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!

Catholic News Service Tells Untruth about Refugee Act of 1980

I wasn’t planning to post anything this morning because I figured I really needed to catch up on all of my e-mails and other messages on social media.  I don’t want to appear rude and not respond to your many inquiries, but it seems that I can never catch up!  (LOL! New readers may not know that I have no staff, I just do what I can on my own.)

Anyway, my plan was to do some catching-up this morning until the first article I read in my alerts was this one from the Catholic Standard peddling the myth I thought had been corrected long ago when Grover Norquist (of all people) was selling the fake news that Ronald Reagan signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law.

But, alas here it is again!

Revisionist history is not a good look!

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops was testifying along with others in the refugee industry at a House hearing this past week.

Bishop urges Congress to show compassion, solidarity with refugees

 

WASHINGTON (CNS) — During a Feb. 27 congressional hearing about the status of the nation’s refugee program, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville quoted someone who is not frequently mentioned on Capitol Hill: Pope Francis.

“Today I am here to echo the Holy Father’s message: to recognize that we must at all times, but particularly at this moment of great global turmoil, recognize the most vulnerable and welcome them to the extent we are able,” he said.

In his testimony the Catholic Bishop reminds us of the Pope’s visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013 which I believe helped inspire even more migrants to risk their lives to illegally enter Europe. https://refugeeresettlementwatch.org/2013/07/09/pope-lectures-on-lampedusa/

The bishop, chairman of the migration committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pointed out to the members of Congress and others seated in the hearing room that he was there to offer his perspective as a naturalized immigrant to the United States from Colombia.

He was one on a panel of four people addressing the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, looking at the status of the U.S. Refugee Program, a week before 40th anniversary of the bipartisan Refugee Act of 1980, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

Bipartisan my foot!

The Refugee Act of 1980 was the brainchild of Senator Ted Kennedy; Senator Joe Biden was a chief sponsor; and it was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on March 17,1980 (St. Patrick’s day as a gesture to Kennedy).

Reagan was not elected president until November of that year.

I hate it when Christians lie! The ends do not justify the means!

Don’t believe me, how about believing the National Archives:

 

No bipartisanship here:  Warren Magnuson, Tip O’Neill, and Jimmy Carter DEMOCRATS all!

Get ready for all sorts of media hoopla this month as the Refugee Act of 1980 is 40 years old!

If your local media runs any story that mentions Reagan signing the Act into law, you need to take action and force a correction. Watch for it!

For more on the USCCB, don’t miss my post where I reported that they are losing millions of taxpayer dollars under Trump.

 

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.

Trump’s Executive Order on Refugee Resettlement Won’t Stop Refugee Arrivals to Your State or Community

Editor’s note:  Concerned about growing assumptions that the recent Trump Executive Order will solve the problem of no local or state say about refugee admissions, a long-time observer of the program with legal expertise, David James, has explained for us that the EO does not do what it purports to do. 

Although grateful that the President has signaled his concern for a major flaw in the program, we must set the record straight.

For new readers, VOLAGs (short for Voluntary Agencies), is the refugee industry title by which the federal refugee contractors refer to themselves.

(Emphasis below is mine)

Decisions made by federal agencies and the VOLAGs (voluntary agencies) they pay, about where to place arriving refugees, along with secondary migration, have created Minneapolis’ “Little Mogadishu”, Nashville’s “Little Kurdistan” and Ft. Wayne’s “Little Burma” to name just a few of the refugee ethnocentric enclaves.

No executive order, including the President’s recent Executive Order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement (EO) can stop refugee migration, either initial or secondary, from changing the demographics of your town and/or state.

While the EO suggests that the federal government will not resettle refugees in communities unless both the state and local governments consent, that may not be what happens at the end of the day.

Putting secondary migration aside, Section 2(b) of the EO specifically preserves the authority of the three agencies which administer the refugee resettlement program (State, HHS and DHS), to override any non-consent to refugee placement by either the state and/or local government.

With the exception of the lowered cap of 18,000, the EO is more a restatement of consultation requirements with state and local governments which are already in statute and regulation. Not only is the concept of “consultation” nowhere defined, but the outcomes of any consultation are not binding on federal agency decisions on refugee placement. And the EO doesn’t make any non-consent binding either.

