Posts

Secrecy surrounds refugee program in Tennessee and in your state too!

This is an opinion piece published in The Tennessean yesterday and posted in its entirety here with permission from the author.

Barnett is an expert on the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program and its history having followed its progression for literally two decades.

From The Tennessean:

Before the Refugee Act of 1980, refugee resettlement was the work of true sacrificial charity, where sponsors and charities committed to maintaining and supporting the refugees with housing and employment, even medical care if needed. There was an explicit bar to the access of welfare benefits. The sponsor was responsible for all costs. This helped to guarantee assimilation and is how we absorbed post-WWII refugees, those fleeing communist oppression in Eastern Europe, the Hungarian Revolution and other upheavals.

Don Barnett 2

Don Barnett

With the 1980 Refugee Act and related laws, the charities morphed into money-making federal contractors whose main job is to link the refugees with social services and welfare benefits. The 1980 act made all welfare available to refugees upon arrival — for life, if eligibility is maintained.

Originally, the Refugee Act included three years of federal refugee cash assistance and medical insurance. As well, state governments were reimbursed for their expenditures on welfare used by refugees, such as Medicaid (TennCare), for three years. By 1991, reimbursement from the feds for state welfare expenditures had been completely eliminated and the three-year period of refugee cash and medical assistance for refugees was limited to eight months.

According to the most recent government data, even those refugees in the country for five years are largely dependent on taxpayer largesse. Sixty percent of this group receives food stamps and 17 percent are on the cash welfare program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A nationwide U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study shows 44 percent are still in Medicaid and 29 percent of families who have been here for five years have one or more members on the lifetime cash welfare program Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

This gives an idea of the costs to the federal taxpayer and of the unfunded federal mandate placed upon state taxpayers by this program.

Because of the byzantine structure of Tennessee’s program, there is no way to get exact costs. Both the state refugee coordinator and state refugee health coordinator, who are supposed to represent the state and its taxpayers, are actually employees of Catholic Charities, the federal contractor whose income rises in direct proportion to the numbers of refugees resettled. Further, the salary for both of these positions is paid not by the contractor, but by the feds. How’s that for a conflict of interest?

In a healthy and open environment, information would be made available from these two sources, which would help in evaluating program success and program costs, such as use of TennCare by refugees, rates of infection with communicable disease and so on. Alas, because of incentives and disincentives built into the refugee coordinators’ jobs, the best strategy for them is to withhold information.

Secrecy surrounds all aspects of the program. We have no idea what it is costing Tennessee. Statistics about medical conditions among refugees are secret. Even the numbers of refugee arrivals proposed for next year is a secret. And when arrival numbers are reported, after the fact, they are routinely reported as lower than actual numbers by conveniently neglecting to include categories of resettlement that are not official refugees, but that have the same entitlements — and benefits to the contractor — as refugees.

Orwellian use of language allows for absurd claims about refugee economic integration. For instance, refugees are considered officially “self-sufficient” even if they receive every federal welfare benefit except TANF. Refugees in temporary jobs or training programs are counted as “employed.” An unpublicized federal audit from 1999 obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request found that Memphis Catholic Charities was dropping refugees off at a day labor lot and reporting them as “employed.”

It was never intended that the sponsors, known as “Voluntary Agencies,” would be purely federal contractors with all the behavior, untoward incentives, money and influence peddling that this brings. Yet, that is what we have today.

There would be no issue with this program if refugees were resettled in the traditional way America has always absorbed refugees. As long as the current resettlement model persists, it is imperative that Tennesseans have a say in how state resources are used. The state attorney general should proceed with SJR 467 challenging the federal government’s presumed authority over state resources.

We have previously posted op-eds by Don Barnett or written about his work, click here for posts mentioning Barnett.

RELATED ARTICLES:

All the World’s Immigration Visualized in One Animated Map

Lack of transparency got citizens steamed in Rutland, VT in the first place

Idaho: Obama appointed US Attorney attempts to stifle free speech relating to sex assault case

Legal expert: Idaho US Attorney comments threaten free speech rights

Fargo: Lutheran federal refugee contractor kept information on active TB from public

NY Daily News calls RRW “conspiracy website” and lies

President Obama Now A Defendant In Lawsuit Concerning Refugee Resettlement

Brian Bilbro, a South Carolina resident, filed a lawsuit on February 12, 2016 against Governor Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), Lutheran Services and World Relief of Spartanburg, and the State Refugee Resettlement Agencies over the settlement of refugees in his state.

