“I wanted to come here, have a nice house, a car, but they kill your son,” she said. “They broke my heart. They killed me, too.”
(Mother questioning why she ever came from the DR Congo to Chicago)
Stories are increasingly showing up in the media about refugees placed by federally funded resettlement agencies in to cheap housing in dangerous neighborhoods.
Yesterday I postedthis story from San Antonio, and reader ‘ganjagrandma’ sent another story from last week about Milwaukee, Chicago and Rockford, Illinois where not only were refugees placed in slum housing, but were targets of violence and murder in the neighborhoods where they were placed.
(I suspect those refugees in a Boise housing complex are feeling like Darlis’ mother.)
Of course, I am a little suspicious about this spate of stories because I think what it is leading to is a demand for more federal money for refugee agencies and an opportunity to blame Donald Trump yet again for being heartless.
You need to know a couple of things before I go on with this latest news on the subject. Continue reading “Refugees placed in rough neighborhoods, not so sure it was a good idea to come to America”→
Update:This group of Syrians will NOT now be placed in Hudson because the Dept. of State says they need more medical care than Hudson has to offer. They are going somewhere else. This case is all very strange from start to finish and it strikes me that Obama’s outgoing resettlement team is in disarray. Read about it here. See what the Catholic Church says, here.
I told you about a proposed (strange) arrangement to resettle 5 Syrian refugee families in the small town of Hudson, Wisconsin, here last month. A Catholic Church was being asked by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (a federal refugee contractor) to take full responsibility for the Syrian families. I wondered if that church would get the full per head amount of federal resettlement contract money.
A large meeting is (was?) scheduled in Hudson in early January to take the pulse of the community.
Local readers (who have formed a citizens’ group in opposition) tell me that that plan was suddenly scrapped and Lutheran Social Services out of Milwaukee came to town this week and condescendingly told residents, no, they (LSS), were going to bring the Syrians to Hudson and it was going to be a whole lot more than 21 (believed to be included in the five families).
Then, when I looked around this morning, I see that 7th District Congressman Sean Duffy sent a letteryesterday to the CEO of Lutheran Social Services in Wisconsin asking questions that every careful and concerned Member of Congress should be asking if he/she is being told ‘out of the blue’ that Syrian refugees (or any refugees!) were being chosen for the district.
Here is Duffy’s letter:
I think most of you are surprised to see a reference to any assessment!
Where is the assessment for any of the 47 new sites we are told the US Department of State is considering in the closing days of the Obama Administration? If Rep. Duffy and others want to do a service to America they could reform the Refugee Admissions Program legislatively and require PUBLIC assessments of the suitability of communities to absorb large numbers of third world refugees! Endnote: When I checked my archives, I see I wrote about Hudson, Wisconsin in January 2014 when rival Somali gangs came over from Minnesota and got into a fight in Hudson, see here.
Our Wisconsin archive is here. ***Update***Wimpy Walker weighs in on refugees to Wisconsin here. It isn’t clear that he understands the present process. If he wants to see things change he better get in touch with pal Paul (Ryan) to change the law in Congress!
First, this proposal to a specific Catholic Church to effectively become a resettlement agency in a town with no resettlement office tells me that the refugee industry is getting desperate.
Frankly, as Congress has not appropriated enough money for Obama’s large refugee numbers for FY17 (already underway) because it has not acted on the budget for the upcoming year, contractorslike the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are looking for ways to pawn off some of their responsibilities on, in this case, an individual church.
Members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church are apparently in the process of deciding if they will take responsibility for five(most likely Muslim since 99% of the Syrians entering the US now are Muslims) families. (I saw this story almost a week ago, so maybe they have already decided.)
This is a huge undertaking. I watched as a church near where I live in 2007 took on the responsibility for one family and it was an enormous chore that didn’t end well. My local story is a long story, but members of St. Patricks must be prepared for many duties not the least of which is shuttling refugees in their own cars to myriad appointments (doctors, schools, social service departments) and often to jobs for months (one of the first things volunteers ultimately become weary of!).
And, one of the other things that volunteers tire of is the lack of appreciation some ethnic groups of refugees show for volunteers. I can’t say that will happen here, but the fun and excitement of taking care of Africans and Middle Easterners wears thin when the refugees act entitled.
