Indiana and Clarkson, Georgia city officials stated that they had never been consulted or given notice by resettlement agencies or PRM about upcoming resettlement plans.

There’s plenty of evidence that even if these consultations actually take place, they only happen between like-minded bureaucrats and not with say, state legislators on the finance committees.

Remember too, that in states which have withdrawn from the resettlement program, the state refugee coordinator is typically an NGO which has its own refugee resettlement program heavily dependent on keeping the federal cash flowing to its bank account.

Of course, there is no accounting for the state taxpayer dollars being forcibly taken to pay for the federal program, even if a state has already withdrawn.

Another dirty little secret about refugee placements is that decisions about “capacity” at the local level for resettlement is left up to the federal contractors whose financial well-being is directly tied to how many refugees they can bring in during the fiscal year.

The US General Accounting Office found that “capacity” can pretty much mean anything the contractor wants it to mean including its own long-term funding needs.”

It’s not clear what Kerwin’s basis was for his concession to a state’s authority to reject a proposed refugee resettlement plan. But Tennessee’s lawsuit offers a legally viable and coherent explanation – the federal government’s admission to shifting the costs of its refugee program to state governments in violation of the Tenth Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Not only that, but the refugee resettlement program was designed originally as an opt-in. The 1980 Act has no language authorizing a replacement after state withdrawal but is structured as an opt-in program for states just like other federal spending programs. It wasn’t until 1994, that the state withdrawal/ORR replacement provisions were added to the regulations.

When a state chooses to withdraw from the federal program ORR, gave itself, by regulation, what the enabling legislation didn’t – the authority to appoint a replacement state designee. Importantly, appointing a replacement state designee, is permissive, not mandatory. In each state that has chosen to withdraw, however, ORR has appointed an NGO resettlement agency as the state’s replacement designee. This has resulted in forced state participation and forced state expenditures for the federal program.

President Trump’s Executive Order reads as if a state can override consent by local governments to bring in refugees. However, the operating details won’t be known until HHS and the State Department issue their guidance on the consent.

Of course, the activist judge who will be deciding the lawsuit  brought by the VOLAGs challenging Trump’s order will have to choose between following the law or legislating from the bench.

Local activists would do well to explain the real fiscal implications to their state legislators and governor of the state being forced to pay the federal freight that Congress has chosen to shift to the state, taking state funding priorities away from the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

 

This post if filed in my Comments worth noting/guest posts category.

Refugee Council USA Provides Handy Toolkit for Refugee Advocates

As I have said innumerable times over a dozen years, the Refugee Council USA is the lobbying arm of the refugee industry.  The nine federal refugee contractors*** are at the heart of it, and all funding for it flows through Church World Service. (See CWS and CAIR, here)

See all of their member organizations, here.

Don’t forget! The refugee contractors, like Church World Service here are not just refugee placement contractors, but are political advocates for the entire Open Borders movement. They shouldn’t be receiving any of your tax dollars!

Needless to say they are mobilizing their networks of Open Borders Activists to defeat Trump’s refugee slowdown and September Executive Order by getting your governors and local government officials to go on record saying they welcome more refugees.

If you are just learning the news that the President is attempting to make a fundamental change in how the US Refugee Admissions Program has operated for nearly 4 decades by giving some say to local and state governments about whether they want more refugees (that will be costing state and local taxpayers millions of dollars to take care of) here are some recent posts you should see.

Contractors sue Trump, here.

Refugee Advocates take aim at local government, here.

Governors are sending letters of support for more refugees, here.

88 Mayors say they want more refugees, 100,000!, but no letter yet, here.

Are you near a resettlement site, here?

Now that you are up-to-speed, see that the Refugee Council USA whose members have a huge financial stake in continued large scale refugee migration to America are working to generate action by their grassroots (and media lackeys) to follow the recent funding guidance from the US State Department.

(Although they claim the EO is illegal and are suing, they tell their followers to do this anyway!)

RCUSA’s Handy Tool Kit should be handy for you too!

Their financial future depends on ginning up their followers, see what they are telling their people to do….

Toolkit link is here.

 

Toolkit for Engaging Elected Officials on the “State & Local Resettlement Ban” Executive Order

 

Background: On September 26, the White House issued an Executive Order (EO 13888) that may drastically reduce, if not entirely stop, the resettlement of refugees in your community. The EO is already creating chaos and confusion about where refugees can be resettled, will lead to family separation for refugee families, and will leave refugees, former refugees and United States citizens without supportive services. To make matters worse, the administration proposed a refugee admissions goal of 18,000 refugees for the next year, a shamefully abysmal number for the world’s most powerful nation that stands in stark contrast to the historic average goal of 95,000 refugees. 

