The Jewish News Syndicatefinds that many Jews are wondering where HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is going with its policies and programs now that very few Jews arrive in America as refugees.
For readers who want to know more about who is changing America by changing the people, have a look at this story entitled:
With HIAS changing longtime focus, supporters question some of its priorities
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, better known as HIAS, was for the better part of a century responsible for helping settle generations of Jewish refugees in their new homes in the United States. From 1881 through the release of Jews from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the organization worked not only to resettle the new arrivals, but was involved in assisting them legally as well. Yet in a way, HIAS was a product of its own success and the success of the American Jewish community, whose activism helped bring most Jews over who wanted or needed to leave other countries.
Today, nearly all of the refugees HIAS resettles on an average each year are non-Jews—many of them Muslims from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and other Middle Eastern countries.
As an organization with deep Jewish roots, HIAS’s new mission and purpose are being questioned by some observers, especially during a time of global uncertainty and rising anti-Semitism.
In 1975, the U.S. State Department asked HIAS to expand its portfolio and assist in resettling 3,600 Vietnamese refugees after the end of the Vietnam War and nearly two decades of US involvement in Southeast Asia.
In 2014, HIAS dropped the word “Hebrew” from its name and was simply called HIAS. At the same time, HIAS announced relocation of its headquarters from New York City to suburban Maryland.
Most notable among criticisms is that several HIAS partners have been linked to organizations with ties to terrorism, including Islamic Relief USA and the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), whose leadership recently called Jews “the grandchildren of monkeys and pigs” and referred to the terrorist group Hamas “the purest resistance movement in modern history.”
There’s a crucial difference between past Jewish refugees and current Muslims, argues Richard Landes, a retired Boston University history professor now living in Jerusalem. “Jews came into the country determined to contribute to America—to be American—but the Muslims arriving now don’t always feel that way. We like to think if we are nice enough to our enemies they will stop hating us, but our history has shown that the incapacity to see malevolent intent in others is itself very dangerous to Jews.”
Here is the first news I am seeing about where the Trump administration is on the decision to admit refugees for FY2021 which begins on October first.
I’ve been telling you in a series of posts (tagged FY2021) about the pressure the Leftist Open Borders agitators are putting on the White House to set a ceiling of 95,000 refugees for next year—a number way above anything the Obama administration ever admitted.
Trump administration considers postponing refugee admissions -U.S. official
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are weighing whether to postpone or further cut refugee admissions in the coming year amid legal fights over President Donald Trump’s refugee policy and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said.
The possible postponement – one of several options under discussion – would mean some or all refugee admissions could be frozen until a legal challenge to a 2019 Trump order on refugees is resolved “with some greater degree of finality,” the official told Reuters.
It is not clear when that lawsuit may be resolved, especially if the case goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a process that could take months or even longer.
The president typically sets yearly refugee levels around the beginning of each fiscal year and the Trump administration has not yet announced its plans for fiscal 2021, which begins on Oct. 1.
The refugee cap was cut to 18,000 this year, the lowest level since the modern-day program began in 1980. So far, roughly half that many refugees have been let in as increased vetting and the coronavirus pandemic have slowed arrivals.
The senior official said that even if 2021 admissions are not delayed, next year’s cap could be cut below current levels.
“The arc of this administration’s refugee policy is going to continue,” said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing deliberations.
Trump and his top officials have said refugees could pose threats to national security and that resettlement should take place closer to countries of origin. The administration also contends that refugee resettlement can be costly for local communities, although refugee backers reject those arguments.
The possible moves remain under discussion and no final decision has been reached, the official stressed.
In addition to greatly reducing refugee admissions to the United States, Trump also issued an executive order in September 2019 that required state and local elected officials to consent to receive refugees, saying it would better ensure refugees were sent to areas with adequate resources to receive them.
Three of nine federal refugee contractors successfully sued to stop the Trump order to give state and local governments a say in refugee resettlement. They have been deciding for four decades where to place refugees and they want to continue to have that power.
Below, partially federally-funded HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) CEO Mark Hetfield holds a press conference.
In January, a Maryland-based U.S. district judge blocked the order from taking effect, prompting Trump administration officials to consider a possible “deferral” of refugee admissions until the court case is resolved, the senior official said.
The case is now on appeal, so the administration has a very good reason to postpone making any decision about numbers.
The Refugee Act of 1980 leaves the discretion up to the President and there is no requirement in the law that says we must admit any refugees!
More here. See the discussion about how Biden wants 125,000 refugees this coming year, but that Trump has successfully severed the pipeline into America which refugee promoters say will take months (years!) to rebuild.
And, you can be sure that right now the “interfaith community” is getting in gear for what they anticipate will be a great blue wave in November and they will all be back in business when Biden/Harris fling open our borders to the third world beginning in January.
Of course you are probably reading this and thinking: don’t we need to get our people back to work and get through the Chinese virus panic before you hit the Hill with your strategic lobbying for more refugees and for more payola!