One more thing before I get to the story: Hudson, Wisconsin is on the border of Minnesota. Normally a federal contractor has an office within a hundred miles of where it places the refugees, but the three offices maintained by the Bishops in Wisconsin (Greenbay, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee) are all hundreds of miles away. However, the USCCB office in St. Paul, Minnesota is only 18 miles from Hudson so I assume that out-of-state office will be sending the federal money to St. Patrick’s. My first thought is that the USCCB is now making decisions from over the border in Minnesota for what happens in another state. Here is the newsfrom the Hudson Star-Observer:
Rev. John Gerritts and St. Patrick’s Church received a call from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the parish to assist with the resettlement of five Syrian refugee families from a camp in Turkey to Hudson. The church has not yet made a decision.
The conference is one of several organizations that helps with the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. Through the program, the U.S. will admit 85,000 refugees this year [reporter has it wrong, that was FY16, the number for FY17 is 110,000—ed] , according to the U.S. State Department.
These five refugee families have been vetted by the government and approved for resettlement in the United States, a process that can take between 18 and 24 months, Gerritts explained.
“It’s quite thorough and lengthy,” Gerritts said. “They are fully approved to move here. This is working through the government.”
Hudson was selected as the families’ new home because they indicated they had a relative in Hudson during the vetting process. [One relative and five families are coming? Sounds fishy—ed]
Whether or not these five refugee families come to Hudson is not up to the church, as they have already been approved by the federal government. Instead St. Patrick’s is being asked to be a resource to spearhead the resettlement.
Usually, after a location for resettlement is determined, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will reach out to an agency in the area that specializes in resettlement. The Hudson community does not have an agency like this, so instead St. Patrick’s has been asked to assist. St. Patrick’s is one of the first parishes in the country who have been asked to take on this role.
St. Patrick’s would not bear any of the financial cost for these services. The church would be responsible for disbursing the government funding provided for refugee resettlement.
For the full story, go here.
LOL! Parishioners at St. Patrick’s better get that in writing and the town of Hudson’s elected officials are presumably being briefed because there will be many costs to local taxpayers!
For new readers in Wisconsin, see our ‘Ten things your town needs to know’ by clicking here. It is not just one Catholic parish that will be impacted by the decision, but the whole town! If you don’t like what is happening be sure to let Speaker Paul Ryan hear from you!
Call home Paul Ryan! This outrageous “savings” program is one of many, you as Speaker of the House, need to investigate!
I’m guessing this is not an isolated case.
For new readers, Speaker Paul Ryan has not allowed any serious Refugee Act reform bills (he allowed one sham bill because he knew the Senate wouldn’t pass it anyway) to move forward in the House during his tenure as speaker and for that matter neither has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
These so-called ‘Individual Development Accounts’ are an abomination and potentially rife with fraud. When taxpayers learn about them (we have mentioned them on many occasions) they are shocked.
The federal government actually gives grants to non-profit refugee agencies to administer a program which allows refugees to get matching funds when they save money for four things (Education, business, home or car).
How would you like to get such a deal:
For every dollar a refugee saves, he/she is matched a dollar out of the US Treasury (your pocket)!
But, again the program is managed by a resettlement contractor (with no accountability to the taxpayer) like this one in Milwaukee. Financial audits/investigations of the contractors are rare.
From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (hat tip: Joanne):
A Milwaukee nonprofit that offers after-school programs for refugee children and other assistance for refugees is under investigation for alleged misuse of federal funds.
The Pan-African Community Association gave money to at least 32 people who were not eligible to receive funds, investigators with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement have found, according to records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the Freedom of Information Act.
In addition, the organization violated terms of federal grants by spending more than 35% of its annual budget on administrative costs and paying individuals in the form of money orders, rather than paying vendors directly for items purchased, the reports state.
The association received more than $440,000 in federal funds from 2012 to 2015 to help refugees from Africa and around the world buy cars and houses and to open businesses in Milwaukee. Using Individual Development Accounts, the program was designed to offer matching grants to refugees who, for example, saved at least $2,000 of their own money to go toward the purchase of a car or $4,000 toward a house.
The Pan-African Community Association is contracted through the “preferred communities program,” with the Ethiopian Community Development Council. The council, in turn, is one of about 10 [nine actually—ed] national organizations— mostly faith-based — that the federal government contracts with to provide services to refugees.
Continue here for more of the gory details and denials.
I haven’t written about “preferred communities” since here in 2014. But, you might have a look and see if your city is one of them. They don’t change often.
Time to listen to ‘Mom for Trump’ (I am not going to quit trying to persuade you that right now there is only one place to put pressure to slow the flow of third worlders to your towns—Congress!):
Ann, could you tell all your readers on a daily basis to call our useless Congress @ 202 224 3121 and have them say DEFUND REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM. I call daily and if enough of us do so, we can make a difference.
