Flint, Michigan: ‘City Leaders Not Informed’ by Feds of Plan to Send 100 Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

Breitbart News has learned that a resettlement agency funded by the Obama administration plans to send 100 Iraqi and Syrian refugees to Flint, Michigan, in the fiscal year that begins next month on October 1.

But that plan appears to violate a clause in the federal Refugee Act of 1980 which requires the federal government and director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to consult with local as well as state governments prior to the placement of any refugees within their boundaries.

“At this point it appears city leaders have not been informed of the details regarding this matter,” a spokesperson for Mayor Karen Weaver and the city of Flint tells Breitbart News.

It’s the same story with the government of Genesee County, in which Flint is located.

“As of this time the Genesee County Board of Commissioners has not been notified of any settlement of 100 refugees from Middle East – South Asia,” Jamie Curtis, Chairman of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, tells Breitbart News through a spokesperson.

Flint, a city of 100,000, is in the midst of a financial and public health crisis due to high levels of lead in its drinking water after a 2014 change in its source from the Detroit Sewage and Water System to the Flint River.

According to this FY 2017 abstract submitted to the Department of State by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which operates in Michigan as Samaritas, the resettlement agency plans to bring 100 Iraqi and Syrian refugees to Flint Michigan in the twelve month fiscal year that begins in less than three weeks. The document was obtained in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

With all the financial and public health problems the city of Flint, Michigan faces, critics are wondering if it makes any sense to force 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees upon the citizens of Flint, Michigan.

The Obama administration told Congress on Tuesday it wants to increase the number of refugees brought into the U.S. in FY 2017 to 110,000 — up 29% from 85,000 in FY 2016.

Unless Congress specifically rejects Obama’s plan, that 110,000 number will go into effect starting October 1.

Resettlement agency abstracts across the country are almost always rubber-stamped by the Obama administration. That is likely to be the case in Michigan in FY 2017, as Breitbart reported recently.

Weaver, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling, also a Democrat, in 2015. Walling, a Rhodes Scholar, participated in the decision to switch the city’s water supply to the Flint River in 2014 that led to huge public health problems due to lead contamination. Those problems remain unresolved.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Flint on Wednesday, where he quipped, “It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint.” 

The FY 2017 abstract submitted to the State Department by Samaritas asserts that the unemployment rate in Fint is currently four percent.

“The official phony numbers [for unemployment] are in the area of 4% but there is more to the story,” a spokesperson for Secure Michigan, a grassroots group that opposes refugee resettlement in the state, tells Breitbart News in an emailed statement:

[According to a]  website called Homefacts . . . Flint has an unemployment rate of 10.8% compared to 5.4% MI and 4.9% nationally.

Flint is the 3rd highest city in MI after Detroit at 12.5% and Pontiac at 11.1%.

The median household income in Flint is $26,179.

The housing market is bleak with a backlog of 1,792 foreclosures and a median sales price of $12,600. Vacant property is 24.5% of all housing, rentals are 37.6% and owned is 37.9%.

The crime rate is 47.34% higher than national average, sex offenders are 80.25% higher than national average and schools rate below national average.

By any measurement it appears that Flint is running on fumes compared to its former greatness as an automotive giant.

The failure of the federal government to consult with local officials prior to the resettlement of refugees within their jurisdiction, while a violation of the Refugee Act of 1980, appears to be commonplace in the Obama administration. Local officials are often completely unaware of the arrival of refugees until after they have been resettled in their jurisdictions, as appears to be the case in Flint and Genesee County in Michigan.

In some instances, however, local officials have been secretly complicit in efforts to bring refugees into their localities, as was the case recently with Mayor Christopher Louras of Rutland, Vermont.

The resettlement agencies, or voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) which receive more than $1 billion annually in federal funds to resettle refugees in the United States, have become increasingly sophisticated at hiding increases in resettled refugees from state and local governments until after they arrive.

The intensity of the local opposition to the resettlement of refugees in Michigan is one of several factors that have now turned that usually reliable blue state into the toss-up category in  theNovember presidential election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Clinton vigorously supports increasing the number of refugees resettled in the United States above the FY 2016 ceiling of 85,000, and recently said she wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the United States from the 10,000 originally planned for FY 2016 to 65,000.

Donald Trump, in contrast, opposes increasing the annual number of refugees resettled in the United States.

News of the plan to place 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Flint, Michigan comes on the day the White House kicks off Welcoming Refugee Week, which will be capped off by an event next week at the United Nations.

You can read every FY 2017 refugee resettlement abstract submitted to the Department of State by Michigan resettlement agencies here:

 

Battle Creek (Calhoun County)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Flint (Genesee County)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (Samaritas)

Traverse City (Grand Traverse County)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Lansing (Ingham County, primarily, but also Eaton and Clinton Counties)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Catholic Charities

Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo County)

Catholic Charities

Grand Rapids (Kent County)

Church World Services

Episcopal Migration Ministries

Catholic Charities

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (Samaritas)

Grand Rapids – URM (Kent County)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Clinton Township (Macomb County)

Catholic Charities

Troy (Oakland County)

Episcopal Migration Ministries

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Madison Heights (Oakland County)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Ann Arbor (Washtenaw County)

HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigration Aid Society)

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (Samaritas)

Dearborn (Wayne County)

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

 


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