September 17, 2021


To The Citizens of Radford, Virginia

To The Citizens of Radford, Virginia

Over the past few weeks, two important meetings were held in Radford. The subject of both was to introduce Radford to the refugee resettlement program under the auspices of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, a sub-contractor for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB is a federal contractor in the business of resettling refugees in your community. Both meetings were conducted in local churches and sought volunteers to help with the resettlement activities.

Let’s start with some facts: who are these people, what are they doing here and why Radford?

USCCB is a federal contractor in the business – and yes, it is a business – of resettling refugees under the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Virginia Office of Newcomer Services. Much of their funding comes from federal grant money allocated to Virginia and passed through the Virginia ONS. Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGs) such as the USCCB are paid by the head. In other words, the more refugees they resettle, the more money they receive. Given this business model, there is no incentive for any VOLAG to stop resettling refugees in your community. Once it starts, it will not stop until either your community can’t shoulder any more or you stop it.

Yes, they are talking about only bringing in two families. But this is how it always starts. Look to your neighbors in the north in Roanoke to understand what awaits you. Roanoke has accepted close to 2,000 refugees over more than ten years from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Pakistan, Republic of South Sudan, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Vietnam.

And that number – 2,000 – is only the direct and initial refugee resettlement. It does not include secondary migration (when a refugee moves from one state and town to another within the US) or follow to join (family reunification). Source: Refugee Processing Center, US State Department.

To the Faith Communities of Radford

USCCB promotes refugee resettlement by reminding you of your Christian duties to aid those less fortunate than yourselves and to welcome the stranger. But, as a federal contractor that receives federal funding, the USCCB and their sub- contractor Commonwealth Catholic Charities are prohibited from testifying or proselytizing in any way, shape or form to the refugees they resettle. Conducting the introductory meetings in churches lends a patina of faith-based initiative to a project that is, in reality, based on maximizing profit for a federal contractor.

To Radford Volunteers for Refugee Resettlement

The USCCB receives grant money through the Matching Grant Program. This program provides federal matching for “in-kind” contributions from non-federal sources.

“Participating agencies agree to match the ORR grant with cash and in-kind contributions of goods and services from the “community”. The ORR awards $2 for every $1 raised by the resettlement agency from non-federal sources, including state and local support, United Way contributions, and in-kind support from other local and volunteer organizations, up to a maximum of $2,200 in federal funds per client. Of this match – an uneven public/private match – Volags and local affiliates only need to give 20 percent of the match in cash; the balance may be in cash, in-kind services, or donated goods.” See Christopher Coen’s full explanation here.

So…when you volunteer your time and donate your household furnishings and appliances to refugees, is it truly a donation or is a federal contractor receiving twice the value of your time and your goods to further fund their operations? It is a question that every volunteer should ask.

To the Parents of Radford

Look again at the list of countries from which refugees have arrived in Roanoke. Forgive the sarcasm, but so many languages in the schools system renders the junior year abroad unnecessary. What you need to ask yourselves is this: how will an influx of refugee children speaking multiple languages who may not even be literate in their native tongues affect the quality of education for your children? Aren’t your public schools challenged enough already serving the existing population of students?

To the Aid Recipients of Radford

Statistics prove that refugee populations depend on public assistance far more than the general population.

“According to the most recent government data, even those refugees in the country for five years are largely dependent on taxpayer largesse. Sixty percent of this group receives food stamps and 17 percent are on the cash welfare program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). A nationwide U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study shows 44 percent are still in Medicaid and 29 percent of families who have been here for five years have one or more members on the lifetime cash welfare program Supplemental Security Income (SSI).” Don Barnett, Center for Immigration Studies.

Economic troubles over the past few years have already put community resources under strain. Can Radford afford to accept more people who will, once their federal funding runs out in 90 to 120 days, burden the public assistance rolls even further? And what if there’s not enough to go around for everyone? Can you get by with less? And where will you live if there is not enough affordable housing to go around?

To the Employed of Radford

When Radford becomes a target for refugee resettlement, where will they all work? Are there any new businesses planning to relocate to Radford? I didn’t think so. If you are getting by, as so many of us are, with a low paying job, now you will have competition from a new group of low wage earners. Are you willing to lose your job and go on public assistance?

To the Health Care Professionals of Radford

Despite assurances from HHS and the ORR regarding the health screenings and treatment of refugee prior to entry into the US, local health departments are experiencing an increase in communicable diseases and disorders from refugee populations. The increase in cases of latent tuberculosis is particularly troubling. 22% of resettled refugees in Minnesota test positive for latent TB. And Arizona state officials have stated that active TB resulting from latent TB cases in the refugee population presents a public health issue. How will you and the Radford health system cope should there be an outbreak? More importantly, should Radford even take such risks?

To the Elected Officials of Radford

Many arguments can be made for allowing refugee resettlement in Radford. Virginia is a Dillon state, this is a federal program, etc. and the city council has no authority to oppose resettlement. The “stakeholders” all assure you that you cannot say “no” and don’t worry, everything will be just fine.

Turn your attention, please to this 3 minute video clip taken from the full Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Immigration and the National Interest dated October 1, 2015, Senator Jeff Sessions chairing.

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In the clip Larry Bartlett, Admissions Director, State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration states that on-going consultation with local communities regarding resettlement is required by the State Department and that the responsibility for these consultations is placed on the local resettlement agencies. He further states that the local resettlement agencies are required to report their compliance with this consultation requirement to the State Department.

Was the Radford City Council consulted? I didn’t think so. Actually, those two un-advertised meetings mentioned at the beginning of this article were probably the CCC’s attempt to comply with the requirement to “consult” as stated in Larry Bartlett’s testimony. Do you consider two un-posted and un-advertised meetings to which you were not invited proper and sufficient consultation? I wouldn’t.

Very rarely does “consultation with stakeholders” include elected officials. Those involved in refugee resettlement don’t include you because they don’t want you to know what’s going on. You are purposely being kept in the dark and for good reason.

The most important and final stakeholders in this scheme are the tax-paying citizens of Radford whose federal, state and local taxes ultimately pay for refugee resettlement – an undisclosed and unfunded mandate on the citizens of Radford.

More in-depth with video testimony :

Sen. Sessions Q&A on Refugee Resettlement program In U.S. Oct 1 2015. The Obama Administration plans to admit nearly 200,000 refugees over the next two years.