Refugee Industry Snows the Media—For Now

The media
image of the refugee continues to be women and
children staggering to the sanctuary here with a
few worldly possessions on their backs, pursued

knout-wielding Cossacks
. In fact, of course,
the net effect of the

1980 Refugee Act
has been to create a
special type of expedited, subsidized
immigration for politically-favored groups,
regardless of any objective need. In the U.S., a

Nation of at least 400 federal
government-dependent refugee agencies and
affiliates has grown up on the basis of welfare
as we knew it, a gullible

, dubious

accounting practices
and the entry of
refugees into the ranks of salaried service
providers and lobbyists for future waves of
refugees. Perhaps an additional 400 smaller

organizations and spin-offs are
supported by state and local governments. This
Refugee Industry is dedicated to bringing in
more “refugees”—often brazenly presenting their
case before Congress in terms of the employment
it provides for Americans a.k.a. themselves.

Normally, the Refugee Industry
would not agree with Liz Taylor  that even bad publicity
is good. For this industry, even good publicity can be
bad for business.

But some time around Christmas, the Refugee Industry
took the calculated risk of a media campaign to separate
the U.S. refugee program from popular misgivings about
mass immigration caused September 11. Thanks to a media
that is willing to be managed, that campaign was a
success. Many major newspapers ran the

same story
—the one the

Refugee Industry
wanted told. 
[See, for example,

Refugees at America`s Door Find It Closed After
By Somini
Sengupta, NYT,

October 29, 2001

This, according to the

Wall Street Journal,

“refugees are perhaps the most rigorously screened and
vetted group of people entering the U.S.” They “undergo
detailed interviews and background checks to document
their claims before being allowed entry. ”

Bunk. Despite all this “vetting”,
large numbers of

Russian organized crime figures
have managed to pour
in as refugees and immigrants for decades. Indeed, until
9/11 U.S. authorities never even bothered to verify that
the refugee deplaning in New York was the same person
granted “status” in the U.S. Consulate overseas.

Another bizarre industry talking
point: “none of the 19 September 11 hijackers was a

This is a little like saying that,
as long as you haven`t murdered 3,000 people lately, you
are good to go. Actually, there are alleged mass
murderers—Yugoslav war criminals and the like—among
recently arrived refugees. Of 10 or so foreign-born
torturers resident in the U.S. that were profiled in a

Amnesty International  report
, two had arrived as
refugees, one received political asylum and another is
applying for asylum. All can reasonably expect to avoid
expulsion from the U.S. by appealing to current asylum
law. According to some sources cited in the report,
there are possibly 1,000 foreign born `human rights
abusers` in the U.S. today. If these arrived as refugees
and asylees in the same proportion as those individually
profiled for the report, Refugee Industry will be hoping
for a return to the days when the only good publicity
was no publicity.

The Refugee Industry`s ability to
score good news stories is as amazing as its ability to
avoid bad news stories. For example, under the terms of
the 1996 welfare reform, Americans are facing the end of
benefits in time-limited welfare programs as of fall
2002. Meanwhile 19% of recently arrived refugee
households have one or more members receiving a
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check, along with

food stamps,

and, in most cases,

public housing
. There`s no time limit on SSI
payments and refugees can qualify within 30 days of

Not even a whisper of this makes
the news. But it is widely discussed in the
neighborhoods where the refugees are moving in.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the influx of Jewish
refugees from the former Soviet Union is a major factor
in the strained relations between Blacks and Jews though
my evidence for this is entirely anecdotal. Thus one of
my black correspondents from Brooklyn complained
bitterly that the new arrivals are getting the newer
public housing where `the elevators work`.

(The historic but little-reported immigration to the
U.S. of some 400,000 Soviet Jewish “refugees” permitted
by the

“Lautenberg Amendment”
has slowed, finally. Russia
is simply

running out
of Jews who want to leave. Today, more
“evangelicals” than Jews immigrate as refugees from the
former USSR—illustrating the power of the `me too`
effect that accompanies all refugee flows. The
“evangelical” category is perhaps the most absurd
Congressionally-mandated entitlement ever granted to a
foreign citizen, since this group is even less
persecuted than the now-vibrant Russian Jewish community
ever was.)]

Yep, refugee dependence on welfare
sure is a problem. But Washington has a solution. A
contact at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has
told me that the federal office may soon stop
tracking refugee welfare usage by ethnic group

because it “makes

certain ethnic groups
look bad”. This

, collection of which is required by law, is
used in the permanent interethnic warfare over

government services
and allocation of the refugee
quota. (Actually, the data makes all “ethnic groups”
look bad. I have 20 years of refugee welfare statistics
in case they are dropped down the memory hole.)

turmoil in the U.S. refugee resettlement program has
pitted “Afghan war widows” against the U.S. State
Department in an unequal contest, according to the WSJ (Refugees
may be kept out of U.S. after shutdown tied to Sept. 11
Feb 13). David versus Goliath is a winning news formula.
But the Refugee Industry is a Goliath in its own right.
More typical than “Afghan war widows” as refugees to the
U.S. are

foreign retirees
who never faced so much as a slur
in their home country, let alone a bullet, sponsored by
their refugee children and eligible for SSI, food stamps
and public housing.

the Washington Times is unable to summon
skepticism at the tales the Refugee Industry tells.
According to the paper, refugee advocates are “very
afraid this country will not have the infrastructure in
place to respond to future refugee emergencies in the
Leaves Refugees Stranded
, 1/31/2002). But what
you won`t learn from this reporting, and from a dozen
other articles taken from the same template, is that
refugee NGOs have steadfastly refused to use their own
resources to maintain the U.S. refugee resettlement
“infrastructure”. Indeed, the program known as the
Private Sector Initiative, allowing sponsoring NGOs to
bring over refugees if they were willing to cover costs
of resettlement and support, was discontinued for lack
of use in the mid-1990s. Today the NGOs are even opposed
to diverting federal refugee dollars to overseas refugee
assistance—where such dollars will be far more
effective—for fear it will mean fewer dollars for them!

