Why Is The UN Determining Who Becomes Humanitarian Refugees In The US?

by Jerry Gordon (Jan. 2008)

Since 1976, more than 2.6 million new citizens have entered America as legal humanitarian refugees according to reports of the US State Department.

Humanitarian refugees have literally won the proverbial lottery. Typically, they receive green cards as resident aliens within a year of arrival and are eligible to become full US citizens within five years, unless they violate our immigration laws, commit a felony or are deported. In the process they are provided with cash stipend and social services assistance from federal, state, NGO’s and voluntary agency contractors.

The irony is the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) determines which of the world’s huddled masses comes to the US as humanitarian refugees.  UNHCR trends for 2006 indicate that worldwide there were more than 32.9 million ‘persons of concern’ with approximately one third defined as ‘refugees’. Major refugee ‘hot spots’ include the Horn of Africa with Somalia, Darfur in the Sudan and Ethiopia, Iraq, Pakistan and Myanmar. The US is the third highest ranked country in terms of hosting refugees. The annual budget for the UNHCR is over $1.7 billion derived from government contributions, foundation grants and donations.

A veritable cottage industry of federal and state alphabet soup agencies, NGO’s and voluntary agencies or VOLAG contractors has sprung up to facilitate absorption of humanitarian refugees.

At the top of this cottage industry is the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) headed by Assistant Secretary Ellen Sauerbrey, a former Maryland GOP gubernatorial candidate.  BPRM, the second largest bureau in the State Department, has a budget approximating $1 billion. The BPRM is required under the Refugee Act of 1980 and its amendments to report to Congress annually on authorizations for refugees in various regions in the world.

Another federal bureaucracy involved in the humanitarian refugee ‘industry’ is the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that administers a program of cash stipends and social assistance through a network composed of various state departments of social services and contracts with a large array of voluntary agencies. These groups include Catholic Charities, Church World Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and dozens of others.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) at the US Department of Homeland Security uses so-called roving teams at US Embassies to screen humanitarian refugees for security and immigration purposes.

As we shall see, the untoward consequence of UN control over the humanitarian refugee program in the US is discrimination against groups like the imperiled half million Christians who have fled Iraq.

More concerning is that the UN control of humanitarian refugee processing has introduced Jihadis among the Somalis from the Horn of Africa, who now number in the tens of thousands throughout America. The Somalis have brought with them strict Islamic Sharia values that violate our Constitution and Civil Rights laws and mock our Judeo Christian values. Still worse, they, and some other refugee groups, have brought with them undetected contagious diseases like TB, Hepatitis and HIV that evaded health screening prior to their entry to America. 

The Somali immigrants are a significant proportion of those included in the humanitarian refugee program for Africa. For the Federal Fiscal year ended, September 30, 2007, according to information from the ORR, 7, 500 Somalis entered this country out of a total of 17,000 such refugees allotted to Africa. The aggregate total of Somali refugees as of 2005 was close to 70,000. Given figures for both 2006 and 2007, the current aggregate may approximate 90,000. The concern is what proportion of these received proper medical and security screening before entering this country.

This has caused disruptions in both large and small communities through America. Communities like Minneapolis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville, Emporia, Kansas, Lewiston, Maine and Shelbyville, Tennessee.

These disruptions occurred in American heartland communities as a by-product of conscious refugee policies adopted during the Clinton administration and in a number of instances, local business community interests that took advantage of the change.

We wrote about these dynamics in Nashville:

The growth in Nashville’s immigrant population was a product of a Clinton Administration initiative in the 1990’s by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to vector refugees away from the traditional gateway cities to the nation’s interior. It was also part of a conscious plan by Nashville and Tennessee business leaders led by former Mayor now Governor Phil Bredersen to attract new industries to the region. Employers like Nissan, the Saturn division of GM, Dell Computers, Hospital Corporation of America and the Opryland resort and hotel complex created over 260,000 new jobs in the Metro region in the decade of the 1990’s. Unemployment remains dramatically low in the Nashville metro area. Many immigrants filled low end manual jobs. However, about one fifth of these immigrants still live below the national poverty levels.

Nashville is ranked 1st among major American cities in terms of the per capita proportion of foreign born residents.

The following evidence demonstrates  that our  humanitarian refugee program which  ‘fast tracks’ new US citizens is broken and is in very bad need of repair.  It cries out for Congressional oversight investigations. It is a national not a state issue. 

