Barnett: Time to bring refugee program out of the shadows

2014-03-23T10:45:00Z Barnett: Time to bring refugee program out of the shadowsBy DON BARNETT Casper Star-Tribune Online
March 23, 2014 10:45 am  • 

Refugee resettlement was once the calling of true sacrificial charity and the work of private sponsors who invested their own resources. Today, it is the work of federal contractors who have no responsibility a mere 3-4 months after the refugee has arrived.

Traditional sponsor duties have been replaced by access to all forms of welfare upon arrival for refugees and an opaque stream of grant money from seemingly every government agency except NASA.

In recent years up to 95 percent of the refugees coming to the U.S. were referred by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees or were the relatives of U.N.-picked refugees. Until the late 1990s, the U.S. picked the large majority of refugees for resettlement in the U.S.

Considering that the refugee influx causes increases in all legal and illegal immigration as family and social networks are established in the U.S., the U.N. is effectively dictating much of U.S. immigration policy.

A network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with the U.S. State Department “selects communities where refugees will live” according to a 2012 GAO report, “Refugee Resettlement — Greater Consultation With Community Stakeholders Could Strengthen Program.”

They don’t place refugees in D.C. where the NGOs have offices which lobby for more refugees and money. They don’t place refugees in Delaware, home of Joe Biden, co-sponsor of the 1980 Refugee Act which defines the program we have today. 

The GAO report is critical of refugee contractors and how they place refugees in local communities across the U.S., noting of the resettlement contractors “few agencies we visited consulted relevant local stakeholders, which posed challenges for service providers.” The report found that “... most public entities such as public schools and health departments generally said that agencies notified them of the number of refugees expected to arrive in the coming year, but did not consult them regarding the number of refugees they could serve...” 

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, the affiliate proposed for Wyoming for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) the fourth largest refugee contractor in the nation, takes this penchant for operating in secret to the max. According to notes from a February 2014 board of directors meeting the process of selecting resettlement sites in Wyoming has been “complicated by both the state and a private citizen advocate providing media availability to a local paper. Media coverage at this stage is potentially damaging to the success of the overall process…”

There is a reason for the secrecy.

The program places significant unfunded costs on state and local taxpayers in the form of social services which must be provided.

According to the latest data available, a federal study of refugees who have been in the country 5 years or less, the unemployment rate for refugees was 21 percent compared with 9 percent for the U.S. population in 2010. Twenty-six percent were dependent on cash assistance, 63 percent were in the food stamp program and 48 percent were in Medicaid or short-term federal Refugee Medical Assistance. The federal welfare program SSI is a good indicator of long-term welfare dependency rates. It is generally a lifetime entitlement and usually includes Medicaid and other social services. The federal study of arrivals over the previous five years found an 11.6 percent rate of usage – about 2.5 times the national average.

Most of this cost is borne by the federal taxpayer, but programs such as Medicaid have state cost components as well.

There is even secrecy in the meaning of official language used in the program. For instance, it will be claimed - and the media will report - that refugees are “self-sufficient” in some amazingly short period of time. But as officially defined, refugees are considered “self-sufficient” even if they are living in public housing, receiving Medicaid and Food Stamps. They can receive cash assistance from local, state and federal sources, such as SSI. Only TANF disqualifies one from being “self-sufficient."

Then there is the money racket. As a state refugee coordinator notes in the 2012 GAO report, “local 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.”

Refugee resettlement is very profitable for the non-profits.

At the point of his recent retirement the CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, another resettlement affiliate of LIRS, was making $441,767 a year in salary and benefits – almost all taxpayer-supplied.

It is time to bring this program out of the shadows.

Don Barnett is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Jon Sobieski
    Report Abuse
    Jon Sobieski - April 02, 2014 10:43 am
    The Refugee Racket is a $10 billion a year fraud and theft racket. All of the 'refugee resettlement contractors' are consuming enormous $$$$ from the govt. with no oversight, no audit, and no reveiws. The CEOs of these refugee resettlement agencies are paid salaries exceeding $400,000 annually with no government oversight. All of the refugeee resettlement agencies are ran by extreme leftists. You see, to them, their plan works beautifully. Import a 100,000 unassimilable, low IQ, culturally dysfunctional people, place them on the govt dole forever, and then sign them up for the Democratic party. Voila, instant Democrats, who will always vote for Democrats because they promise to give them everything they need. Who else is making a killing in the refugee racket? The meat producers and hotel magnates. Here's how it works. You give the new refugees a low wage job, and work with the refugee resettlement agency to get them on the govt dole (food stamps, section 8, SSI, SSDI, TANF, WIC, 'cash aid', etc.). VOILA! They are now self sufficient! The refugee resettlement contractors then propagandize how 'self sufficient' the refugee is, i.e.. by THEIR definition of self sufficiency. So who loses? The taxpayers, who foot the bill FOREVER for these low income, incompatible, unassimilable new Americans. The local communities must also tolerate the intolerable and must change their own behavior to not offend the new Americans.

    It's a great plan. After all, even Mohammad himself made it clear to the early Muslims, if you don't like what I command, I will replace you with another.

    Welcome to Third World America, brought to you by the 'do gooders' who don't live in your community, don't want these new Americans near them, and think YOU should pay for it all as they tear your culture and make your small town and city unrecognizable.

    Join the refugee racket. It's all good!
  2. JRichardson
    Report Abuse
    JRichardson - March 24, 2014 11:39 am
    Please don't let what happened in Manchester NH happen in your state. The refugee program only pays their way for the first three months and then drives them down to the local welfare office and washes their hands. This has caused our own people to be placed on long waiting lists (4 years+ for public housing) and our health dept ran out of money the first month. The schools are spending over $1million just to teach English. Do yourself a favor and contact the Mayor of Manchester NH, Ted Gatsas and hear what he has to say. Once you open your state to this refugee program you will soon find yourself a dumping ground. The refugee program is nothing more than a group of people who profit from each refugee that enters the country. Don't be fooled by these do-gooders with other people's money.
  3. Jewel
    Report Abuse
    Jewel - March 24, 2014 11:38 am
    My own experience with refugees consisted of home visitations with Mental Health/Mental Retardation workers who examine children for lead poisoning. In one case, a family from Africa was given a place to live where the conditions were almost unlivable. One of the children got extreme lead poisoning from living in this slum. They were since relocated to another housing project where the crime - due to drugs - was a constant source of fear for them. I have to ask: Is it really humane to relocated people who are not culturally and physically acclimated to surroundings that will all but guarantee their despair? The burdens upon so many of them to navigate paperwork and job/school requirements is very overwhelming. For those who come here to scam or game the system, there is no recompense to the surrounding communities which have to 'tolerate' their diversity, even as they are being panhandled, violated and victimized.
    And the NGOs all look the other way. I have met these people. They don't seem to have any sympathy at all for either their clients or the people who live with them.
    On other occasions, I have dealt with refugees who seem to think our laws do not apply to them, or who have such mental disorders they don't even know where they are. And the tax payers all pay for them.
  4. IntheKnow5
    Report Abuse
    IntheKnow5 - March 24, 2014 6:19 am
    When the federal government created this program it promised the states that the feds would pay for it. Predictably, within a short time, the federal government shifted the majority of cost to the states and even admitted to doing so. To add insult to injury, the federal rules say specifically that eligible refugees are to be enrolled into state Medicaid programs and the federal agency in charge of refugee resettlement issued guidelines to the federal contractors doing the resettlement, to use vouchers instead of cash so that refugees can maintain their income eligibility for food stamps and Medicaid. This federal program violates the 10th amendment in many ways.
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