If you have problems getting a live person on the phone when you call Washington (like I did when I called my Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) the other day), then find out the locations and phone numbers of their district and state offices and call those. When you have someone on the phone on Tuesday (they surely won’t be there on Monday), in addition to telling them to defund the program, find out where your member or Senator will be in the coming weeks and be there! Ask (in person, in front of an audience) if he or she will Defund the Refugee Resettlement Program when they get back to DC after the election.
We’ve been talking about those pesky R & P Abstracts for more than a year now and some of you are starting to get-it and get them!
By ‘get-it’ I mean that these documents, prepared at the level of your local resettlement contractor with the help and guidance of one of the major nine federal contractors, are the blueprints for what is being planned for your town for the upcoming fiscal year. Update:I’ve been talking about all of this for so long I forget that new people don’t know how to find a contractor near them. Go here and find an office near you (any of the agencies within a hundred miles of you could be bringing refugees to your town). Call or write to the office and ask for a copy of the FY2017 R & P Abstract.
Fiscal year 2017 begins October 1, 2016.
It is my contention that the public is entitled to this document in advance because you have a right to know what Washington has planned for your town (especially because you are paying for this!)
You should be told about this plan before it even goes to Washington where it becomes the basis for the President’s ‘determination’ in September when he sends his wishlist for how many refugees Congress must fundfor the upcoming year. For eight of the last nine years that I’ve been following the program, Congress says NOT a word and just takes the Presidential determination with a ‘yes master, anything you say, master’ attitude.
Last year there was a little push-back, but ultimately Congress (Speaker Paul Ryan!) agreed to pay for the increased number of new refugees (from the average of about 70,000 to 85,000 for FY16) to accommodate the Syrian influx. So here we go again. Obama has one more shot at changing America by changing the people. The minimum number we can expect Obama to propose is 100,000.
Before I get to what an Abstract looks like and what you should do with it when you get it, I want to say that not only should communities have this document and see it published in a local newspaper, but it should be discussed in the community before it is finalized. I recommend that every ‘welcoming’ community hold a public hearing at the mayor/council level to discuss the numbers being proposed and the amenities the town is offering the refugees.
[Note to long time readers, we have done this exercise before, see especially herewhen I obtained the R & P Abstract for a new resettlement site—Reno, NV. Perhaps re-read that post now. And, I encourage your local research teams to read through the ‘Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2016, report to Congress’by clicking here as part of their investigative work.]
Why do I know that the R & P Abstracts are important for you to obtain? Because the contractors do not want you to see them! In fact one of the nine contractors (maybe all of them!) sent a message to their subcontractors this past year specifically instructing their offices to NOT give them out to anyone who calls. So what are they hiding?
Despite attempts to keep them from public view, some of you are successfully obtaining your local Abstracts and a few are actually receiving the plan for FY2017 and not the older ones. Of course in many of these cases it has taken a Freedom of Information Act request, but at least you have them. A few of the ones I have seen are not complete based on the 16 pages of the document for Reno, NV which includes VERY useful and informative letters of support from various entities and agencies including the local Islamic Center.
Let’s have a look at the troubled city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
Clearly the African-American community there is troubled! That is a given (you would have to be living under a rock to not know that!).
So what is the US State Department planning for Fiscal year 2017 with the paid help (you pay them!) of three resettlement contractors? They will be dropping off a total of 925 more impoverished people from Burma, Somalia, Iraq, DR Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bhutan (Nepal really), Eritrea and Ethiopia in FY 2017 alone to compete with the local African American community for work and for ‘services.’
There are three federal contractors (bidding for bodies) with offices set up in Milwaukee (three! why is there a need to have three agencies doing the same work?). They include the US Conference of Catholic Bishops(Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Inc.), USCRI (International Institute of Wisconsin), and the Ethiopian Community Development Council(Pan-African Community Association).
The Catholics say they want 500 refugees (included in their wish list are devout Rohingya Muslims from Burma). USCRI wants 300 and ECDC wants 125.
In light of the trouble Milwaukee has right now, if there was a public hearing in advance of these documents going to Washington, isn’t it likely that members of the public would say—well hold on here, we have a lot of problems we need to solve right here at home before we invite the world’s poverty to Wisconsin!
We will look at the R & P Abstract for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee (which also serves Sheboygan). (I confess I don’t know what every line of the document means!)
Of course you can see the location and the agency name. And, you can see that they expect to resettle 450 refugees by September 30th (for FY 2016).
Then the most important section follows where they fill in the numbers from each area of the world they want to place in Milwaukee beginning in October for FY17. “Tie capacity” means that there are some relatives or some others related in some way to those already there. Abbreviations:
AF = Africa. African ethnic groups we resettle are from: DR Congo, Somalia, Burundi, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and a few other lesser groups.