Washington Times
featured Lavinia Limon,

of a non-profit refugee agency. But it
neglected to mention she was formerly the director of
the federal
Office of Refugee Resettlement
. Would any other
government-dependent industry have gotten such light
treatment by the media for what is obviously a revolving
door between the industry and the federal government?
Back when Miss Limon was head of ORR, she told me the
main function of the refugee “non-profits”, known as

Voluntary Agencies
, was to link refugees up with
public benefits programs

A constant theme in virtually all
of the recent publicity is that refugee numbers have
fallen off lately and should be restored to the high
levels that are “in America`s best traditions”, “what
America is all about,” and so on.

It is true that the annual flow is down from the high
water mark reached in 1980 when 200,000 “refugees”—some
significant number of whom were not really
refugees—immigrated to the U.S. But when the 1980
Refugee Act was passed the bill`s sponsors promised an
average flow of about 50,000 per year. However, in many
past years the annual intake has been comparable to the
refugee quota for 2002, which has been set at 70,000.

Further, refugee advocates neglect to mention that
successful asylum seekers,

very similar to refugees
, have surged. Numbers from
all of the various humanitarian immigration programs
have consistently outstripped even the wildest
projections made when they were implemented.

Instead of countering or even
questioning Refugee Industry demands for more refugees,
INS director James Ziglar recently

the NGOs that his agency will pay
to speed up refugee processing, which had
slowed after 911. Not only has he vowed to meet the
current fiscal year quota of 70,000, but the Bush
administration remains committed to pushing the annual
refugee quota to 90,000 in coming years.

I wonder if the self-proclaimed

libertarian INS director
knows that he was
responding to “public opinion” that was totally
manufactured by government contractors? 

There are stories that may yet come yet come to haunt
for the Refugee Industry.


African refugee program
, which is certain to be the
largest and longest running in U.S. history, has been
plagued by fraud with both UNHCR officials and
U.S.-based voluntary agencies involved in schemes to
allow individuals to crowd into the U.S. refugee program
by falsely claiming family relationships to refugees
already here. (Nothing new in queue-jumping. A retired
FBI agent recently told me that in the 1980s, you could
look out of the Consular office windows in Moscow and
see known mobsters “managing” the line of intending
refugees, in which they might have stood for days, to
get their own people in first.)

It is hard to believe that public
opinion will remain unmoved if the African AIDs epidemic
is imported to the U.S. on the refugee program. And
recent data from the

Minnesota Health Department
report show that,
although African immigrants make up less than 1% of the
state`s population, they accounted for 16% of new HIV
infections reported in 2001.

Apologists point out that the
number of new AIDS cases in Minnesota is small in
absolute terms. Minneapolis is a resettlement center for
known HIV positive African refugees, so the state might
be expected to show higher than normal HIV infection
rates for immigrants and refugees. But the newly arrived
cases were not included in the state study.
Including known HIV positive arrivals makes African
immigrants` contribution to the state`s rate of HIV
infection 25 to 30 times higher than their proportion
among the states population would suggest. Further, most
of the state`s African population is from Somalia, a
country that has been spared the higher infection rates
found in some other African countries. In South Africa,
for instance, the AIDS infection rate is 10 times higher
than the rate found in Somalia.

Public opinion still
counts—sometimes. When Senator Sam Brownback (R.-Kansas)
thought an entire tribe of 10,000 Bantu Somalis was to
be settled in his state, he jumped on the barricades
Boris Yeltsin-style and declared on 10/12/2001  

“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

This statement was never reported
in the national media. Luckily for the Senator, because
he has since backed away from his impolitic outburst.
All parties involved describe the statement as a
response to “popular hysteria” and a `big

In fact, states have little or no
say over refugee resettlement, a largely unfunded
federal mandate imposed on them by Washington.
Ironically, Senator Brownback is sponsoring a bill, the

Refugee Protection Act
,[PDF] which would dwarf the
impact of the resettlement of Bantu Somalis. But the
point here is that aroused public opinion almost moved a
political leader to act—even if fleetingly.

By the way, the Bantu Somalis are
coming anyway, perhaps as early as the end of this year.
According to a State Department official some will
likely be placed in Kansas. And, after initial
resettlement, there is nothing to stop the entire tribe
from moving to Kansas if they so choose.

one of these and other stories could come crashing
through the assiduously cultivated hedge of
misinformation that protects the refugee program. Like
the Roman Catholic Church`s pedophilia problem, the
story may flicker for many years at a low intensity
before flaring into a conflagration.

is more here than just an analogy. The

Catholic Church
is now the

main importer
of refugees. Last year the

US Catholic Conference MRS
brought in 26,000
refugees—putting up pennies, if not actually netting a
profit, for every dollar of taxpayer support for the

News stories that are suppressed
have an unfortunate tendency to burst out in twisted and
virulent forms—what I might call the “Pravda effect”.
One way or another, the Refugee Industry will one day
find itself consumed by a story that would give even Liz
Taylor pause.

July 31, 2002