Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Bill Lee of Tennessee want the Senate to hold hearings on what they see as an outrageous affront to states’ rights as the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is flying Unaccompanied Alien Children (refugee wannabes) in and out of their states with no communication with the governor or state officials.
We all know that a Senate hearing is nothing but a useless piece of political theater that won’t accomplish smack, but these grandstanding Republican governors obviously think they can trick you into believing they are doing something!
And, what makes me steam over this little temper tantrum by Reynolds and Lee is that they had a chance to take a stand for states’ rights on the issue of the federal government dumping refugees on states and communities back when Trump was attempting to give them more rights (actually give them the rights they are due under our US Constitution) and they snubbed their noses at him.
Trump was trying to give them a chance to say they needed a break from refugees being placed in their states by the feds and unelected non-profit group actors, and they turned him down.
19 migrant children had a layover in an Iowa airport. Gov. Kim Reynolds wants Congress to get answers
With no notice to the state, at least 19 unaccompanied children were transported in an overnight flight through Des Moines from California in April, Gov. Kim Reynolds confirmed Thursday, saying she wants to know more details.
After deplaning, the children were taken on two buses to be transported to various locations for unification, according to a Thursday news release from Reynolds’ office.
“We weren’t able to get any answers about why there were chartered planes coming in the middle of night — chartered buses — and unaccompanied minors removed from the plane and then transported outside of the state,” Reynolds told reporters Thursday.
In April, a total of 163 unaccompanied migrant children were released to sponsors in Iowa, according to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement statistics.
Reynolds and Lee — who says unaccompanied minor children were brought to his state in May without any notification — wrote the joint letter to Grassley in support of the senator’s demands for a Senate Judiciary Hearing into the situation on the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Gov. Bill Lee is asking the U.S. Senate to investigate the arrival of unaccompanied migrant children in Tennessee, a request that comes as the Republican governor continues to slam the Biden administration over a lack of transparency on the issue.
Lee and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a fellow Republican, sent the letter on Thursday to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Grassley in April requested that Senate Democrats hold hearings to discuss the influx of migrants at the southern border since President Joe Biden took office.
Their demand for a hearing is easy.
Their demand for “transparency” is their way of making you, voting citizens of Iowa and Tennessee, think that they are doing something, but when given a chance to really take a stand for a state’s right to know who is being placed in their states by the feds, and have an opportunity to say no, they just didn’t have the guts.
Texas Governor Abbot wrote a detailed letter that ended with him not giving consent to refugees being placed by the feds in Texas for FY2020.
Both Kemp of Georgia and DeSantis of Florida remained silent.
Word is that the Trump people were very shocked and disappointed that most Republican governors turned down the President’s attempt to give them more say, to give them some modicum of states’ rights, in advance of a refugee drop.
If you are wondering whatever happened to that reform effort via a Trump executive order, the refugee resettlement contractors (below) sued and stopped the initiative dead in its tracks.
Editor: I started this post yesterday, but couldn’t finish it as RRW went down for awhile making me very nervous. I don’t know what that was about, but it seems to be working fine today. Sure hope you didn’t experience any problems visiting.
I told you back in January that Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota had filed for bankruptcy after getting mired in some affordable housing scheme that is too complex to bother with here.
In the process they are losing their fancy and expensive building, a building I saw in my 2016 travels to the state.
So the assumption was that refugee flow into the state was going to be halted at least for awhile.
You might recall that North Dakota’s Republican governor did NOT support President Trump’s effort at reforming the Refugee Admissions Program by allowing local and state governments to have some say in the process of determining the target sites for resettlement.
That brings us to the latest breaking news as Fargo’s Valley News Live says that refugees are being placed in Fargo:
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said Tuesday that he sat in on a phone call in which Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services stated that they had resettled approximately 25 refugees in Fargo-Moorhead. Deputy Mayor Piepkorn shared concern that he had not been made aware of the resettlement and he questioned whether the City of Fargo was notified prior to rehoming the refugees.
Questions have been raised as to how the action was coordinated. Prior to filing bankruptcy, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) was tasked with refugee resettlement in the state.
Former LSS Director, Jessica Thomasson, now works as the Executive Policy Director at ND Department of Human Services.
The country of origin of the refugees was not made known. In a recent interview with Chris Berg, Gov. Burgum stated that he was open to resettling refugees in the state but he was unaware of any plan to resettle undocumented immigrants from the southern border.
Be sure to watch Chris Berg’s interview with Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn where Piepkorn says he doubts anyone was notified and mentioned specifically the school system.
In response to Deputy Mayor Piepkorn….
President Trump’s failed reform initiative sought to give local governments an opportunity to review plans for resettlement in their jurisdictions with a yes or no sign-off, governors would also have to approve or disapprove the plan.
