Category Archives: Immigration

Refugee And Asylee Resettlement – Follow The Money

Refugee & Asylee Resettlement is a big money business and it’s YOUR MONEY that funds it.   Let’s connect the dots.  I served on the board of Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) from 2006 to 2012, ultimately as the vice-chair of Program Services.  LFSRM is one of the largest resettlement organizations in the region.  My heart became troubled as I came to understand how big government bureaucracies and the United Nations have incrementally coopted charities.

Today, agencies such as LFSRM pay staff salaries & benefits to assist refugee’s applications for food stamps, healthcare, rent assistance, energy assistance, cash assistance, TANF (formerly Welfare) and more.  This is a far cry from the stories of immigrants that I heard as a kid.  “Individuals wanted to come to America because it was the land of opportunity.  They knew that if they worked hard and played by the rules, they would make a better life for themselves and their families.  They did not expect a hand-out.”  A friend recently recommended a book, Lili’s Story, My Memory of the Holocaust by Lili Susser.  Lili notes when her family immigrated to America after WWII, they received two weeks rent, a week’s groceries and were then on their own.  With hard work and perseverance they built successful lives.

Over the years, LFSRM has done good work for our vulnerable and that is why I donated my time & money to the organization.  However, as government money got involved, I realized that LFSRM was no longer a charity and had become a quasi-governmental non-profit.  Per the 2013/2014, 990 (the IRS document non-profits file) $11.5 million of LFSRM’ $13.6 million budget was comprised of government grants.  Additionally, the CEO was paid $209,000.00 and the vice-president of Refugee Services $122,596.00 plus benefits.  The Denver Business Journal ranks LFSRM the 19th largest Human Service Organization in Colorado.  With a current budget of $16.18 million that’s a cool $2.58 million increase in a year.  And nearly half of the budget goes to salaries and benefits.

We must ask ourselves, how is giving tax money and benefits to refugees fair to our young people who are struggling to find jobs and pay off student loans?  How is this fair to our seniors living on fixed incomes?  And how is it fair to the single mom who is working to get ahead?

Governor Hickenlooper is indicating his willingness to import refugees from Syria and the Middle East to Colorado.  In light of what’s happening in the world, it defies reason that he not pause and take a breath in regards to the refugee resettlement program.  With limited documentation and potential for fake passports, it is not possible to properly vet these individuals.  Until we, as Americans, are 100% assured that no terrorists are included in the estimated 70,000 refugees slated to come to the U.S., the refugee resettlement programs must be suspended immediately.  It only takes one or a few to hurt our children, our communities and our wellbeing.  The risk is too great!  A South Africa Today article refers to a U.N. report that 72% of these refugees are men.  We must ask ourselves, what is the character of these men who leave women and children behind in war torn areas?  What is their motivation to abandon their vulnerable?  Governor Hickenlooper must say “no” to the Administration’s request.

What can you do?  Contact Gov. Hickenlooper and the board of directors of LFSRM  and ask that they suspend the Refugee Resettlement and Asylee programs until fool-proof vetting procedures are in place and demand that no tax dollars be used for these programs.

Let’s Ensure America Is A Safe Place For Refugees and All Americans!

How do we protect Americans and future refugees? Imagine the possible travel of a future refugee mother, Fakhtah, and her children…

Fakhtah hugs her baby girls tight to her body. She cries tears of joy, knowing she and her two little girls, Mahdiyah, age three and Khalisah, age seven, have finally made it to Greece, the second of several refugee camps on their way to America.  Her little family of three was very fortunate to be allowed into the resettlement program, considering they are all female and the head of the local program had been strictly enforcing their 70/30 ratio of men to women. She stood frozen, terrified and trembling, while those in charge of the refugee resettlement group in Syria pulled out of line three other women: her sister-in-law, her niece and the kind lady who told her about the program.  They almost took her oldest daughter, Khalisah, but thankfully one of the guards accepted Fakhtah’s bribe, the only trinket of value left to trade, the gold locket her mother had given her as a child.

Fakhtah was desperate to get out, since in the past several months ISIS had been crucifying, beheading and executing men & boys in the streets and raping girls as well as taking women and children as sex slaves.

She had already lost her husband, Adnan, and her son, Yaman. She wasn’t about to lose her two daughters, too. They were the only family she had left.

When Fakhtah heard which countries were accepting refugees, she was immediately drawn to America, since she heard their laws treat women as first class citizens and equally to men. Imagine how hopeful a woman fleeing a terrorist group enforcing the most repressive law over women, Sharia Law, would become upon hearing about this opportunity at true freedom!

The women in Syria told her the rumors that in America, women are allowed to drive a car, go to school, laugh out loud in public, leave the house without a male chaperone. She was told that in America, men aren’t allowed to rape women and if they do, the aggressor will be punished rather than the victim! In America, if accused of a crime, both men and women get a fair trial in front of their peers! Fakhtah thought, this is too good to be true! She was filled with hope on the opportunity of freedom and equality for her family in this New World.

During her long, tiresome travels to America, Fakhtah and her daughters were required to share sleeping space with hundreds of other refugees, women and men. After only a few nights of travel she was awakened by the muffled screams and cries of women and children being raped across the room. Sneaking a peak from her floor mat, Fakhtah noticed the men who were abusing the other refugees were dressed just like the rest of the refugees but were clearly members of the ISIS terrorist groups she recognized beheading people in the streets in Syria. Clearly they had fooled everyone.  How did terrorists get passports and pass background checks?

She prayed they don’t notice her and her girls since the punishment for a woman resisting rape in her country includes deadly lashes, stoning, and imprisonment.

If she is killed now, who will care for her daughters, Mahdiyah and Khalisah? She warned her girls to keep their eyes low and heads bowed. Don’t make eye contact with anyone in the camp.

Fakhtah quietly asks the teenage boy sitting on the floor next to her, “How did these bad guys end up in our safe group of refugees? Is there no escape from ISIS? What will happen when we get to America, if we make it there alive? Will ISIS be allowed in alongside the rest of us? If ISIS sneaks into America, won’t we face the same persecution there as we faced in Syria?  What’s the point of trying to flee if they are coming with us? How will my family be safe under America’s equal laws if ISIS succeeds in enforcing Sharia Law there?

The teenage boy, Fakhtah and her daughters, and a few fellow refugees sitting just near enough to communicate via whisper, quietly prayed together that the leaders of America & Europe would:

1.     Pause: Stop the mass inflow of random refugees into their countries.

2.     Refine their vetting process: Create a solid strategy of vetting refugees to make sure everyone being accepted into the resettlement program are those who are honestly fleeing persecution & war rather than coming to spread it.

America has been a beacon of hope for millions of people for more than 2000 years. We are unique in that we embrace women, men and children of all nationalities who are seeking freedom, safety and opportunity for their families. We are a country of laws that protect every human life equally, regardless of religion, sex, social status or nationality of origin.  We welcome with open arms all who come for noble reasons. However, those who come with the intention of harming lives on our soil, break our laws & stifle our freedom are not welcome.  By protecting our country we ensure freedom and opportunity for all who reside here now and all who seek to reside here in the many centuries to come.

Please tell President Obama, Congress and all Governors to PUSH PAUSE on this mass refugee resettlement plan and put their brilliant minds together to come up with a solid plan to VET ALL REFUGEES before bringing them into our communities and settling them among our cherished families. Protect the people, government, as you took an oath to.