The Refugee Resettlement Mess In The Words Of Three Experts.
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Some 80, 000 refugees enter the US every year under the Refugee Act. It’s basically an expedited, subsidized (refugees are immediately eligible for benefits) immigration program for favored groups—notably, in the past, Soviet Jews. I’ve covered this scandal for since 2000. Recently, three comments by experts caught my eye.

Anne Richard, formerly of the private refugee resettlement contractor International Rescue Committee and now directing the State Department’s refugee bureau, talked with contractors about the successes of the refugee resettlement program. (Remarks: 2013 Refugee Resettlement Conferences. May 20, 2013)

Refugee “self-sufficiency” has always been an important measure of success in refugee resettlement and a basis for assigning refugees to contractors. In other words: do well in showing your refugees are “self-sufficient” and you will be rewarded with more contracts and more money.

But amazingly, after decades where the primary program emphasis has been on employment and “self-sufficiency,” all the upbeat Richards could cite as employers of refugees are

That’s it. No wonder the Refugee Industry has had to redefine “self-sufficiency” downward.

Today, a refugee can be considered officially “self-sufficient” while using all of these federal programs:

  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Public Housing
  • Cash from Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) (direct services only)
  • Child Care and Development Fund
  • Independent Living Program
  • Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals (JOLI)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Postsecondary Education Loans and Grants
  • Refugee Assistance Programs
  • Title IV Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Payments (if parents are qualified immigrants-refugees, asylees, etc)
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Funds

In contrast, Ann Corcoran’s Refugee Resettlement Watch recently featured (Former refugee resettlement worker blows the whistle on refugee program failures; calls for moratorium) a devastating open letter from a former Deputy Director of the International Rescue Committee [IRC] Boston office to his former colleague at the State Department.

Michael Sirois, a 25-year veteran in the field, wrote:

Early on, I grew familiar with the fraud that was rampant throughout the program, from the refugees themselves (sometimes forgivable), the overseas OPE’s [Overseas Processing Entity] (not forgivable) and on up to the UN (most unforgivable). Most of my colleagues were also aware of it, and while they often joked about it, almost no one did anything to change or challenge it.

In our work, it was all about ‘getting the numbers,’ often at the expense of legitimate screening for ‘real’ refugees.

To be honest, I never turned a blind eye to obvious fraud, but had been instructed to give all refugee applicants “the benefit of the doubt.” Yet there were many applications about which I had serious reservations. Some of them were classically laughable ( “I don’t remember my mother’s name…let me make a phone call…”). There were more than a few applicants that I rejected (or referred to another Volag ["voluntary agency", frequently church-based] that might not have had the same concerns).”….

My major concern was helping people re-unite with close and legitimate family members whose relationship I believed to exist in fact. I can’t tell you how many times, after resettlement that those relationships were revealed to be fraudulent. Sometimes the reasons were understandable from a human kindness point of view (claiming an orphaned niece as a sister), but often those “relationships” were simple financial transactions.

In my long years at the IRC, I assisted many ethnic groups. I can say without reservation that the Somalis were among the most duplicitous. There was a time when I suggested that they swear on the Quran before signing the affidavit of relationship. Most of the time they would flee and not return. That practice was discontinued, being deemed politically incorrect.

All of us in the field know just how weak the “security screening” was. It’s mostly a very poor and ineffective system of simple name checks from countries that for the most part keep no records [Emphases added]

Sirois ended his letter with a plea for a moratorium on the program, as the current program “is a huge mess and a danger to our security and a detriment to our economy and society.”

Which brings me to my third expert:

Ken Tota, [Email him] Deputy Director at HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, made the mind-boggling comment, at an Office of Refugee Resettlement conference, that Congress has never in his 25-year tenure questioned the refugee quota proposed by any Administration. [Fact Sheets, Refugee Resettlement Watch, June 20th, 2013]

I tried to decide the tone of his delivery—was it derisive, mocking, triumphalist? A reader of the transcript of the talk might be excused for assuming it was reported in just such tones. It should have been reported in such tones.

In actuality, wonderment is more like it—such as that experienced by someone pushing on a door and finding that it swings open with no resistance.

Indeed, abject wonderment is the only response any sane American can have to our irrational, nation-breaking refugee program.


Thomas Allen (email him) describes himself as a recovering refugee worker

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