The U.S. Code sections referenced in the EO mean that non-consent for resettlement won’t stop family reunification or the participation by the VOLAG federal contractors in deciding where refugees are placed.

VOLAGs whose operations are almost wholly dependent on the flow of federal dollars, are paid for each refugee they resettle. As noted in a 2012 GAO report, local VOLAG “affiliate funding is based on the number of refugees they serve, so affiliates have an incentive to maintain or increase the number of refugees they resettle each year rather than allowing the number to decrease.”

Last fiscal year when the refugee admission cap was lowered to 30,000, the State Department managed to fund all nine national resettlement contractors. Admittedly, the lowered ceiling of 18,000 for FY20 may prove challenging for some in the resettlement contractor industry to remain viable.

However, as Ann Corcoran reminds us, the refugee cap has not included other categories of entrants such as the Special Immigrant Visa holders from Iraq and Afghanistan who receive the same access to public benefits, such as state Medicaid programs, as refugees. The same goes for any successful asylum petition.

And once on the ground, refugees can and do go anywhere they want, nullifying any state and local non-consent per the EO.

Seeing one more opportunity (the announcement of the EO) to take a whack at the President, PA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) says Pennsylvania welcomes refugees. Was there any consultation?  Did concerned citizens of PA get to weigh-in before the Governor shot off a letter? NO!  PA borders West Virginia (a state that gets few refugees). Anything to stop refugees from arriving in PA and immediately moving to WV? NO! https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/466091-pennsylvania-governor-tells-trump-his-state-will-keep-welcoming-refugees

Governors in Oregon and Pennsylvania have already issued consent to receive refugees and New Jersey’s governor has announced the state’s intention to get back into the resettlement program.

While some refugee arrivals may stay put at their initial resettlement site, for others, consenting states will be nothing more than ports of entry for movement to non-consenting states and local communities.

The EO does not directly address the status of states which previously withdrew from the  resettlement program for purposes of non-consent. It’s possible that this question will be answered by the “process” to be developed by the State Department and HHS as required by the EO.

States like Tennessee which withdrew from the refugee program over 10 years ago, have since had their state refugee program administered by an ORR (U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement) selected NGO which just happens to have its own federally contracted refugee resettlement program.

When the Refugee Act was passed in 1980, Congress authorized reimbursing states 100% for three full years of the state cost of providing Medicaid for each refugee brought to a state by a federal contractor. Sen. Ted Kennedy, the chief sponsor of the Refugee Act was pushing for four years of refugee support as opposed to the House proposed two years of support:

“[i]n my judgment, it is essential that we continue to receive the full support of State governments for our refugee programs; I believe that we would jeopardize that support and cooperation if we were to transfer the resettlement burden to the States after the refugees have been in this country for only 2 short years.”

The House and Senate subsequently agreed to three years of reimbursement to states.

Feds shift cost to the states

Five years into the program, due to cuts in federal spending for refugee assistance, ORR began to reduce the three years of authorized reimbursement to states and by 1991, eliminated it altogether. Three years later in 1994, the federal regulation permitting a state to withdraw from the program and be replaced by an ORR state replacement designee, was added.

Beginning in 1990, various federal reports have admitted to shifting costs associated with the refugee program to state and local governments. State governments continue to incur these costs, even after withdrawing from the federal refugee program because federal contractors are enabled by ORR to continue initial resettlement in these states.

It remains to be seen whether these ORR designated state replacements which operate independently of the state government, will also have authority to consent for the state per the consent process required by the EO.

Tennessee has sued the federal government because of its Constitutionally impermissible taking of state funds for the federal refugee program by virtue of the cost shifting. The admissions to shifting federal program costs to states stand in stark contrast to the claims of the federally funded and financially dependent contractors that the program is “100% paid for by the federal government.”

President Trump’s EO fails to address the multiple layers of dysfunction in the resettlement program and Constitutionally suspect policies. Nor is there any reason to think that Congress will find its way to straightening out the mess they helped to create and continue to foster.