The Desperate Plight of trapped Iraqi Christians

In late November, a delegation that included former South Carolina Governor Beasley, William Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition, Dr. Keith Roderick, Washington Representative of Christian Solidarity International (CSI), journalist, author and human rights activist Kenneth Timmerman met with Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the BPRM and her staff about the Iraqi refugee crisis. They reported on their recent fact–finding mission in Jordan and other Middle East locations. What they got was a polite reception and no support to correct the current UNHCR refugee certification effort in the region that discriminates against Iraqi Christians.

According to Dr. Keith Roderick of Christian CSI, Iraqi Christian refugees, even those who would be classified under our Humanitarian Refugee guidelines as Extremely Vulnerable Persons (EVP), are being directed to UNHCR Offices in Amman, Jordan. They are entrapped in a long bureaucratic process. Many have reported that they are discriminated against, files are lost and stories that substantiate their profound fear of persecution including death threats are dismissed. The US Embassy in Amman is virtually impenetrable with Jordanian guards at the initial point of contact for refugees. They are all directed to UNHCR offices, even when they could take advantage of the Direct Access Program or Immigration P-2 Visas for family reunification.

The UNCHR receives tens of millions in compensation from our government for this processing function.

As Ken Timmerman writes in a NewsMax.com article, “Iraq Christian Refugees Ignored by U.N.” on the plight of Iraqi Christian translators, very few of the 500 translators and US Embassy workers eligible to receive emergency relocation have been certified under a Congressional mandate for those facing death threats. This, despite the fact that they had brought with them letters of appreciation from US commanders and the US Embassy in Baghdad. They were not allowed to present them. Why? Because local UNHCR workers discovered that they were Christians and would not process them.

Consider these comments from Murray in the Timmerman article:

“The UNCHR interest is to get people to fill out their forms and register as asylum-seekers, because they receive money from Uncle Sam. They have no interest in helping these people whatsoever.”

Murray’s other observation should was acute:

“It reminds me of what certain people say about Jews – the Jews are better organized….we see that applied to Christians from Iraq. When you say that about Jews, it’s called anti-Semitism. This is a cultural bias, but against Christians.”

I asked Dr. Roderick what could be done. He indicated that the clearance procedures for these Iraqi Christians who are considered ‘Extremely Vulnerable Persons’ under our humanitarian refugee rules have a problem with the CIS roving teams. The CIS procedures require these Christian applicants to bring evidence of bank records and property deeds. Having fled death threats from both Iraqi Sunni and Shia insurgent groups, these documents are virtually impossible to obtain.

I asked Dr. Roderick what he would recommend.

He indicated that CIS should waive these onerous requirements in lieu of the US Embassy and US commander letters documenting their valued service to America in Iraq. He suggested that perhaps the solution might be in the form of executive waivers and/or Congressional resolutions and legislative amendments. The other possible solution is to create administrative units or provinces for Iraqi Christian minorities in their ancestral homelands on the Nineveh Plain. These administrative units would provide local policing and security for their villages and economic development.

As our State department has authorized more than 12,000 humanitarian refugee allotments for Iraq, priority should be given to these Iraqi Christians who are deemed ‘Extremely Vulnerable Persons.”

In a response to an inquiry from Brian Treacy of the blog UsOrThem about the handling of the Iraqi Christian Refugees, Sauerbrey replied:

Dear Mr. Treacy: 


I am writing in response to your request for information about resettlement of Iraqi Christian refugees in the United States


Referrals to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, worldwide, come from U.S. embassies, non-government organizations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  UNHCR has the international mandate to provide protection to refugees around the globe.  The United States, like other refugee resettlement countries, looks to UNHCR to identify and refer to our program, the most vulnerable and persecuted cases each year.   


UNHCR has included religious persecution in its criteria for identifying vulnerable Iraqi cases to refer for resettlement, and has already referred thousands of Iraqi Christians to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.  Other criteria include persons targeted because of their close association with U.S. forces, torture victims, persons with critical medical needs, and unaccompanied minors among others.


Over 50% of the approximately 2,500 Iraqis who have arrived in the United States as refugees during fiscal year 2007 and to date in fiscal year 2008 are Christian, as are 30% of all the Iraqis that have been referred to the U.S. program since January 2007.  We cannot predict  precisely how many Iraqi Christians will be referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in the future, nor how many will be resettled in the United States as refugees.  However, we expect that Christians will continue to comprise a significant portion of future Iraqi refugee arrivals. 


I hope that this information is responsive to your request.



Ellen R. Sauerbrey

Assistant Secretary of State for

Population, Refugees, and Migration 


There appears to be a disconnect between the report of the ad hoc fact finding commission and this response from Sauerbrey.

