Back in 2013, when I attended an Office of Refugee Resettlement meeting in Lancaster, PA, government officials identified Georgia as having a‘pocket of resistance’ because the Republican Governor, Nathan Deal, had asked the feds to stop sending so many, that Georgia was overloaded. So it is no surprise that Gov. Deal is saying the same thing today. (And, it looks like his appeal to the US State Department fell on deaf ears!)
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration doesn’t want to see the number of refugees resettling in Georgia increase, despite pleas from humanitarian officials urging the U.S. to take in substantially more Syrians fleeing their war-torn country.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, Deal urged a cautious approach to the desperate refugee crisis unfolding across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. The governor repeated his assertion – disputed by some advocates – that Georgia takes in more than its fair share of refugees.
Deal’s administration confirmed Tuesday it has asked the State Department to keep the number of refugees resettling in the Peach State “static” going into the next fiscal year.
“We will be welcoming,” Deal told the AJC. “But we want to make sure we’re not taking a disproportionately large share of them compared to other parts of the country.”
This is very interesting considering Reed has been promoting Atlanta as a welcoming city.
Deal’s wary approach to the escalating crisis was echoed by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, typically one of the region’s most forceful advocates of a welcoming policy to immigrants and refugees. He said he needed more time to evaluate the city’s position and that he would likely follow the lead of the Obama administration, which is weighing its options.
“I’m not going to get ahead of the federal government with regards to the Syrian refugee crisis,” he said.
The Deal administration has previously called on the U.S. State Department to sharply reduce the numbers of refugees being resettled in Georgia, citing state and local taxpayer costs associated with taking in the refugees, school budget shortfalls and other concerns.
Local resettlement agencies have long pushed back, beyond arguing that Georgia has a moral obligation to embrace refugees. They say refugees attract millions of dollars in federal aid money, form a ready pool of eager employees and ultimately create businesses and pay taxes.
LOL! A reduction of 16 refugees sure doesn’t sound like a reduction to me!
Last year, the U.S. State Department confirmed it had limited the number of all refugees coming to Georgia, based partly on the Deal administration’s concerns. The number of refugees who have been resettling in Georgia dropped by less than 1 percent over the past two fiscal years, from 2,710 to 2,694.
Deal is right here. The resettlement contractors put “natural enemies” together in some cities expecting (naively?) that the mythical magic melting pot will do its work and the lion will lay down with the lamb or some such foolishness!
“When they decide where they bring in individuals,” Deal said, “they need to do a better job of making sure they haven’t put an over-concentration of people from different countries, some of whom have been natural enemies of each other. Trying to put them side-by-side in a small community like Clarkston is not doing a service to those individuals.”
EndNote: I don’t know whatever happened with Athens, GA where the mayor (a Democrat) wanted answers from the feds before she put a stamp of approval on a refugee program for Athens. Does anyone know whatever happened? Did the contractor, the International Refugee Committee, set up shop there?