Sunday, March 11, 2018

Refugee Resettlement in Minnesota & VOLAGS

Somali refugees are leaving Arizona for Minnesota in huge numbers. Why?
Bilad Yusuf and her seven kids are on their way to Minnesota, less than two months after they arrived in Phoenix from Somalia:
"We didn't know how to get jobs in Phoenix, and even if we did, we didn't know how we'd get to them," she explained through an interpreter who translated from Somali to English. Does this sound like a well-planned out Federal resettlement immigration program to you?
In Phoenix, without a car, they found themselves lost: Where were they supposed to get groceries? How did they go about setting up long-overdue doctor's appointments under free Medicaid? How would they find work if they had no skills and didn't speak English or Spanish? How would they get around without a car? How would they pay rent after their initial stipend from the U.S. government ran out?
The Somali Association of Arizona stepped in, providing groceries and setting up doctor's appointments for the family. But they couldn't do anything about the fact that the fact that with limited English and no training, they weren't qualified for any jobs. Worried that her rent would be cut off soon, Yusuf decided they should move to Minnesota, where the benefits are excellent and where she, like virtually all Somalis, have family. Mukhtar Sheikh, the program coordinator for the Somali Association of Arizona, says that Yusuf's story is a common one. As many as half the Somali refugees resettled in Arizona end up leaving for Minnesota.
The biggest challenge for Somalis is finding a job. Even jobs cleaning hotel rooms or washing dishes in a restaurant come with a requirement that applicants speak English — or, unofficially, Spanish. They speak neither. So how did Minnesota become a hub for Somali refugees?
Most credit the strength of Minnesota's "voluntary agencies" - called VOLAGS - groups like Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities who are paid big money with our tax dollars to resettle refugees. These quasi-governmental agencies welcomed the first wave of Somali refugees to Minnesota in the early 1990s, and others soon followed. It should be noted that none of the VOLAGS are actually associated with the church, they just hijack the name for political expediency. The U.S. State Department decides where new refugees should end up and it often depends on how many voluntary agencies are in the area to expedite the process.
"A lot of Somalis brought here to America moved to Minnesota from other states for jobs. Almost every Somali in Minnesota who came here between 1991 and 1998 worked at the chicken factories in Faribault and Marshall."
Oh, are these the factory jobs they say Americans won't do?
Here's how the refugee resettlement programs work. The United Nations High Commission on International Refugees selects and "vets" refugees to be distributed to the United States. The US sets an annual refugee cap and the US State Department contracts with voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) to help refugees get settled in their new homes.
Five of the top nine VOLAGs in America are Christian non-profits (Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, World Relief Corporation, Church World Service, and Episcopal Migration Ministries.) The other four are Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Rescue Committee, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and the Ethiopian Community Development Council.
The primary VOLAGs in Minnesota are:
-Catholic Charities
-International Institute of Minnesota
-Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota
-Minnesota Council of Churches: Refugee Services
-Arrive Ministries
Lutheran Social Services is associated with the ELCA, not the Missouri Synod or WELS Lutheran church. Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita nationwide. With 2 percent of the nation’s population, Minnesota has 13 percent of its refugees. Minnesota is a refugee magnet because Minnesota has what refugees want — jobs, good social welfare programs, and plenty of people from their home countries. Refugees cost Minnesota an estimated $107,000 each in food, housing, education, aid, medical expenses and other services. Communities have no control over the in-flow of refugees, yet they must share the cost of supporting them. And residents often don’t speak out or even ask questions of the process for fear of being called racists.
The VOLAGs work with 350 subcontractors and are paid up to $4,225 per head to resettle refugees in Minnesota. Though they are officially “non-profit” organizations, these quasi-Governmental organizations are profiting from lucrative contracts with the Federal Government to resettle refugees in the United States. Refugee resettlement is quite profitable. VOLAGs have almost no real responsibilities for these refugees after they are settled. After 4 months, the VOLAG is not even required to know where the refugee lives.
There are multiple ways for these VOLAGs to generate revenue from refugee resettlement:
a. $2,025 per refugee (including children) from the State Department.
b. Up to $2,200 for each refugee by participating in a U.S. DHHS program known as Matching Grant. To get the $2,200, the VOLAG need only show it spent $200 and gave away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture, or cars.
c. VOLAGs use volunteers to actually solicit the cash and donated goods from the public for them. So not only does the VOLAG meet its matching grant requirement through donations from the public, it uses volunteers to do the fundraising.
d. VOLAGS get volunteers to actually work with the refugees and pay for their own time and transportation, so essentially the VOLAG pockets the entire $4,225 per refugee itself.
d. The VOLAG pockets 25 percent of every transportation loan it collects from refugees it “sponsors”.
e. All VOLAG expenses and overhead are paid by the Federal Government.
f. For their refugee programs, VOLAGs also collect money from all available federal, state and local grant programs.
The irony is that these VOLAGS, which were once organized to serve their local communities, have now really lost much of their original purpose and have become agents for those bringing Islam to America. Critics argue they are now no longer private charities but instead well paid subcontractors of the Federal Government.
Catholic Charities has grown into a huge $3.8 billion operation with more than 65,000 employees. Half of its funding–$2 billion–comes from the Federal Government, through the Office of Faith Based Initiatives. 98 percent of Catholic Charities refugee resettlement budget comes from the federal government. 97 percent of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s budget comes from the federal government.
Minnesota is expected to see a significant drop in refugee admissions in 2018 due to the 120-day refugee suspension, the discontinuation of chain migration, and President Trump's new restrictions and vetting requirements of travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.
Those requirements could effectively dismantle Minnesota's refugee resettlement program. The former "Follow to Join" process, which allows eligible US residents to bring their spouses and children to the US, is now on hold indefinitely. Increased vetting is expected to either add longer wait times to the overall resettlement process or make it difficult for people come to the country.
I doubt 99.9% of Americans are aware of this.
Clarification: Lutheran Social Services Refugee Services, which is the primary quasi-Governmental group responsible for resettling large numbers of Muslim refugees in Minnesota, is associated with the ELCA, not the Missouri Synod or WELS Lutheran Church.

I pulled these figures from the Minnesota DHS website. This is a summary of actual expenditures for welfare in Minnesota for 2017. Nearly $13 billion per year, or an average benefit of $55,652 per low-income household. Of importance to note are the expenses for Daycare Assistance and PCA Assistance. A total of nearly $25,000 per household. The Star Tribune article from last weekend, that I included in comments, says that the Somali community receives 28% of all state welfare payments for these programs alone - yet they supposedly account for less than 2% of the population. WHERE is all that money going? Who is NOT receiving benefits in Minnesota that SHOULD?
I am not a trained auditor. But if I can find this information in 30 minutes, why can't the professionals? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO. They purposefully change the program names to make it confusing and misleading. No wonder people love to come to Minnesota. The taxpayers provide such lovely benefits, it's cheaper not to work. If the DHS investigators are correct, and the Minnesota welfare fraud rate is 50-80%, we are talking billions and billions of dollars every year. Shut it down. SHUT IT DOWN NOW.
Minnesota has the highest per capita Muslim refugees in the United States. Catholic Charities is the second largest resettlement service in Minnesota. If you disagree with their efforts to import Islam to Minnesota, discuss this with your church leadership and your political leadership. It starts with us.