 

Endnote: It is vitally important that you send this detailed analysis to everyone you know.  We can support this President while at the same time pointing out where he might be going wrong on an issue that many of us believe is paramount to putting America First!

Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies addressed many of our concerns about the EO in his piece at National Review yesterday, see it here.

Longtime Federal Bureaucrat who Created Refugee Program Swipes at Trump

Well, I should say he is claiming credit for creating the present-day US Refugee Admissions Program in 1979.

Editor:  By the way, I’ve been away at a conference to talk about how RRW was “deplatformed” by WordPressdotcom and am now back at my computer with news about why the US Refugee Admissions Program Mr. Purcell says he created must be dumped (and reformed if there is a will for some sort of program). 

I know this might be getting too wonky, but it’s important to know how the program began and how it has gone wrong (or was wrong all along!)—something the speech police have been trying to stop me from telling you!

James N. Purcell, in an opinion piece in the Dallas News, says the refugee program was designed to leave out local and state government approval of refugee placement claiming it was “fairer” to leave them out of what he says is a federal decision.

I set up the U.S. refugee resettlement program that Trump is attacking

At a campaign rally last week in Minneapolis, the president trumpeted a recently issued executive order that would prohibit refugee resettlements unless states and cities expressly consented to them. He went on to say, “no other president would be doing that.”

https://www.sanangelosunriserotary.org/stories/our-guest-speaker-nbsp-mr-james-n-purcell-jr

[….]

There is a better way for state and local officials to make their views known that’s worked in the past.

This issue was a concern when I set up the U.S. refugee resettlement program in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter and when I was later named the official director of the program by President Ronald Reagan. We went out of our way to avoid the Damocles sword that President Donald Trump is now swinging.

Rather than force national decisions on state and local governments (which they were unable to make and has the effect of politicizing these decisions), we came up with a fairer and more humane approach that respected their unique roles. [So whatever happened to the Tenth Amendment?—ed]

The Refugee Act of 1980 recognized the essential contributions expected of state and local governments and made achievement of them possible.

What is he talking about!  Were the “essential contributions expected” of the state and local governments the enormous costs associated with welfare, education, health care, housing and so forth—costs now borne by state and local taxpayers with little financial help from Washington?

And, get this, the role of state coordinator was created to help identify and resolve problems.  How many of you reading this even knew you had state coordinators***?

 

The act required the federal government to coordinate and consult regularly with state refugee coordinators about proposed resettlements. Many potential problems were identified and resolved through monitoring and oversight, and record resettlement was achieved without serious incidents.

Now, without apparently knowing what he has revealed he tells us how the NGOs (the federally-funded refugee contractors, Leftwing phony ‘religious’ groups) really run the show he claims they tried not to “politicize.”

Perhaps that was why I was so perplexed in 1986 to receive a scathing letter from one of Minnesota’s leading politicians demanding that I cease resettlement of Hmong in Minnesota forthwith. This demand was so out of character for Minnesota that I immediately informed NGOs working on Hmong resettlement. By the end of the next week, Minnesotans were so outraged that I received letters reversing earlier criticisms and asking for more Hmong refugees.

Unbelievable!  He was the US State Department’s director of the Refugee Admissions Program and he tipped off his contractors that an elected official in Minnesota was having a problem with the refugee program and they in turn ginned-up letters from their flocks (Catholics and Lutherans mostly) to send him asking for more Hmong refugees.  (This was of course a few years before the major influx of Somalis to Minnesota began.)

So why wasn’t this all handled as he said they designed the program, through the State Refugee Coordinator?  Why? Because the program is run by the contractors who are paid out of the US Treasury to place refugees wherever they choose!  (See my recent post with a list of the present-day contractors, here.)

There will be no real reform of the US Refugee Program as long as the contractors are paid by us while acting as Leftwing political agitation groups.

*** Go here to see who your state refugee coordinator is.  If you know anything about the program in your state you will notice that many of them are affiliated with a federal contractor.

Got a problem in your state, or just want to know more about the program there?  Call your coordinator.  You can start by asking for your state’s most recent Refugee Plan on file with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.  Be polite and you will get some information (maybe not much!) but something.

Don’t miss my post on the major drug bust of Hmong in Wisconsin recently.