“I haven’t felt the commitment and the attention I was expecting.” [From the Biden Administration]
Angie Plummer, Ohio resettlement contractor
Hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving with your friends and family. No promises, but I will try to post from time to time so I won’t have too big a gap in my now nearly 15 year running catalog of ills surrounding the US Refugee Admissions Program.
Reminder: there are over 9,000 posts archived here at RRW and the search function works pretty well. Choose a few key words and see what is here.
You surely know by now that the tens of thousands of Afghan evacuees are being treated like legitimate refugees and have swamped the refugee program causing complaints to surface from other ethnic groups and from contractors*** who do not want the Afghans to completely wipe out the chances of others, like the Somali starring in this Columbus Dispatch report, getting their extended family members into the US.
Aden Hassan wants his mother here. He blamed Trump for not moving faster and now he blames Biden.
Biden has paused the regular resettlement program in order to accommodate the Afghans, many of whom have not been vetted and likely will never be legal refugees.
Biden's pause on refugee resettlement worries agencies, advocates in Greater Columbus https://t.co/XzZktqeW7b— Dispatch Politics (@OhioPoliticsNow) November 30, 2021
Columbus is a top Somali resettlement target city
Angie Plummer, executive director of local refugee resettlement agency Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) [CRIS is a subcontractor of Church World Service—ed], which resettled Hassan, said there’s no reason why Afghans and refugees from other countries can’t be helped simultaneously.
“When we were asked do we want to pause (refugee) arrivals, I said no because it’s apples and oranges,” Plummer said. “We don’t think that it’s necessary. It’s not a competition for resources to have these folks come.”
“I fear there’s only so much bandwidth and that it’s shifted to focusing on Afghans, and we can’t take our eyes off these other crises that are happening,” Plummer said. “We want to serve the Afghans well, but we also feel committed to serving those people whose cases we started and who got the shaft under Trump.”
In light of the pause, refugee resettlement advocates are lamenting the fact that Biden did not prioritize rebuilding the refugee resettlement program as soon as he was inaugurated in January.
Plummer said she is concerned because the program’s capacity is still being rebuilt after Trump’s administration decimated its infrastructure.
“Any stopping and starting creates pains,” Plummer said. “I worry about that. Even if their intentions are to try to exempt out certain groups, we should be trying to ramp it back up and help this machinery work again.”
“I haven’t felt the commitment and the attention I was expecting,” Plummer said. “I really thought some wrongs would be righted and they haven’t been, and it feels like they’ve been shuffled down the road.”
Meredith Owen, Church World Service
The fact that the administration hasn’t prioritized restoring resettlement capacity sooner makes Meredith Owen, director of policy and advocacy at the national refugee resettlement agency Church World Service (CWS), furious.
“The problem is you never want to undermine or harm one refugee population in the name of another,” Owen said.
But, that is exactly what is happening. Muslim Afghans are apparently Biden’s priority. There is much more, visit the Columbus Dispatch for additional details.
*** For new readers, these are the nine major federal resettlement agencies which have contracts with the US State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement to place refugees (find housing!) and get them signed up for their welfare benefits, their medical care and get the refugee kids in school.
If you have an agency working near you and it doesn’t have the same name as one of the nine below, check its website carefully and you will most likely find it is a subcontractor of one of the nine (like CRIS is a CWS subcontractor).
Know that when they “got the shaft” under the Trump Administration they were fundraising on their plight, something they can’t do now that their guy is in charge of the taxpayer portion of their money stream.