In addition to Governor Nikki Haley, Bilbro and Attorney Lauren Martel have added: numerous other State leaders, President Barack Hussein Obama, Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner, U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection, Ronald D. Vitiello, Deputy Chief Border Patrol, U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection, Thomas S. Winkowski, Acting Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Loretta Lynch, Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice and Subordinates, Jacob J. Lew, Secretary U.S. Department of Treasury and Subordinate, and Ann Richards, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, to the South Carolina lawsuit concerning the Refugee Resettlement Program.

The suit seeks to stop the State 2016 Refugee Resettlement Plan due to imminent risks to he and his family, personally and economically. This case though not only affects Bilbro and his family, but is seeking to protect all Americans residing in South Carolina.

According to the suit,

“The actions and lack of actions by the two Executives, first The President of America, second for the State of South Carolina office of Governor have had a direct causation and impact on the Plaintiff’s contributions to the numerous services funded by his tax dollars, including, Public Safety, Public Education and Public Health and sanitation as a direct result of the INA, DACA and DAPA programs and directives of the Federal Government, which have changed the dynamics of the immigration program of the United States and the State of South Carolina on Walter Brian Bilbro and his family.”

The suit seeks to cite and rely on a lawsuit brought by the State of South Carolina through Governor Nikki Haley and its Attorney General in December 2014, called “The Brownsville Lawsuit.” The suit took place after young immigrants amassed on our southern border and were summarily ushered into our country without paying heed to our nation’s immigration laws.

Martel sees similarities in the Brownsville case and Bibro’s case. She states,

“the substance of our arguments are similar in the abusive overreach of the Executive Branches’ Authority of the United States Government and the Office of the Governor of the State of South Carolina, in certain actions and omissions To Take Care by the Chief Executives of the United States Government and its aforementioned agencies and the State of South Carolina and its aforementioned agencies,”

She continues in the case to state,

“There was a failure of both executives and the other Defendants named herein to properly vet immigrants and refugees or to keep track of the same after they have been placed in both Federal and State Jurisdictions to enforce the laws and regulations of the Laws of the United States of America and the Laws of the State of South Carolina by the appropriate agencies and government directives. That unilateral suspension or abandonment of the Nation’s immigration laws is unlawful. Only this Court’s immediate intervention can protect the Plaintiffs from dramatic and irreparable injuries.”

Simply stated, our nation has immigration laws, and the case Martel and Bilbro are pursuing is to have all governmental agencies involved obey the law set forth in the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution.

The lawsuit against the overreach of this federal refugee program will be bolstered by expert witnesses, not the least of which is Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.) Michael Cutler, notably one of the top experts in immigration and border control issues.

Mr. Cutler states in his affidavit,

“As a former Special Agent, I believe that a lack of integrity to the vital screening process of aliens seeking entry into the United States, especially those aliens who seek political asylum but whose true identities and backgrounds cannot be verified, pose a particular concern to national security and public safety. On September 11, 2001, while the United States was attacked by international terrorists all of whom were aliens who had all managed to enter the United States through ports of entry by gaming the visa process and/or the inspections process conducted at ports of entry, the actual violence and murders were carried out within towns and cities in our country. The point is that the imminent dangers created for national security and public safety are not only matters of national concern. American’s compassion must never create vulnerabilities easily exploited by international terrorists and criminals, thereby undermining national security and endangering the lives and safety of citizens and residents of the United States.”

If the plaintiff wins this case it would essentially protect Americans across the country as a precedent would be set for the numerous other states desiring to opt out of the ill-advised Refugee Program.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Sec. of State Kerry visits “Jihad Central” to celebrate World Refugee Day

Sesame Street partners with Muslim refugee contractor, International Rescue Committee

ISIS beheads 4-year-old girl then forces mother to soak hands in her blood after ‘swearing to Allah’

U.S. won’t make Syrian resettlement goal this year say refugee contractors

U.S. Muslim Migrant Resettlement: How to follow the money

So many of our readers are eager to start researching the resettlement contractors working near you, so here are a few places to start to learn about how they are financed (this is in no way meant to be an all inclusive list, because I don’t know every place to research myself!).

But, first, although off-topic, I want you to see what a one-woman blogger accomplished in Chicago (not a refugee issue, but one involving fraud in the Chicago school system!).  See here (hat tip: Judy).  It can be done!

I’m tech-impaired, but if I can find stuff, so can you.  It just takes a little patience!