TB breaks out among Somali meat packing workers at Tyson’s Food in Emporia, Kansas

Emporia, Kansas is a town located in the East Flint Hills about two hours equidistant from both Kansas City and Wichita. Tyson Foods has a major meat packing plant there with more than 2000 workers. Tyson transferred 400 Somali meat packers from its plant that it closed in Norfolk, Nebraska to Emporia.

The problem is that Tyson may have inadvertently also transferred a highly contagious disease – active and latent TB – carried by these Somali workers into Emporia.

The Emporia outbreak of TB and other contagious diseases is not a matter isolated to this small Kansas community.  It is also of concern in another small community, Shelbyville, Tennessee where another Tyson Foods plant employs a group of several hundred Somali immigrant meat packers. This is reflected in a Times-Gazette series dealing with problems among their Somali immigrant meat packing workers.

There was at least one Emporia death from TB reported in 2006. Screenings of Tyson Somali workers for TB by a local Community Health Center revealed a number of positive tests after skin testing and chest X-rays were taken. The Community Health Center actions were spotlighted in a recent Topeka Journal article. The Topeka Journal writer, Mike Shields, who is also on the staff of the Kansas Health Institute, did not include the death of a Tyson Foods Somali worker from a latent case of TB reported by the Emporia Gazette in January of this year. There was also something else revealed by State Representative Peg Mast of Lyon County. Did Tyson Foods cooperate on treatment of those positive TB cases developed from the local health center screenings following the death of the Somali worker? Somalis have cultural difficulties in taking medications of any sort. Thus, there is no assurance that contagious TB, whether latent or active, in the group of screened Tyson workers has been eradicated.

The January Emporia Gazette article revealed how lax the worker health screenings were at Tyson’s Emporia meat packing plant.

The Tyson plant conducts TB screenings annually for the nursing staff and designated translators, according to Gary Mickelson, Tyson spokesman.

All new workers complete a health history questionnaire that asks questions about medical background, including whether they have tuberculosis or have been tested for the disease.

“In addition, when we learn of workers with latent TB or TB-related concerns, we connect them with the county health department, which can provide information, testing and help with follow-up care,” he said. Tyson encourages those with latent TB “to make sure they continue to take their medicine.”

“In light of the recent TB-related death, we plan to have additional discussions with county health officials about other possible measures.”

Phil Griffin, director of the Kansas TB prevention and control program of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was not in favor of legislation to require latent TB patients to take medication, as is required of active TB patients.

This could engender a significant public health problem for Tyson, Emporia, Shelbyville and the nation because of the lack of health screenings for communicable diseases like TB, hepatitis and HIV among the humanitarian refugee populations. It could also mean that US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) public and worker health regulations may have been violated by Tyson. A further problem for giant beef, pork and poultry processor Tyson Foods, already embroiled in US and worker class action suits at its Shelbyville, Tennessee facilities arising from employment of illegal Hispanic immigrants. Those illegal workers were replaced with legal Somali meat packers in both the Emporia and Shelbyville Tyson plants.

Rep. Mast and I were interviewed by Topeka KMAJ talk radio host, Jim Cates regarding this development and the raft of problems associated in assimilating Somalis into this Kansas community of 30,000.

The introduction of Somali meat packing workers by Tyson has roiled the community. Aid and assistance from grants made by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Immigration unit to NGOs like Catholic Charities and other groups engaged in ‘inter-cultural relations’ such as the Spring Institute of Denver, Colorado have not solved the problems.

A recent Emporia Gazette poll indicated that a further planned influx of Somalis increased the unease of the town’s population. Overwhelmingly, the pulse of the community revealed that the presence of the Somalis constitutes a real problem. In response to the question, “Do you want Emporia to become a direct resettlement community for refugees?” Eighty-nine percent of the 1,765 respondents said ‘no’, seven percent said ‘yes’ and two percent said they were ‘undecided’. Problems with Somali humanitarian refugees have popped up in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lincoln, Nebraska, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kansas City, Nashville and Shelbyville, Tennessee and most visibly Lewiston, Maine. Lewiston is struggling to cope with a burgeoning Somali population which has over 50 percent unemployment and is a burden on local and state welfare programs.

Rep. Mast in the KMAJ interview drew attention to the high incidence of TB cases and the death reported in the wake of the Tyson transfer of Somali workers from the company’s plant in Norfolk, Nebraska to Emporia, Kansas. She also noted that other communicable diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV might be resident in the Somali immigrant worker population.

Rep. Mast obtained data on the number of TB cases reported to the State of Kansas, Department of Health and Environment for the year 2006 and the ten months reported to date in 2007. Using data on the populations for four Kansas Counties, including Lyon with Emporia, the largest town, we calculated the incidence rates of TB cases per 1,000 population. The incidence rate for Emporia was nearly 5 times the level reported in the other three populous Kansas counties.

