SOMALIA REFUGEES READY TO START ANEW
By Pat Owens
As a political activist and researcher, I feel the Refugee Resettlement programs need unveiling and exposure. It is a huge "cottage industry" encompassing charitable foundations, religious and non-religious government and non-governmental agencies, federal and state administrations and agencies. Upon reading a recent article on Somalia Bantus and their resettlement in Georgia, Arizona, Utah, Minnesota and many other states, red flags are everywhere.
There are more than enough questions for citizens to consider and question the costs, whether it be monetary, cultural changes, language conflicts, health care, schools, hospitals, social programs and massive litigation problems. The tentacles of this industry reach every part of international, national, state and local governments.
The whole issue of refugees came to light for me when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper published an article on November 9, 2002. The headlines read, "Fannie May Plans Major Investment - $26 billion" for low cost and immigrant housing in Wisconsin.
Twenty-six billion is an extreme amount of money for one state. At that particular time, President Bush in a speech, mentioned that he'd work with the United Nations (UNHCR) High Commissioner for Refugees. Going into the Iraq war sent up red flags. The last Iraqi war brought 7,000 Iraqi's to our country at the cost of over $70,000,000 to taxpayers.
Needless to say, the Smart Growth programs being initiated in states, calls for the townships, villages, towns, cities and county governments to work out plans for housing and land-use plans. Now local government entities will pick up the costs for refugee resettlements in the ensuing years, without even knowing the in-depth plans that have been formulated.
One might inquire just how does this refugee business work? The United Nations created the Refugee Convention in 1951; in 1980 the United States passed the Refugee Act, patterned after the convention. The Refugee Act created a special type of expedited, subsidized immigration, with the United States being the largest single contributor.
A recent report from the U.S. Committee for Refugees officially recognized 12 million people who fled their countries worldwide by the end of 2002 and were resettled. Since 1992, over three quarters (77%) of the U.N. recognized refugees were resettled permanently in the United States. (Source: UNHCR Refugees Vol. 4, Num 129 January 2003). In the past year about 50% of today's UNHCR refugees are from Muslim countries, not including Palestinians who are counted on the books of another UN refugee agency UNRWA (United Nation Relief Works Agency).
Keep in mind, the Refugee Resettlement programs are unfunded Federal Mandate, thereby causing all states to use their taxpayer's monies to support these programs. There is a real possibility that the refugee industry would end abruptly if the tremendous costs were the responsibility of its champions rather than the U.S. taxpayer.
As some Americans are pushed off of time-limited welfare programs, many refugees are going onto lifetime cash assistance programs. Welfare use is staggering among refugees, successful asylum seekers and Cubans. They are eligible for all forms of welfare (Cash, SSI, TANF, Medicaid, housing, food stamps, WIC, etc.) 30 days after arrival. Many refugees are going on to lifetime entitlements of monthly checks for the elderly and disabled. Add into that fixed administration costs and ongoing support programs such as language training, mental health counseling, for refugees already settled in this country.
How is the transportation for refugees handled? An interest free loan is made to the refugee for transportation to the U.S., through an international bureaucracy. Ultimately, it is the taxpayer, which pays these loans. The transportation costs for refugees to this country are grossly unreported. As of today, about 43% of the transportation costs of the United States are unpaid, leaving an unpaid balance of $436,000.000 without interest.
Refugees are likely to receive waivers for diseases that would otherwise bar entry. The Minnesota Health Department reports shows that although African immigrants make up less than 1% of their state's population they account for 16% of HIV. To date, Minnesota has a population of over 60,000 African (Somalia) refugees.
On its face, U.S. law bars admission of HIV positive individuals; however, the bar may be waived for refugee's in order to assure "family unity", for humanitarian purposes or for reasons of "public interest."
In addition, all the services under Medicaid and the Ryan White CARE act, a Federal AIDS program, are automatically available to refugees from India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Russia, Ukraine and other countries.
While we lost a Congressional District due to the drop in our population, our international immigration figures have increased substantially. An additional amount of 23,826 immigrants in the years 2001 and 2002 were recently added to our state. Needless to say, the State of Wisconsin has never explained the costs of the various services connected with the refugee, asylum, or immigrant programs nor refugees.