Shockingly, most Republican governors, including North Dakota’s Doug Burgum, did not back the President’s efforts to shore-up their Tenth Amendment states’ rights.
Here is one of many, many posts on the feckless Republican governors:
At present local governments are supposed to be consulted, but I will bet that the resettlement agency only talked to friendly “stakeholders” in the process of preparing an “abstract” that must be submitted to the US State Department in advance of placements in a given location.
Any elected official should be able to request permission to attend a stakeholder meeting and be permitted to see a recent R & P Abstract prepared by a local resettlement contractor.
Of course, in the case of ND (with no agency operating at the moment), one would most likely go to the state’s Department of Human Services for the most recent Abstract and a schedule of stakeholder meetings.
LOL! that would be the agency now headed by former LSS CEO Thomasson.
One final note: For years we were able to see which refugees went to which towns and cities on an almost daily basis and all the way back to 2002. That database is no longer available. It was shuttered during Trump’s tenure. The feds claimed the website is being overhauled.
Except for the most recent arrivals in the present fiscal year, we are left completely in the dark about the numbers, nationalities and resettlement locations of thousands and thousands of refugee arrivals.
Although stymied by the courts at other levels, the important Tenth Amendment case involving the Constitutional challenge against the federal government’s ever increasing cost-shifting to the states for the care of refugees is still alive.
There was a time when I thought that the political process was the place to change refugee policy in America, but truthfully I am seeing little hope of any real change as Trump enters his fourth year in the White House.
Cutting the number of admissions is fine, but no real structural changes have been sought for the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program by the administration. (The governor approval process seriously backfired, and Congress is useless as members cower in fear of being called racists.)
Maybe there is still some hope that the courts will see how unfair and unconstitutional it is for states to carry a financial burden placed on them by the feds.
Eagle Forum Files Brief Supporting Thomas More Law Center’s ‘Federalism Challenge’ to Tennessee Refugee Resettlement Program
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Eagle Forum and its Tennessee chapter added their influential voices urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the Thomas More Law Center’s request to review (“petition for certiorari”) a Sixth Circuit Court decision which held that the Tennessee General Assembly lacked institutional standing to challenge the Federal Refugee Resettlement program. Their amicus brief (“friend of the court brief”), authored by Nashville attorney Joanne Bregman, was filed late last week.
Bregman observed, “The ongoing conversations between the President and state governors concerning recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing a renewed interest in federalism – the same constitutional principle of dual sovereignty which is the basis of the General Assembly’s lawsuit against federal commandeering of state dollars to fund the federal refugee resettlement program.”
The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and John Bursch, a nationally prominent appellate lawyer are representing the General Assembly without charge. Bursch authored the General Assembly’s petition for certiorari, which asks the Supreme Court to overturn the Sixth Circuit’s ruling.
The petition for certiorari, filed on March 16, 2020, objects to forcing Tennessee taxpayers to pay the costs of the resettlement: “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 Eagle Forum, a national conservative organization with 80,000 members founded by the late legendary Phyllis Schlafly in 1972, has significantly impacted public policy at both state and national levels. The Tennessee chapter headed by Mrs. Bobbie Patray was the first state chapter to question the power of the federal government to coerce state legislators to use state revenues to fund the federal refugee resettlement program.
Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel, commented:
“Justice Scalia considered the principles of federalism, the same principles that undergird our challenge to the federal refugee resettlement program, more important to the American democracy than the Bill of Rights.
Considering the continued controversy between the Nation’s governors and the President over the best way to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a grant of certiorari would present the Supreme Court with an opportunity to calm the waters over their conflicting claims of power by expounding on Federalism 101.”
Continued Thompson, “Because of the significance of this issue, I’m grateful that the Eagle Forum and its Tennessee chapter were able to assist our efforts to obtain Supreme Court review.”
According to the amicus brief: “Forcing state legislators to expend state resources outside of the normal appropriations process directly interferes with their duties to the state and to their constituents. If the federal government cannot compel a state to fund federal programs, then a state should not be forced to divert funding from essential and traditional state government services in order to operationalize a federal program from which the state has withdrawn.”
Tennessee initially agreed to participate in the federal refugee resettlement program. But when the federal government refused to cover the state costs as it originally promised and as the 1980 Refugee Act intended, Tennessee withdrew from the program in 2008. Nevertheless, the federal government merely designated Catholic Charities of Tennessee, a non-governmental private organization, to continue the program while still forcing the state to pay for it.
Bregman notes the threat to state sovereignty powers by federally coerced spending, especially at a time when the needs of Tennessee’s citizens are dire, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of deadly tornadoes which ripped through 100 miles of Tennessee counties.
The amicus brief concludes, “There is no room in the Constitution’s framework to permit the federal government or its agencies to take state funds without the express consent of the state’s appropriating body.”