This significant difference in TB incidence rates in Kansas highlights the need for a comprehensive investigation by the USCDC. Further, it raises questions of whether or not there are similar dramatic patterns of TB incidence in other Somali communities in the US such as Shelbyville.

During the KMAJ interview, we noted that this was not just a local public health matter, but a national one. It required the dispatch of health investigators from the US CDC in Atlanta to review Emporia Community Health Center records and request access to Tyson Foods health records. It also raises the national problem of the lack of requisite health screenings for humanitarian refugees prior to their admittance to the US. In the event that these matters have fallen through the proverbial cracks, it raises concerns about the lack of active health screenings for such communicable diseases by major food processing employers like Tyson Foods.

After these revelations, Rep. Mast went to Washington, DC to consult with the Kansas Congressional delegation about the TB and contagious disease problems among Somali immigrant workers at the Tyson’s plant in Emporia. Mast is an 11-year Republican Kansas state representative whose district includes Emporia.

Mast noted in a NewsMax.com article entitled, “ Small Towns Grapple with Diseased Immigrants’  by Tom Squitieri, “We have not really gotten Congress to engage, which I would like to see occur,” I have talked with some of the offices and they think it is more of a state issue…”

Somali Cultural Jihad confronts our laws and cultural values

Bruce Tefft, “Beowulf” as he is known in the blogosphere, is a retired CIA officer and now a counter terrorism consultant to governments both here and abroad.  During his ‘company’ career, Tefft served in the Horn of Africa and got to know the Somalis. He considers them “the toughest foot soldiers of Islam” in Africa.  He observed when questioned about the Somali humanitarian immigrants that it is virtually impossible to screen Somalis for background security checks and any health certificates presented to US Embassy CIS teams would be highly suspect. 

There’s another problem with the Somali immigrant community – possible fraud.  Don Barnett in a research report entitled; “Out of Africa: Somali Bantu and the paradigm shift in Refugee Resettlement“ published by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2003, noted that Bantus are a threatened minority in Somali and considered ‘Extremely Vulnerable Persons’  by the UNHCR, as they were treated as virtual slaves by Somali clans.  According to the CIS study and other sources, many Somalis represent that they are Bantus to become eligible for humanitarian status. The Shelbyville, Tennessee Times-Gazette reflected this in its series on understanding the Somali cultural assimilation problems in their community. Ann Corcoran of the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch has monitored the Shelbyville, Tennessee situation and questioned the Bantu background of Somali refugees arriving in the community:

The Bantu have enormous barriers to overcome in their introduction to American society. Their status as immigrants, their lack of English skills, illiteracy and the fact they possess no modern job skills, will only make the challenge that much harder.

The Center [Cultural Orientation Resource Center] also states that resettlement professionals will have to deal with significant health care, sanitation, and social support issues relating to small children and mothers, pointing out that the Bantu use pit latrines and “are unfamiliar with typical American bathroom facilities and common sanitation items such as diapers and feminine care products.”

Some Somalis avoid the humanitarian refugee track entirely and enter the US illegally by coming across the porous border with Mexico.

Witness this stunning comment regarding an Arab speaking American’s encounter with a Somali cab driver in a major Midwestern city.

A woman hailed a cab at an airport in a major American city. There was a cab rank with what appeared to be nothing but Somali cab drivers. So, she chose the next one in the queue and popped in with her luggage. She gave the cab driver instructions as to her destination, an international conference at a hotel in this city. Unbeknownst to the driver, the very American looking woman spoke some Arabic. The driver was playing very loudly a tape with an Imam compelling him and others to commit Jihad against unbelievers. The driver smiled in his rear view mirror, thinking that his fare was totally ignorant of what was being said. Wrong.

After the outburst was over the woman calmly asked the driver why the message he was listening to was so violent. The driver was flummoxed-shocked that this very American looking woman understood Arabic. He relaxed and haughtily told her that he had come to America with his uncle by walking across the border from Mexico, how easy it was to do that, and  made his way to join family in this major city.

Some recent excesses of Somali immigrant abuse of our laws and values have occurred in the largest Somali émigré community in the US, Minneapolis.

A cabal of Somalis in the Minneapolis area was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune to have scammed the government of $1.5 million. This scam involved phony translation services for allegedly processing Medicaid claims. The problem is that the perpetrators of this scam were leaders in the largest Somali community in the US. The wife of the convicted duo, Indadeeq Omar, was the niece of an assassinated Somali President and founder of the major Somali social services organization in Minneapolis. She and her husband, Mohamed Essa, were assisted by a former insider at the Medicaid processing group, Medica, Tou Chaiker Vang.

