Regarding the Oct 19 letter to the editor about the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and resettlement plans for Cayce: the recent resettlement effort in Cayce was not the first to be changed by the State Department. Holyoke, Mass was taken off the list of resettlement sites due to citizen concern. Also, Senator Sam Brownback, at one time chair of the Senate immigration subcommittee, stopped an initial resettlement plan of Somali Bantu to his state of Kansas saying ""I oppose any resettlement of Somali Bantu refugees in the State of Kansas…Our office has contacted the Department of State asking them to not resettle any Somali Bantus in Kansas…Simply put this should not occur".
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) would be taken more seriously if it devoted its own resources to its causes.
During the 90`s the U.S. State Department offered a program, known as the Private Sector Initiative, under which refugee sponsoring organizations such as LIRS could bring over refugees if they paid all costs associated with resettlement. Like all the other refugee agencies, LIRS refused to use this program, preferring instead the model under which they actually make money by bringing in refugees.
LIRS makes money from the refugee program in many ways:
All expenses and administrative overhead for its Washington area headquarters are paid by the U.S. government.
Money is available from an array of other federal and state grants as well.
One may well ask why LIRS should get any form of government assistance as the refugees it sponsors are eligible for all forms of welfare within 1 month of arrival. After 4 months LIRS has no legal responsibility towards the refugees it brought over.
He didn`t leave the bill to others while claiming the moral high ground for himself.