 

Together, these actions are likely to destroy the bipartisan refugee resettlement program for years to come. It’s critical that we work together to demonstrate nationwide, bi-partisan support for refugees and ensure our state and local officials publicly declare welcome for refugees. We need you to make your voice heard at the local level and reach out to your governors, mayors, and county officials and ask them to support refugee resettlement. 

 

Why is the EO harmful? The EO fundamentally alters the structure of the U.S. resettlement program by transferring decisions about who can resettle and where from the federal government to state and locally elected officials. Not only will this ultimately lead to a patchwork of conflicting policies running contrary to the purpose of a national resettlement program, but it will also leave thousands of refugees, former refugees, and U.S. citizens without consistent and routine access to integration services and other supports. The EO subjects families and our community members to the whims of politics and exacerbates uncertainty for refugee families and communities alike by requiring local officials to provide written consent before refugees can be resettled. This is an unprecedented and harmful procedure, particularly given that resettlement agencies already consult regularly with state and local stakeholders regarding community needs. In addition, U.S. citizens, immigrants, refugees, and visitors alike are constitutionally allowed to move freely between cities and states. We do not need explicit permission from cities to travel – or relocate.

 

What We Know: Governors and local officials must provide written consent to opt into resettling refugees in their states and localities. Resettlement agencies are responsible to obtain written governor and local consent – the administration will not be communicating directly to governors or local officials. Consent letters will be publicly available on the State Department’s website. Consent is needed from the governor of a state in order to continue refugee resettlement anywhere in that state. If a governor gives consent but a locality does not, refugees may be resettled in a different locality where consent is provided. Some family reunification cases that use the “follow to join” Visa 93 process may be exempted from parts of this EO. The EO does not directly apply to Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders.

 

In terms of local consent, the administration has referred to the county or county-equivalent. In some cases, there are no counties, and in others, counties do not have the authority. Ultimately, the administration will defer to local community’s determination of who has authority. If you have already reached out to a mayor’s office, please continue to get that consent letter. Our understanding is that in many places, that will suffice. When at all possible, please also obtain consent from a county official as well. The administration is requiring that a list of cities/towns that fall under the jurisdiction of the local body be included within or attached to the letter of consent. This can be prepared by the resettlement office or the official providing the letter, but it must be certified by the consenting official. 

Your State & Local Officials Need to Hear From You

 

When you engage your local officials, we encourage you to educate them about the existence and content of the EO and ask whether they will provide written consent to resettle refugees. Here are the top two ways to take action:

 

 

  • Tell Your Governor to Declare Welcome for Refugees: Click here to contact your governor and tell them to declare that they welcome refugees in your state. Ask them to provide the necessary written consent to the federal government stating that refugees are welcome. A template letter that can be adapted to your state is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

Letters should be addressed to: Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Department of State; and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Carol T. O’Connell, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State.

 

The following language should be included in order to provide consent: “As [Governor/Mayor] of [state/city], I consent to initial refugee resettlement in [state/city] as per the terms of the Executive Order. This consent is valid unless or until withdrawn.”

 

An important note / disclaimer: Since we do not want our communications to imply that we endorse or agree with the EO, it would be helpful to include the following disclaimer in correspondences: “Communication about, or participation in, the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 13888 is not an endorsement of the legality of the EO.”

 

Steps to Organize Meetings with State & Local Officials

 

Template Letter to Officials: Click here for a template letter from community members, click here for a template letter from faith leaders, click here for a template letter from businesses and click here for a template letter from Members of Congress, to governors and state and local officials to invite them to declare welcome for refugees.

 

Step-by-Step Guide: Click here for guidance on how to prepare and organize meetings with governors, mayors, county executives, and other local officials. 

 

Bring Handouts: Bring copies of this letter that is collecting signatures from state and local officials – governors, mayors, state/local legislators, etc. You can also adapt this template letter for your state and local officials for your meeting. 

 

Provide Feedback: Don’t forget to tell us how it went! Click here to fill out a survey with feedback from your meeting. Contact Elissa Diaz at ediaz@cwsglobal.org if you would like help in preparing for and/or following up with your meetings with officials.

