HuffPo: Refugee processing pipeline being restarted, contractors optimistic, by Ann Corcoran 5/31/17
When I looked at this article (Huffington Post) more carefully, I see it only sends a garbled message about whether the refugee pipeline is being geared up to start seriously flowing again or is only trickling.
But, it does appear that the resettlement contractors are getting excited that it will flow with gusto soon since they are rehiring staff they let go shortly after Trump put out his first Executive Order.
Limbaugh: “Does he know that it’s the Republicans that are the roadblock here?” I think the Trump team made a big mistake by placing the refugee moratorium (to assess the adequacy of our security screening) and a reduction in the CEILING for refugee admissions in an Executive Order with the so-called travel ban for all those coming from the terror hot-spot countries. It is my view, that Trump did not need an EO to slow the flow of refugees across the board!
By combining the two (the ceiling cap and the ban) and the subsequent rogue court decisions, Trump has lost (given up?) his power (the power the President is given in the Refugee Act of 1980 to set the admissions limit on refugees). And, thus everyone is confused, apparently even within his Administration.
To add to the confusion the Republicans in Congress funded the US Refugee Admissions Program at a level for 75,000 refugees to be admitted by September 30th (the last day of this fiscal year), AND Trump signed it!
75,000 would be the second highest admission number in ten years! (see chart below) Indeed, Rush Limbaugh was right yesterday when he asked (on a different issue): “Does he know that it’s the Republicans that are the roadblock here?”
Again, the President has the power to set the ceiling in “consultation” with Congress. If Trump wanted to take them on he could ask for a rescission of those funds to admit the numbers he wants—which he said would be UNDER 50,000! Every day that the White House is silent on the stunning news we heard last week says to me that the White House agrees with the 75,000 admissions this year.
Why do the Republicans in Congress want to keep the pipeline going? It is because most of them work for their big business donors and the Chamber of Commerce to guarantee a steady supply of cheap immigrant labor! Adding insult to injury, your tax dollars support refugee families through the welfare system because wages are too low! You pay for the importation of the labor and for the laborers’ support once here!
It is really quite a difficult obstacle for us (who wish to see the USRAP reformed) to overcome—big businesses and global corporations pushing cheap labor in conjunction with so-called ‘religious’ charities (paid by taxpayers!) claiming this is all about humanitarianism while essentially acting as ‘head hunters’ for big business.
Anyway, here is the HuffPo’s latest on the pipeline flowing: The United States appears to be resuming its longstanding efforts to resettle refugees after the program was derailed and almost completely upended abroad for several months. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “has begun to expand its interview schedule in the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year,” public affairs officer Marilu Cabrera told HuffPost in a statement on Friday. The Department of Homeland Security is working with the State Department to plan for a “further expansion” through the end of fiscal year 2017, she added.
Jen Smyers is a lobbyist for Church World Service in Washington, DC. “Director of Advocacy” is just a fancy name for lobbyist. https://cwsglobal.org/jen-smyers/
Even though both orders were blocked in federal court, the administration quietly pumped the brakes on various steps of the resettlement process that occur overseas. Vetting and screening refugees is an 18- to 24-month process, involving interviews with many branches of the U.S. government as well as various security and medical clearances. USCIS noted in its statement that circuit rides ― a technical term that refers to DHS agent travel to different countries to conduct refugee interviews ― were suspended on Jan. 25, just prior to Trump’s first executive order, and continued on a reduced schedule from January through March.
In addition to stalled DHS interviews, security and medical checks expire after several months and “none of them [were] being re-run, said Jen Smyers, the associate director of immigration and refugee policy at Church World Service*** one of nine domestic resettlement agencies. “Also, our understanding is that for a while, [medical clearances] were not happening, with some exceptions for emergency cases.” [BTW, I don’t think they do any mental health screening as we learned here! —ed]
Because both of Trump’s executive orders attempted to lower the refugee admissions quota from 110,00 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year, “the State Department and USCIS assessed that it was not necessary to interview large numbers of refugee applicants in order to meet the new ceiling,” the USCIS statement said.
Resettlement experts said they’re cautiously optimistic about the expanded interview schedule. “We’re waiting to celebrate until we see the pipeline of refugee processing look healthier,” Smyers said. “All of this is really preliminary.” But they are already in the process of hiring back some of the almost 600 staffers they had to lay off worldwide during the executive order legal limbo.
Congress recently passed a budget with enough funding to resettle a total of 75,000 refugees through the end of the fiscal year. This should mean significant increases in the number of refugee arrivals in the coming weeks. More here. By the way, in a report on Trump’s original idea of choosing Christian refugees as a first priority, Smyers called it “shameful.”
See my most recent post on Church World Service finances. 67% of their budget comes from you—taxpayers!
No refugee “clients” means no payola for them! For new readers here are the nine contractors:
· Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
· International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
· US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)