Call or write the non-profit group:

Start with contacting the resettlement agency near you (a handy list is here).  As IRS designated 501(c)3 organizations they are NOT allowed to keep their financial documents from you—they are required to give anyone who calls a copy of their financial statement and their Form 990 (if they have one).  Legitimate churches are not required to file Form 990’s so some of the contractors are doing this federal work (resettling refugees) pretending to be churches only.

Go to Guidestar:

Find their IRS Form 990’s on Guidestar by going here and registering to use Guidestar.  It can get tricky because you have to use their exact name as they filed on their Form 990.  For example, you won’t find the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, but you will find its Form 990 by typing in HIAS, Inc.

USA Spending.gov:

USA Spending.gov is a very handy site as long as you know the exact name of the entity you are searching for.  It also has the advantage of tracking across federal agencies and will give you grants and contracts!  Enter the name of the non-profit in the search window in upper right.

For example, you might find that a resettlement contractor is getting cashola, not just from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (in HHS), but from the US Justice Department from some voter registration grants.  If you don’t find the non-profit group listed, don’t give up right away, try to find the exact name it is using. I looked up a specific Catholic Charities this morning under its diocese name and nothing came up, but then I saw on their website that they had a slightly different name and found what I was looking for under that name.

Annual reports to Congress:

These are a treasure trove of information on grants and statistics on welfare use (among other things). I see here that they are late again.  FY2014 should have been released months ago.

Office of Refugee Resettlement:

Go here to programs and click on those of your choice to see who is getting all of the (your!) money!

Non-Profit Facts. com:

A reader sent me this website, which I have never used until today, so try it too by clicking here.  I did test it on the specific Catholic non-profit I searched at USA Spending.gov and was disappointed to see that this website did not mention the $140,000 HUD grant they had received in the last year.  However, there are still some useful bits of information here.  For example, I learned that this “church” group was not required to file a Form 990.

And, finally, you will need to check with your state and local governments about funding these ‘non-profit’ groups receive from you at that level.  This post is meant to address only federal money flowing to them.  You may have to use state public information laws to extract information from them.

Other suggestions that have worked for you?  Send them my way!

RELATED ARTICLES:

Iranian eBay founder having hissy fit over refugee resettlement backlash

Female genital mutilation in Minnesota Somali population not disappearing

Progressive group We Welcome Refugees: ‘We will be bringing politics to your pulpits starting tomorrow!’

No surprise, but you need to be ready to speak up!

If this new group, with its lobbying campaign, shows up in your church, ask them how many CHRISTIANS and other religious minorities they are proposing to save!

I can’t emphasize enough that the present invasion of Europe is being led by mostly Muslim migrants and that the US State Department has admitted 95% Sunni Muslims in the Syrian refugee stream to the US so far.

If you don’t believe me, here, run the numbers for yourself here.

So if you are being pressured from the pulpit tomorrow—ask your pastors and priests: HOW MANY CHRISTIANS ARE THEY SAVING?  Pin them down, make them say they are saving Christians first!

Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp

From ‘We Welcome Refugees’ new website (hat tip: Kelly):

This Sunday – September 13, 2015 we are inviting all churches and Christian Leaders to take a moment in your services and gatherings to discuss the incredible humanitarian tragedy and faced by largely Syrian Refugees.

[….]

This is a place for you to say: We Welcome Refugees – and get to live out those words. A place for your church, your people, your community, to have a practical, tangible, real way to welcome in the stranger in Christ’s name, a place hosted by World Relief, The Justice Conference, and Ann Voskamp, with more partners to be added soon. (If you are already Welcoming Refugees and would like to partner with us, click on the link below or email welcome@wewelcomerefugees.com).

Learn more here.

By the way, World Relief is one of the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors being paid by the head to resettle refugees working in your towns, here.  As such they are one of those groups lobbying the Obama Administration to admit 100,000 Syrian refugees (which translates into 95,000 Muslims and 5,000 Christians and other minorities at the present rate). They are among those wailing right now as Obama has signaled 10,000 Syrians are “welcome” for this coming year.

See a list of World Relief partner churches, here.  World Relief is the federal contractor working to bring refugees to Spartanburg, SC (Trey Gowdy’s district!).

RELATED ARTICLES:

Europe returns to the 1930s — eerie echoes from the past

What the refugees really seek in Europe

Migrant crisis isn’t just Europe’s problem; it’s America’s, too

The invaders continue to arrive in Germany

Hungarian Catholic Bishop tells Pope he is wrong, not refugees but invaders!

The wailing has begun! Refugee contractors furious that Obama ‘only’ admitting 10,000 Syrians this coming year