EA = East Asia. This group includes the large number of Burmese we have been admitting for years (and now including the Rohingya Muslims). Also, smaller numbers of Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotians and North Koreans are admitted from this region.
ECA = Europe and Central Asia. Ukrainians and those living in the former Soviet Union like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan fall in this group. Earlier we took tens of thousands from the Balkans.
LAC = Latin America and the Caribbean. One major country in this category is Colombia (don’t ask me why we favor Colombia!), and of course Cuba. Think about it, we still take tens of thousands of Cubans!
NE/SA= Near East and South Asia. This is the big category right now and includes: Afghanistan, Bhutan/Nepal, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Syria.
In our sample Abstract, Catholic Charities of Milwaukee*** wants more of the following ethnic groups to add diversity to a struggling city. Burmese, Chin, Karen and Rohingya are all religious minorities from Burma (Myanmar) where the Buddhist government wants to keep Burma for Buddhists only, so we see it as our job (America’s job) to take care of all their displaced people (even though the Karen and Rohingya are enemies of each other!). But, of course the naive do-gooders think all of their differences will melt away when placed together in slums in Milwaukee.
Somalis, Iraqis, Sudanese, Congolese and Cuban round out their wish list.
And, wow, see they have 50 languages available locally from which to select expensive interpreters!
See that PRM (that stands for the State Department branch called ‘Population Refugees and Migration’) has monitored the agency and found them not completely compliant with their contract in one recent year.
Now, let’s have a look at another page:
See the industries they will be placing their refugees with—Meatpacking is one! And, check out the wages. A family is not going to live on $8.75 an hour so of course the refugees will remain on welfare.
And notice that Catholic Charities is bragging that the government has great medical care available for refugees in Milwaukee. Oh boy, that means you get to pay for their Obamacare! Here is the third page of this abstract. And, by the way, I feel sure this abstract is not complete. If Reno was 16 pages this one has been shortened for some reason. What are they hiding?
Have a look at this chart. Here is what this is about. The contractor/subcontractor is supposed to be putting up its share of money for this supposed PUBLIC/PRIVATE partnership. So here they have to prove they have some skin in the game, that this isn’t being run completely out of the US taxpayers’ pockets (which it is, but here they try to pretend it isn’t).
What do you think the odds are that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which ponied-up a whopping $3,000 in cash from individuals in 2015, is actually going to find $100,000 from individuals in 2017? Don’t make me laugh!
Then see the line ‘Volunteer hours/miles!’ They need to find volunteers because the volunteers time and miles are turned into cash (on paper) for the purpose of showing the feds in this phony system that they are doing their share to contribute to the resettlement of hundreds of poor people to Milwaukee.
And, don’t miss the line with the amount of money local and state government is handing out (and they keep telling us this is completely funded from the federal level). Ha! Ha!
Then see the last line. CC says it will contribute $540 per refugee in cash in FY2017, but only managed $242 in 2015. Optimistic aren’t they!
And, that doesn’t mean the cash necessarily goes to the refugee, but likely goes toward the agency’s overhead!
If you want a really good laugh, you should see the Abstract for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) for FY17 for Milwaukee. They are going to contribute a grand total of $53 in cash per refugee they resettle while in 2015 they shelled out a whole $24 per refugee (whoop-de-do).
Are you still with me????
So what do you do with your local R & P Abstract once you get it?
You must make the document public!
You are going to have to figure out how to do that where you live. Go before your local government (when the media is there) and ask if your elected officials had any role in its preparation. Tell them to hold a public meeting to discuss it.
Make sure all those in your local group with similar concerns are given a copy.
If you are doing a power point presentation in your state, be sure to put the pages on the power point.
Take it to your Member of Congress and US Senators and tell them you disapprove of the numbers and that you don’t want them to vote to fund it.
Demand to know exactly which ethnic groups are coming to your town. And, are they screened for communicable diseases?
I feel like I am beating a dead horse with this next one…..
If you can’t get to the media (those local papers have been captured!), you will have to write a blog or website so all of the information you gather is made public by your own alternative media. Facebook pages are not as good because I don’t think you can catalog information for future reference.
It is pretty late in the cycle to make a huge impact this year with the Abstracts except to pressure Congress in to not funding Obama’s planned expansion of the program.
Next year? What do we do? Who knows…..It all depends on November!
*** Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee received almost $7 MILLION FROM US TAXPAYERS in the last 3 years. See USASpending.gov here.