[Previously by Thomas Allen: Bush Administration: What War on Terror? Bring In More Immigrants!]
I attended a U.S. government refugee resettlement conference in January of this year. Martha Newton, the director of the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) repeatedly told the assembled audience of 600 private "refugee contractors", a.k.a. the Refugee Industry, that her federal agency worked only for them.
Making a pouty face, ORR Director Newton regretted that she had only $615 million to spend annually for her part of the refugee resettlement program.
For the rest of the 3-day conference, the standing joke among the various U.S. government departments that also provide services to refugees—Labor, State, Agriculture, Justice, Housing—was that their agencies had budgetary numbers counted with a "b" not with an "m". The 'break-out' conference sessions seemed to be nothing more than a fight for a place in the pecking order as measured by the money that this or that bureaucrat had to spread around.
Of course, refugee contractors are recipients of only a small portion of the billions of dollars the State Department, Agriculture Department and other departments spend.
That's why the refugee contractors were meeting—to find ways to increase their share of the taxpayer-provided spoils.
Some recent developments:
"Trafficking" is Refugee Industry jargon for immigrants who have been brought here through "force, fraud or coercion" to perform services—often prostitution or domestic service to other Third World immigrants. Since I wrote about it in 2004, this rationale for a new class of "refugees" has really taken root. Individuals who are "certified" as trafficking victims receive all the benefits and entitlements of refugees and can enter various ORR programs. The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops has been named the lead contractor in the federal government's anti–trafficking program (infelicitously named "Anytime, Anywhere"). USCCB is one of the myriad of organizations through which the Catholic Church has turned charity into profit and is among the largest of the tax-eating contractors for whom ORR apparently thinks it works.
A survey of the Burmese ethnic minorities in the Thai refugee camp Tom Hin found that only 37% actually want to come to America. No matter. The Refugee Industry has selected this group for resettlement. And it is coming over.
State Department personnel and refugee contractors are working among this group to dispel the notion that the refugees will lose their heritage and their children if they undertake the move to an American slum.
Just the presence of a U.S. refugee official in some U.N. refugee camps is enough to set off riots among those trying to get over on the program. It is reported that entire Hmong villages in Laos packed up and moved to refugee camps in Thailand once it became known the U.S. would be taking another 8,000 Hmong from Thai camps.
For example, the Vietnamese resettlement program, part of a program that resettled 1.25 million Indochinese refugees to the U.S., was finally officially closed in the late 1990's, more than twenty years after the War's end. But last year it was officially re-opened at the behest of refugee advocacy groups and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Amazingly, despite normalization of diplomatic relations with Vietnam (which presumably means the Vietnamese aren't persecuting anyone), and with all the recent media interest in Richard Armitage because of his part in the Scooter Libby saga, the MainStream Media has yet to stumble across this story.
As usual, the revived Vietnamese resettlement program operates under a cloak of secrecy in the U.S. But State Department personnel in Ho Chi Minh City are making sure the word gets out that the program is open for business and will be taking applications until June, 2008.
The State Department estimates that only 3 to 5 thousand will be able to meet the easy-to-fake eligibility requirements—time served in a re-education camp of 3 years or more (even if 30 years ago) or proof of employment with the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. But in the year since the program was opened some 50,000 applications have been submitted with 40,000 more requests for applications.
Such is the stupidity and cruelty of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The recent opening will have raised and dashed the hopes of perhaps 100,000 who can reasonably be expected to spend the rest of their lives waiting for the next opening…unless, of course, they are all allowed in.
ORR Director Newton's belief that the U.S. government's clients are not the U.S. taxpayers, who pay for it all, but the recipients of government largesse, is telling. It's an attitude that has much to do with the relentless growth of the Refugee Resettlement program and the indefensible direction much of that growth takes.
Perhaps nothing will stop this program short of ensuring that the costs of resettlement fall on the refugee contractors (mistakenly referred to as "charities" in the MSM) who bring refugees into the U.S.
Today, both the U.S. government and its refugee contractor clients have a vested interested in bringing in more refugees at taxpayer expense. It's a business where quarter-million dollar salaries for top jobs at the main refugee resettlement contractors are common—and concern of the national interest, let alone the refugees' interest, is non-existent
Thomas Allen (email him) describes himself as a recovering refugee worker.