No! While you are distracted they are busy as they always are working all the angles to get more fundingand influence more members of Congress to see things their way.
If a member is Catholic—send in the Catholics! Jewish? Send in HIAS. If the Muslims want an entree? The Catholics and the Jews will help make that possible.
This article at Devexdescribes the basics of well-organized lobbying efforts in Washington that you, average citizens, can NEVER match.
These are all well-funded organizations with high paid staff working 40-hour work weeks, 52 weeks a year to influence Congress, and they hope very soon to get back into the White House.
(emphasis is mine)
‘We can be very strategic’: How faith-based NGOs advocate on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON — Many NGOs dedicate time to advocacy (aka lobbying) on Capitol Hill to garner support for development and humanitarian policies and funding, but faith-based organizations work together to bring a different perspective to these lobbying efforts.
“We, at one level, are doing what everybody’s doing, which is trying to understand to the greatest extent we can what drives a particular member.And that is as varied as the membership in the House and Senate,” said Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president for mission, mobilization, and advocacy (aka lobbying) at Catholic Relief Services.***
“We do look at what is the religious background of this member, and is there a particular appeal that we can authentically make that would make a difference in this case?”
CRS aims to meet with every member of Congress regardless of the member’s religious affiliation, O’Keefe said. The organization’s work to eliminate causes of poverty and injustice is rooted in principles of Catholic social teaching, a tradition that bolsters the NGO’s reputation and allows it to work well with members on both sides of the aisle, he said.
CRS works closely with other faith-based organizations — both those that are part of what O’Keefe calls “Team Catholic,” as well as those of other faiths — on the Hill to coordinate advocacy (aka lobbying) efforts for certain bills or funding requests.
The NGOs determine what type of appeal may be most effective with particular members who may have seats on relevant committees or from whom they want support.
“If there is an office where the elected official is a strong Catholic, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense for HIAS to take the lead on that meeting,” said Naomi Steinberg, vice president of policy and advocacy (aka lobbying) at refugee resettlement organization HIAS.
“Every single day we are in partnership with other faith organizations and we work in coalition on a lot of different issues. What we find is that we are all heading in the same direction and certainly we sometimes might have different strategies, but through the coalition, we really do speak with one voice.
The value of us coming from different faith traditions is that we can be very strategic.”
HIAS began as an agency that resettled Jewish refugees in the U.S. Now, it is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the country that works with people of all faiths as well as with refugees abroad — issues Steinberg said have become unfortunately partisan during the Trump administration.
Her team works to develop relationships with congressional offices even when they are not pushing for a particular policy or funding so that when there is a tougher issue on which they seek support, they have existing contacts to tap.
I was a lobbyist decades ago and I can assure you that this is where they spend a lot of their time building their influence. They make friends with staff members and spend time with them, often outside of regular work hours, so that naturally when the lobbyist needs something, they can get a phone call returned or even get an entree to the member on short notice.
HIAS also ties this advocacy (aka lobbying) closely with its grassroots efforts on refugee issues, which includes urging Jewish communities across the country to contact their members of Congress to express their support for more funding and higher refugee resettlement caps.
“One of the messages we share with our grassroots advocacy network … is you should never assume that even if your elected official has been on the right side of these refugee issues, that they know how important this is to you, to their constituency,” Steinberg said.
“Keep those calls coming, keep those emails coming. Because we want them to know that people in their district vote partially based on these issues.” [Other than NumbersUSA and FAIR, with limited staff and financing, I don’t know any other organizations doing this on the immigration restriction side of the debate.—ed]
Politics can also impact inroads faith-based organizations are able to make on Capitol Hill. Jihad Saleh Williams, senior advocacy (aka lobbying) and government affairs advisor at Islamic Relief USA, said his organization can have difficulty getting a response from Republican offices who are nervous to meet with a Muslim organization with which they may not be familiar.
As a former congressional aide, Williams said he understands the instinct of Hill staffers to protect their boss at all costs, and that IR USA must understand “discreetness” required for some of its meetings.
Williams said he often begins outreach with congressional offices by discussing IR USA’s domestic work in order to build relationships.
Many offices incorrectly believe that the organization only works in the Middle East, he said, or only deals with civil liberties and counterterrorism issues. By educating members about work to promote food security and health access — particularly during COVID-19 — in the U.S., Williams said he can gain an entry point to promote the value of international development and humanitarian work as well.
NGOs use interfaith coalitions to work together to counter such misconceptions about particular groups, positioning faith-based organizations as a united block that support the same issues, regardless of religious affiliation, to strengthen their power on the Hill.
“I really have tried to work hard over time, particularly with Islamic Relief and with other minority religious groups in the United States, to make sure … when people think of the faith community, they don’t just think of the Christian community,” O’Keefe said.
“We partner a lot with Islamic Relief and consider them brothers and sisters in this development and humanitarian world.”