The June 22, 2003 Chicago Tribune article on refugees stated that 10 agencies have been approved by the State Department to help integrate refugees in housing. However, there are at least 400 federal government-dependent refugee agencies and affiliates. The groups that resettle refugees are referred to in the media as "charities" or "non-profits" or "humanitarian organizations". They are actually federal contractors and get the vast majority of their resources from the U.S. taxpayer. There are over 800 non-government organizations resettling refugees and their agenda is to increase the refugee quota, passing hate-crime, racial profiling legislation, increasing the size of welfare benefits and social programs.
In the 1970s, Southeast Asian refugees were resettled in groups of 1,500 more or less in our state of Wisconsin. We now have over 80,000 Hmongs residing here, not including 1,500 that are scheduled to arrive shortly.
Descendants of recent immigrants often have wide diverse stories about how their parents or grandparents used 3x5 cards to convey simple messages. Today, for instance, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), a refugee resettlement contractor, advises the refugees it brings in to confront hospitals, clinics, public housing and welfare providers with the message:
"My name is _________and I have limited English skills and require qualified language assistance in________. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that your office provide a qualified interpreter for me to have equal access to your services. It is a violation of the law for you to require me to bring my own interpreter in order to receive services. If you have any questions about how to comply with these legal requirements, call the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division at 1-888-848-5306."
It is perfectly legal for refugee agencies to use government funds to get the word out about how to sue over "language access". In 1997, courts in Massachusetts had 7,209 requests for interpreters. By 2001, those requests were running at 57,000 per year said the 3/04/02 Boston Globe. Language access litigation is going to be the next big item for the Civil Rights industry. Executive Order 13166 passed under Clinton requiring any entity that receives federal funds to provide free interpreting services.
The definition of a refugee has been widely stretched by all three branches of our government - the Judiciary, Congress and the Administration. Basically Congress can name whatever group it wants to be a refugee. For instance, Congress passed a law declaring China's one-child policy to be an example of persecution, based upon a political view. Not surprising, China now heads up the list of successful asylum seekers, and they have resettled in most of our 50 states. People may seek asylum in the U.S. based upon domestic abuse, FGM (Female Genitalia Mutilation), and even lack of services to the disabled.
A recent article in an Atlanta newspaper, reported that over 12,000 Somalia Bantu's were going to be resettled in various states across the country this year. The resettlement of Somali Bantu in Middle America grew from 5,000 in 1990 to 40,000 in 2000. They also noted that the costs were going to be in the billions. States are cutting out Medicaid for thousands of people, along with many other services. Hospitals are being flooded with providing care for illegal immigrants. The income of working citizens has dropped over $12 billion dollars this past year. So many jobs have shifted out of the country, that UN employment rates in former industrial cities rank in the 40% range.
The Dobbs Report by Lou Dobbs, U.S. news and World Report, June 2, 2003, reported "The U.S. Trade deficit last year reached $435 billion and the current account deficit, a broader measure that includes things like income received on foreign assets, swelled to $503 billion in 2002. According to the Economic Policy institute, our rising trade deficits cost three million actual and potential jobs in the United States between 1994 and 2000. A report by Forrester Research predicts that nearly 500,000 information-technology jobs will be moved overseas in the next 12 years."
Can we absorb all the refugee, asylum-seekers and immigrants into this country? Before taking in any New World Order refugee resettlements, the U.S. should revisit legislation capping refugee admission. In addition, a return to the English language should be mandatory, to ease monetary and social costs. Being an unfunded federal mandate, each state should inform each and every taxpayer, the amount of money being taxed to support these programs.
Will solid information ever come to light? Not unless pressure is put upon states and the media to tell both sides of the stories and then Congress to investigate the entire program. Seems strange that we support the world but not our own people and the last to know.
© 2003 Pat Owens - All Rights Reserved
Pat Owen is a free lance writer, long-time researcher and activist from Wisconsin. Any one wanting to send her an e-mail for this superior investigative reporting can E-mail it to [email protected]. She will download them and send them to Pat c/o the Wisconsin Report.
"Keep in mind, the Refugee Resettlement programs are unfunded Federal Mandate, thereby causing all states to use their taxpayer's monies to support these programs."
"As some Americans are pushed off of time-limited welfare programs, many refugees are going onto lifetime cash assistance programs."