Obama To Allow 75,000 Syrian Muslims Into U.S.
Up to 10,000 Syrian refugees, most of them Muslims, will be resettled in cities throughout the U.S. in 2015, with that figure expected to surge to near 75,000 over the next five years. While some of the planned destinations for these refugees are starting to leak out, the big question is: where will they be going?
The U.S. State Department does not announce where it plans to send foreign refugees for resettlement within the United States, although the locations do eventually show up in a government database some weeks after they arrive in their host cities. Word of their anticipated arrivals will sometimes surface earlier in local media reports.
And that’s already happening in North Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington. The Jamestown Sun of Jamestown, North Dakota, reported recently that the Midwestern state is expecting about 400 new refugees to arrive from the Middle East this year.
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and its “community partners,” which include schools, medical facilities, law enforcement, county and volunteer agencies and churches, are anticipating a shift in the ongoing resettling of refugees there. The state is expecting a slowing of the influx of Hindus from Bhutan and an increase in the number of Muslims coming from the Middle East, reported Ann Corcoran in her Refugee Resettlement Watch blog.
The Lutheran agency has recently resettled a number of people from Afghanistan, and is planning for refugees in the coming months from Syria and Iraq, who are escaping the brutality of the Islamic State, also called ISIS, and civil war in Syria, the Sun reported.
Laetitia Mizero, program director and state refugee coordinator at Lutheran Social Services, said 260 refugees will settle in the Fargo area, about 95 in Grand Forks and 45 in Bismarck. Once a city gets a refugee “seed community” started, it tends to grow, Corcoran said. That’s because the resettlement agency, the Lutherans in this case, then gets paid by the government to resettle the family members of the initial refugees.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky Refugee Ministries Executive Director John Koehlinger said an Iraqi-American in that city has started an Arabic newspaper to serve the “large number of refugees from Iraq” in Louisville. That’s a trend that started around 2008 — and now Louisville is preparing to aid the first wave of refugees from Syria in 2015, the Courier-Journal reported.
“Refugees have been coming from Iraq in large numbers for five years,” Koehlinger told the Courier-Journal. “I think that the time is right for a newspaper for that (Arab) community.” Obama creates task force on ‘New Americans’ The U.S. State Department places refugees in 180 cities across 49 states with help from nine contractors, most of them affiliated with Christian denominations. See the list of resettlement offices in all 180 U.S. cities where U.N.-selected refugees are being resettled.
WND has reported that mayors in Georgia, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have been outspoken in their opposition to the State Department sending any more refugees to their cities, saying the refugees have been a drain on social services and taxpayer dollars. The cost of resettling the refugees has been estimated at more than $1 billion a year. Yet, the Obama administration maintains that refugees and asylum seekers are good for the U.S. economy.
The U.S. has brought in nearly 2 million refugees from Muslim countries since President Jimmy Carter signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law. With the massive increase in U.S. immigration, both legal and illegal, President Obama announced on Jan. 12 he is creating a “White House Task Force on New Americans” under the direction of Cecilia Muñoz, one of his trusted aides and a former vice president for National Council of La Raza or “the Race.”
“By March 2015, the Task Force will submit a plan to the president that includes recommendations for federal actions to promote the integration of new Americans,” the announcement states. “In developing this plan, we need to hear from you. You know best what is working to support immigrant integration in your community.” The White House says it is seeking input “on promising practices and examples of model programs that help immigrants and refugees to contribute to your communities and our economy.”
“We also need your input to ensure that federal programs and policies continue to reflect our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our country,” the White House statement said.