***I just had a look at the most recent Form 990 for Catholic Reliefand learned that in 2018 they had an income stream of over $936 Million and of that $453,988,287 (nearly a half a billion!) came from you, the US taxpayer!
No wonder they are busy lobbying on the Hill.
Here is the salaries page from that Form 990. Sean Callahan sure is doing well by doing good!
Personal anecdote: About 20 years ago I had a reason for wanting to help a Catholic convent in Danang, VN. The sisters there are devout Catholics who had spent a couple of decades in the rice fields when the Communists took over the country. By the year 2000, the government had lightened up on them and they were back running an orphanage and a school for young children, but they needed financial help.
In my naivete I called Catholic Relief to see if they could help that convent and was told “That isn’t what we do!”
Now I have a better understanding of what they do—big fat salaries, lobbying efforts to garner more funding, and efforts to bring more Muslims into the US is what they do! Nuns in Vietnam who love America can go pound sand.
Thanks to reader David for sending this short interview with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s Mark Hetfield.
Longtime readers know that Hetfield has been a leading opponent of any refugee program reform efforts the President has proposed both through political agitation and legal action his federally-funded organization has taken.
I always laugh when I hear their line that goes like this about the millions admitted to the US: “not a single one has committed a lethal act of terror.”
He leaves out the dozens who have tried to commit terror acts and failed or who were caught before they could act and the untold numbers that have murdered or raped someone after being admitted.
Reader Michelle had this to say about the clip:
Maybe not an act of terror but in my own town, a refugee slaughtered 3 young children with a machete. And this is only one town. There are lots more. IF that isn’t terror, what is it? I can’t stand these holier than thou officials. He seems to have forgotten all of those that were caught getting ready to act and lots more that have done worse like rape etc.
In a perverse way, it is a good thing that the leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has chosen the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)‘s Dianne Lob as its future Chairman of the Board because it energized investigators to look into HIAS many activities that for our purposes mostly center around its role as one of nine federal refugee resettlement agencies milking the US taxpayers as it seeks to expand immigration of all sorts to your American towns and cities.
HereCaroline Glick gives us a thorough laundry list of why picking someone so closely tied to HIAS signals a wrong and dangerous direction for American Jewish groups.
Last week an event occurred will be remembered as a key moment in the disintegration of organized American Jewish support for Israel and American Jewish organizational life itself.
Last Friday, the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations announced that the Conference’s nominating committee had selected Dianne Lob, the immediate past president of HIAS to run unopposed for the position of Chairman of the Conference’s Executive Board. Her election is scheduled to take place on April 28.
The Conference of Presidents – an umbrella group that comprises 53 Jewish American organizations — is widely viewed as the most important Jewish organization in the United States.
Why is Lob’s selection important? On the face of things, it was unremarkable.
People who have known Lob for decades describe her as a garden variety New York Jewish liberal whose views on Israel are in keeping with the views of the vast majority of American Jews.
Members of the Conference of President for their part claim not to know her at all. During her term as Chairman of HIAS from 2016-2019, she didn’t participate in major Conference events like its trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Lob’s selection is an earthquake in American Jewish organizational life is not because of anything she has said or done, but because of her organizational affiliation to HIAS.
As the Zionist Organization of America documented in a letter*** to the heads of the Conference of Presidents following Lob’s selection, in a declaration before a U.S. federal court, HIAS attested that the refugees they serve today come from “Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Ukraine, Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan, Uganda, Russia, Belarus, and Burma, among other countries. Many of these clients are Muslim.”
Lob herself attested that 90 percent of the Syrians and 60 percent of the Iraqis that HIAS brings to the U.S. are Muslim.
HIAS’s contribution to Muslim immigration to the U.S. is significant for two key reasons. First it is indisputable that many of the Muslims immigrating to the U.S. are anti-Semitic. As ZOA noted, “according to the ADL Global 100 Antisemitism Index, in 16 Muslim majority Middle Eastern countries, 74% to 93% of the population is antisemitic.”
So by bringing Muslims from Syria and Iraq to the U.S., HIAS is in all likelihood bringing anti-Semites to America.
The second reason HIAS’s efforts to bring Muslims to America is significant is because in its work in this arena HIAS has collaborated with Islamic groups associated with Islamic terrorist organizations. For instance, HIAS has worked with Islamic Relief.
Islamic Relief is a branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide, (IRW). As the ZOA noted, Israel outlawed IRW because of its terrorist activities, including financing of Hamas terror. HIAS has also worked with the Council on American Islamic Relations, (CAIR) which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holyland Foundation trial where the Holyland Foundation was found guilty of funding Hamas.
In Israel, HIAS works with other leftist extremist groups to prevent the deportation of illegal aliens from Sudan and Eritrea.This week they launched a protest with the Anti-Defamation League in Israel demanding that Israel expand the rights of illegal aliens who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.