Publisher's note: Ron Tamaccio is a retired professional airline pilot and senior military officer. After leaving those professions, he worked with the USDOT as an Regional Administrative Officer in Atlanta. He lives in Greenville with his wife, Patricia.
Ron Tamaccio: People fleeing their homes in fear for their lives deserve help. However, the knowledgeable, thoughtful, and cautious among the compassionate think it’s better if that help comes in the form of temporary assistance, i.e., a “safe haven,” in their own, or nearby countries, with similar values and customs. Those who take the time to “think” instead of “react” also know that what these unfortunate people do not need – and, in most cases, do not even want - is a permanent relocation to another continent!
Regrettably, as with nearly all disasters, the charlatans and profiteers arrive. In this case, we have nine groups of “voluntary agencies” (VOLAGS), with names that sound like they are associated with a church or some other religious entity, competing for extremely lucrative government contracts, in 181 US cities, to assist the US State Department in carrying out the reckless and dangerous UN mandate to resettle refugees from the Middle East.
Sadly, most of these VOLAGS, and their 350 subcontractors, only get involved with resettlement programs because they are paid very well for their “charitable services.” Usually, their compensation comes in the form of a per-capita fee for each refugee they relocate. These are not altruistic, well-intentioned entities. They are opportunists seeking to profit from the unfortunate circumstances of others, and the unbelievably naïve largess of the US Government! Once they get their “payday”, they will disappear, leaving behind the problems they helped create. The cost to correct them, is, of course, left to the taxpayers!
Unfortunately, even some of the traditional charitable organizations are succumbing to the temptation of “fee-for-service” reimbursements for their humanitarian efforts. When compensation is involved, “charity” becomes “enterprise.” “Good works” become “jobs,” and the “mission” becomes a high-stakes confidence game! Real “charity” requires using your own resources, not someone else’s!
If all the Federal dollars disappeared from this program, most of the VOLAGS would disappear as well. This is a Billion Dollar Boondoggle. To be precise, it had a $1.059 Billion price tag for FY-2015, and that does not include subsidized housing, most healthcare, food stamps, cash assistance, public education, or the costs to the criminal justice system! These outrageous costs are directly attributable to a group of unscrupulous scammers who are using the unfortunate situation in the Middle East to enrich themselves and their organizations.
Shame on them and shame on the elected officials and government bureaucrats who accept their irrational arguments without challenge, and provide outrageous amounts of money to support their imprudent programs.
Furthermore, these VOLAGS, and their supporters, cleverly orchestrated a false-choice scenario to support their profiteering. Arguments like “If we don’t relocate the refugees, they will all be killed,” obviously ignore other, much less expensive alternatives.
Next, add things like: fraudulent security reports, a wholly ineffective vetting process, and totally inadequate, or, in some cases, completely nonexistent medical screenings for communicable diseases, and you have a dangerously flawed strategy for allowing refugees from the Middle East to settle in our communities.
So, what’s the solution? One, increasingly popular, proposal is to temporarily P A U S E the entire refugee resettlement program. It’s not that hard to understand or implement.
Pause it. Audit it. Uncover the role of the UN in it. Suspend all funding for it. Explore other options.
Once again, just a few weeks ago, political leaders in Washington failed to take serious action to protect us from the dangerous threat of terror attacks from jihadists imbedded in the refugee population. Instead of withholding funding from the current program, they provided 100% funding for it in the Omnibus Budget Bill!
Finally, the ultimate irony: funding for this UN mandate is more than double the total amount of discretionary spending the Veteran’s Administration requested to treat the needs of our military veterans for all of FY-2016.
Outrageous, yes; disgraceful, absolutely!