 

Additional Resources to Help You Talk to State & Local Officials

 

Talking Points and Messaging Guidance: For talking points on the executive order and the proposed refugee admissions goal of 18,000, please visit our Talking Points primer: http://bit.ly/EOPDTalkingPoints. Additional resources debunking the administration’s harmful “resettlement vs. asylum” narrative is available here: http://bit.ly/PDFactsheet

 

EO Factsheet: Click here for a one page backgrounder and here for analysis about the EO and its impact.

 

Power Map: Who can make the decision you need to influence (your primary target)? Who influences them (your secondary targets)? Who uses influence for/against this decision? A power map is a simple yet powerful tool to map decision makers and focus your energy where it makes the greatest impact. Click here for a basic template to construct your power map, and click here for some tips on how to research and map targets.

 

Letters from State & Local Officials: A template letter from state and local officials to the administration that can be easily adapted to your state / locality is available here. Feel free to reach out to Elissa Diaz at ediaz@cwsglobal.org for help crafting a tailored letter for your specific officials. In addition, we are still seeking state and local officials – governors, mayors, state/local legislators, etc. – to sign on to this letter. Here are additional statements declaring welcome for refugees by Governor DeWine (R-OH) and Mayor Ben Walsh (I-Syracuse, NY).

 

Local Resolution Template: Template resolution language for local municipal, county, or other government bodies that authorize, support, or otherwise give a nod in favor of continuing to resettle refugees in response to the refugee EO can be found here.

 

Social Media Guidance: Check out our rapid response toolkit on the refugee admissions goal for sample social media posts, graphics, and more: bit.ly/EOSocialMedia

 

*** For new readers, these are the nine federal refugee contractors:

 

 

Republican Governor Sununu Tells Trump: New Hampshire Welcomes More Refugees

New Hampshire becomes the sixth state (that I know of) to tell the President that his/her state is all-in for more impoverished refugees.  You can bet the Open Borders agitators are joyful about another Republican governor (see Utah) telling the Prez that the state is open for more third worlders.

Most recently I told you about Virginia jumping on the bandwagon bringing the number to five at that point:  Pennsyvania, Washington, Oregon and Utah having expressed their desires earlier.  North Dakota Gov. Burgum’s response is frankly wishy-washy leaving us uncertain about where he stands.

I’m keeping a list of the governors who want to see refugees numbers increased in their states here at RRW in the right hand sidebar.

From US News:

Sununu Consents to Refugee Resettlement Following Exec Order

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has consented to receiving refugees at the state level, in response to an executive order from President Donald Trump that requires consultation with states and municipalities about the settlement of refugees in specific areas.

Is that an America First! sign behind Republican Governor Chris Sununu? Hmmmm!

Trump issued the order in September saying the federal government should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the state and local governments have consented to receive refugees.

Sununu, a Republican, said Friday his administration will work closely with area agencies to ensure that those who are resettled in New Hampshire have the chance to become “hardworking members of our local communities.”

New Hampshire municipalities can now opt-in to accept refugees.

Because there are no guidelines available yet (that I know of) on how the President’s September Executive Order is supposed to work, it isn’t clear how your community will opt-in or out!

But, as you saw in my post two days ago, 88 mayors are declaring they are in!

Other than to satisfy their Leftwing constituents, these governors don’t need to be making any public declarations until some guidelines come from Washington.

So, it is up to you to let them know that this embrace of more refugees is not a political freebie for them.  There is a political cost to their declaration.

 

 

Refugee Contractors Use Trump September Executive Order to Organize Nationally

And, guess what? You, who either don’t want to see any more refugees coming to America or at least want a say in who we are accepting and whether they are placed in your town, are screwed.

Sorry to sound vulgar, but it is true, because the other side is highly organized and you have no national voice helping to guide you on what to do locally to push back.

It is make or break time! You’ve got a few more weeks to get your message to your local mayors, city councils, and governors.

And, locally is where the refugee contractors are making their big move now  (in addition to suing the President over the September EO that supposedly will give states an opportunity to opt-out of resettlement).

I’m not naming names, but for those of you hoping a national immigration control organization located in Washington, DC (or anywhere in America) will focus on the refugee issue and tell you what to do, forget it!

You are on your own.

And, notice where the debate is!  It isn’t on the issue of whether we should be bringing tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands!) of refugees to the US annually from countries that hate us; it isn’t on whether the whole program is unconstitutional and needs to be dumped and rewritten (if we even want more refugees); it is on which of your towns will be changed forever and who gets to decide that!