They spent their ill-gotten gains on buying a home, a fancy custom Chrysler 300 C car and educating their three children at a private school.

Earlier this year, we published a report concerning another fraud scam by Somalis in Nashville. This involved the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health Services, concerning the head of the Somali Nashville Community Center who was indicted for his involvement with an Al Qaeda connected Muslim money transfer business, Al Barakat.

We are not saying that there is a pattern among Somali immigrants, who enter the US under humanitarian refugee programs, to engage in illegal activities. However, both matters bear investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota has a meditation room, which functions as a sex-segregated Mosque with Islamic materials that derogate both Christians and Jews. Wash basins in college lavatories are used as wudus, or foot baths, for Somali Muslim students in this Minneapolis area public college. That was the experience of Star Tribune writer Katherine Kersten when she visited the community college and spoke with students and administration.

Here is what Kersten found when she entered the ‘meditation room’:

A row of chest-high barriers splits the room into sex-segregated sections. In the smaller, enclosed area for women sits a pile of shawls and head-coverings. Literature titled “Hijaab [covering] and Modesty” was prominently placed there, instructing women on proper Islamic behavior.

They should cover their faces and stay at home, it said, and their speech should not “be such that it is heard.”

“Enter into Islaam completely and accept all the rulings of Islaam,” the tract read in part. “It should not be that you accept what entertains your desires and leave what opposes your desires; this is from the manners of the Jews.”

“[T]he Jews and the Christians” are described as “the enemies of Allaah’s religion.” The document adds: “Remember that you will never succeed while you follow these people.”

A poster on the room’s door advertised a local lecture on “marriage from an Islamic perspective,” with “useful tips for marital harmony from the Prophet’s … life.” Other fliers invited students to join the Normandale Islamic Forum, or participate in Ramadan celebrations.

One thing was missing from the meditation room: evidence of any faith but Islam. No Bible, no crucifix, no Torah.

One history professor at Normandale commented:

“For all practical purposes, this meditation room is essentially a Muslim prayer room,” said Chuck Chalberg of Normandale’s history faculty. “Something this unprecedented goes beyond religious toleration.”

As a public institution, Normandale Community College is possibly violating separation of church provisions of the US constitution, all because of intimidation by Muslims in the student body. It also may be violating Title IX of the US Civil Rights law as regarding segregation by sex. What is occurring in this Minnesota Community College is adoption of Sharia by intimidation of the administration.

Ms. Kersten is to be commended for publishing this blog entry. It has generated more than several hundred comments since it was posted. It should be of concern as well to Chancellor James H. McCormack and trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and University System. The prayer room ought to be closed as it violates US law because it constitutes proselytizing of a faith and it segregates women, a violation of civil rights laws.

Apparently, the Minnesota ACLU agreed with these observations and did something about it. On December 18th, it sent a letter to the President of Normandale. In a press release, the ACLU chapter noted:

The ACLU-MN is concerned that the way the prayer room is currently structured may violate the establishment clause, which states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

The ACLU-MN sent a letter yesterday to Normandale Community College asking for more information about how exactly the prayer room is used, and explaining what the current laws say about reasonable accommodation. ACLU-MN does not oppose allowing students a space to pray but the school must allow students of all denominations equal access to space. In the letter to Normandale Community College we urge that if the allegations are indeed true that Normandale must take immediate action to remedy the problem.

“The wisdom of our founding fathers on the entanglement of religion and government is as important today as it was 200 years ago,” said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU Minnesota.

While the ACLU concentrated on the establishment clause, doubtless, the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights should lodge a complaint regarding the violation of Title IX of the US Civil Rights Law regarding sex discrimination in public facilities.

What these ‘cases’ clearly indicate is the untoward consequences of the UN determining who comes to the US and becomes a citizen. The UNHCR mandate has created cracks in the US humanitarian refugee program. Discrimination against one group of imperiled refugees, as in the instance of Christians from Iraq, while on the other hand permitting Somalis who may harbor Jihadis to become US citizens and impose Sharia Islamic standards while breaking our laws suggests that the 1980 Refugee Act is a scandal. It needs more than the palliatives outlined in a 2003 State Department report on reform of this refugee program, entitled, “The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program: Reforms for a New Era of Refugee Resettlement.”

As revered US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said in one of his landmark dissents:  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”  The ‘disinfectant’ in the matter of the broken humanitarian immigration program is an investigation by an oversight committee of Congress leading to the overhaul of the tattered 1980 Refugee Act.

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