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Number of Syrian Refugees Resettled in Nevada May Soar in FY 2017

Twenty-three Syrian refugees have been resettled in Nevada during the first 25 days of FY 2017, according to the State Department’s interactive website.

Should this pace of Syrian refugee resettlement continue for the remaining 340 days of the fiscal year, 335 Syrian refugees will be resettled in the state, a more than 400 percent increase from the 60 Syrian refugees resettled there in FY 2016.

No Syrian refugees were resettled in Nevada until FY 2015, when 8 arrived.

Until late in FY 2016, all Syrian refugees were resettled in Clark County (Las Vegas) by Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. In September 2016, however, three Syrian refugees were resettled in Reno by the Northern Nevada International Center  the local affiliate of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, one of the nine politically powerful voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) who are paid more than $1 billion per year by the federal government to operate the refugee resettlement program.

During the first 25 days of FY 2017, 17 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Reno by the Northern Nevada International Center, 6 have been resettled in Las Vegas by Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement and the State Department recently indicated it will be expanding the resettlement of refugees to smaller communities around the country.

Last November, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said “she never let her formal support for the application by the Northern Nevada International Center to begin the [Syrian] refugee resettlement program [in Reno],” the Reno Gazette-Journal reported:

Reno could begin accepting Syrian, Iraqi, Cuban and other refugees who have undergone extensive federal screening as early as next summer if a local non-profit organization’s application to become a resettlement agency is approved.
The center’s application, which coincidentally was sent just hours before news of the unfolding terrorist attacks in Paris reached the United States, claims support from Schieve and the Reno city manager’s office.

The center’s application to become an “affiliate refugee resettlement agency of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants” was first reported by Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Jon Ralston.

Schieve said several months ago she had reached out to the center to learn more about how Reno might become part of the humanitarian effort to relocate more than 20,000 Syrian refugees who have been referred to the United States for resettlement consideration. No more than 10,000 could actually be resettled through the U.S. State Department and its partner agencies.

But when it came time for the center to file the application, Schieve had yet to ask the full Reno City Council to approve a resolution of support—a resolution Schieve said would be necessary for the city to formally back the effort.

“The one thing we are in support of are any humanitarian efforts,” Schieve said. “At the same time, we don’t condone anything to do with terrorists, of course. We have to take pause to make sure this vetting process is exactly what the federal government needs it to be, especially in light of the Paris attack.”

Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the federal government and the director of Office of Refugee Resettlement are required to consult with state and local officials prior to the resettlement of refugees within their jurisdiction.

The federal government, however, has for the most part, failed to comply with the “consultation clause” of the Refugee Act of 1980, and several states, including Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee, are suing the federal government for that violation of the law. Tennessee, which has withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program, is also suing on Tenth Amendment grounds.

Though no local government has yet filed a similar lawsuit, L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive for Oakland County, Michigan, said last month he intends to sue the federal government for its failure to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980’s “consultation clause,” and the trustees of Waterford Township in Michigan recently unanimously passed a resolution stating the township would not cooperate with the refugee resettlement program.

The number of refugees resettled in Nevada has increased steadily each year since 2011. If the current pace of the first 25 days of October continues for the balance of FY 2017, about five times as many refugees would be resettled in the state in FY 2017 (1,528) as were resettled in FY 2011 (325).

Nevada withdrew from the federal refugee resettlement program in 1994. Since that time, the federal refugee resettlement program has been operated under the statutorily questionable Wilson Fish alternative program, when the federal government selected Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada to be the resettlement agency to manage the program in the state on its behalf.

On its website, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada says:

On average, we welcome 2,200 refugees per year into Las Vegas. Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) helps refugees from all over the world rebuild their lives after they have been forced to leave their families, homes, and countries behind because of racial, religious, or political persecution, often fleeing for their life. Our goal is to help refugees become self-sufficient and lead independent lives as quickly as possible.

The number cited at the website, 2,200 refugees per year, is actually a combination of several different legal categories of federally assisted immigrants, which the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement refers to as “all served populations”: (1) refugees who are purportedly fleeing war or instability in their home country (2) parolees from countries like Cuba, which are in a special category (3) asylees,  (4) certified Victims of Trafficking, and (5) Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Catholic Charities serves as both the State Refugee Coordinator (SRC), and a local resettlement agency but it wasn’t until FY 2011, that they separated these roles by creating two distinct departments within Catholic Charities.  Catholic Charities, Nevada Office for Refugees (CCSN/NOR)  now serves as the designated State Refugee Coordinator’s office for Nevada,” an attorney familiar with the refugee resettlement program tells Breitbart News.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, in a letter to President Obama in November, expressed concern over Syrian refugees that were being resettled in the state.

“I am specifically concerned about the background checks performed for Syrian refugees sent to Nevada for resettlement, and would appreciate further guidance on the benefits eligibility of such persons while they reside here,” Sandoval said.

The Washington Post reported that Sandoval was “taking the middle ground” approach to the arrival of Syrian refugees, implying a willingness to concede to the federal government once he is satisfied with the vetting.

Sandoval’s letter to President Obama appears to have had little impact on the subsequent resettlement of Syrian refugees in Nevada.

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