Trump’s EO was far from perfect, but he is concerned about the secrecy that has heretofore been the watchword of refugee resettlement decision-making in America. The contractors, which have monopolized all resettlement in the US for decades, love calling the shots from Washington and are fighting tooth and nail not to lose that power.

The nine federal contractors*** and their friends throughout the Open Borders Industry are highly organized with an extensive grassroots network, so when Trump opened the door with his September Executive Order about local and state governments having some say in the decision-making process they have turned on their networks and their people have gone to work.

Indeed, they expect Trump to be gone so they can go back to business as usual of changing America one town at a time, their Executive Order pushback has become a key element in their strategy.

I’ve always hated the expression, but since Trump handed them a lemon they are making lemonade!

Here is the first of many examples, Mary Poole the refugee advocate who opened the door to a new resettlement office in Montana says it best.

From the Missoulian:

Missoula refugee resettlement agency wades through Trump order

Missoula is one of roughly 190 communities in the U.S. that resettle refugees. Only a handful of states don’t. So far none has banned further resettlement, and letters of support are reported from city councils in the likes of Decatur, Georgia; and Alexandria, Virginia.

In 2016 Mary Poole successfully pushed for the opening of an International Rescue Committee subcontractor office for Missoula.

Gary Herbert, Utah’s Republican governor, wrote Trump a letter requesting he “allow us to accept more international refugees in Utah.”

Democratic governors Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon have voiced support for resettlement, and on Tuesday Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, announced North Dakota would continue to receive refugees “as long as local governments agree to it,” the Grand Forks Herald reported.

Such responses underline what Soft Landing Missoula’s Mary Poole sees as a bright side to the executive order.

While it makes an additional hurdle and roadblock, and it’s unfortunate, I think what we’re really going to see are people going to bat for (accepting refugees) in a way we haven’t seen before,” she said. “I’m pretty excited to see that visual representation nationwide to show how important this is.”

And so they are!

Their people are pushing local governments everywhere to shove it back at Trump and put in writing that they WANT MORE REFUGEES!

Some examples that have come across my desk in recent days:

In Holland, Michigan, here.

In Lancaster, PA, here.

In Oklahoma, here. (The Oklahoma story is particularly informative.)

In Nebraska, here.

And, in Tennessee the Tennessee Office of Refugees run by Catholic Charities has sent out an e-mail with contact information for TN mayors to make it easier for their anti-Trump EO supporters to weigh in:

Contact your local elected officials to let them know their constituents support refugee resettlement.

Chattanooga City Mayor
Andy Berke
(423) 643-7800
mayor@chattanooga.gov

Hamilton County Mayor
Jim Coppinger
(423) 209-6100
Email: hamiltontn.gov/Mayor/form.aspx

Knoxville City Mayor
Madeline Rogero
(865) 215-2040
mayor@knoxvilletn.gov

Knox County Mayor
Glenn Jacobs
(865) 215-2005
Email: knoxcounty.org/email/email_new.php?email_name=county.mayor

Memphis City Mayor
Jim Strickland
(901) 636-6000
mayor@memphistn.gov

Shelby County Mayor
Lee Harris
(901) 222-2000
officeofthemayor@shelbycountytn.gov

Nashville Metro Mayor
John Cooper
(615) 862-6000

 

You can be sure that information like that is going out in your state too!

Because you aren’t going to hear it from any organization giving you marching orders….

…. my message to you is get to your local government and speak up before they do—a big challenge because they have a huge head start on you!

Contact your governor too!

Even if you think that your voices won’t be heard, tell your local and state elected officials what you think anyway, otherwise they will assume that supporting the idea of more refugees for your town or city is a political freebie for them!

Oh, and if you want to make a big splash—challenge your local elected officials in the next election.  Even if you think you can’t win the first time out, your local media will be forced to report on your platform.

A very simple message to your elected officials is this: care for refugees where they live in the world, and let’s take care of poor and vulnerable Americans here first!

 

***The nine federal contractors listed below have dozens of subcontractors working under them around the country.  So although your local resettlement agency has a name not listed here, you can be sure they work for one of the nine major contractors.

They are all very Leftwing political organizations, but the most actively anti-Trump in recent months are in red. You might argue that the Bishops are very political and they are, but I’ve noticed that they are laying low these days (there are a large number of Catholic Trump supporters) and USCRI has been unusually quiet.