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Lifeline for Refugees in US Being Blocked by Tea Party Senator

Lifeline for Refugees in US Being Blocked by Tea Party Senator

 

Assistance to 5,600 disabled and elderly refugees that is literally life-saving is being blocked in the US Senate by Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

The $36 million Supplemental Security Income program, is, for many, their only source of income — and Congress has had to extend it every year because of an unfortunate side effect of a 1996 law that placed strict time limits on benefits for refugees who did not become citizens within seven years.

Yet many have been simply unable to meet the deadline because they are either very old and sick, blind or mentally disabled. Many could not afford administrative fees, couldn’t understand the requirement or were caught in processing backlogs.

As refugees, they are all survivors of persecution, torture or warfare and rely on government aid for basic food and housing needs.

On September 30, 2,195 refugees lost their benefits. Another 400 to 500 are expected to be cut off from aid each month as their eligibility runs out.

Congressional supporters have identified offsetting spending cuts to pay for it, but Paul claims that the money could be used to aid terrorists. Paul cites one incident where two refugees were arrested.

But in an extensive explanatory article, the British group Refugee Action explain how fears of the asylum and refugee system being ‘an open door for terrorists’ are misplaced.

It quotes the former British Home Secretary David Blunkett saying:

“We should not assume that asylum seekers are any more likely to be terrorists than anyone else. That would be wholly wrong, and deeply damaging to social cohesion and good race relations in this country.”

In fact, Refugee Council USA points out, asylum seekers and refugees are prime victims of terrorism and have suffered from the system’s reaction since 9/11:

Since 2004 thousands of persecuted refugees in need of protection, who pose no threat to national security, are being denied access to asylum and resettlement in the United States due to the unintended consequences of the overly-broad application of the “material support to terrorist organizations” bar (and related bars) to admissions.

Ironically, for many of these refugees and asylum seekers, the very circumstances that form the basis on their claim of persecution, have been interpreted in way to deny them entry into the U.S. Refugees and asylum seekers who are coerced or who have acted under duress are being denied protection by the U.S. government regardless of whether or not the “support” was voluntary.

The overbroad applications of the material support bar has eroded the U.S. refugee resettlement program and placed asylum seekers on hold—and often in prolonged detention. Moreover, there are thousands of refugee and asylees green card applications “on hold” for material support. Refugees who were admitted to the U.S. before the government began to apply the material support bar are now afraid to apply for green cards. Likewise, hundreds of family reunification petitions filed by refugees and asylees for their spouses and minor children are also on hold.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the bill’s sponsor, pointed out the life-threatening consequences of Paul’s actions:

“The bill ensures that refugees will not lose critical life-sustaining benefits that are their only safety net protecting them from homelessness, illness and other effects of extreme poverty,” he said, noting that “some of the disabled refugees this bill helps are people who have aided American troops overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan — and risked their lives for America’s cause.”

Paul was excoriated over his actions in an October 7th New York Times Editorial:

“His hold is letting innocent refugees suffer. He should lift it and end this disgrace.”

 

Related Stories:

Sen. Paul Blocking Pipeline Safety All By Himself

Mexican Gay Activist Fleeing Persecution Surfaces in San Diego

Jail Is No Place for US Immigration Detainees

 

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79 comments

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12:24AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Btw, Hawaii is not country. And, I'm not much for holding hands w/men (Limbaugh), but if you want to hold hands w/Pelosi, go right ahead. Now....go ahead & call me a fag-basher or some other hateful term. I personally have no prob w/gay rights, marriage or otherwise. So long as gays are not agressive towards me in any way, I'll be as polite & understanding to them as I am to anyone else who doesn't start BS w/me...

Oh & Marie W- "Rand again- the whole Tea Party needs to be dunked in boiling water and left to steep"
I'm so glad the liberals are so non-violent. I mean, considering that Palin put cross hairs on some picture & the conservatives are always talking w/violent imagery....Yep....

11:38PM PDT on Oct 24, 2011

Ira L- You're a HATER! LOL!!! God I love when people use that as an insult. "Throwing stones from glass houses" comes to mind- such a pansy insult anyway. Take it back to the sand-box & don't insult me by calling me a republican & I won't insult you w/"democrat." If you honestly believe the far right OR left is really any diff behind closed doors (when it comes to caring about their fellow man) then I've got a bridge I'll sell you to cross that river of $hit you're spewing. Sounds like someone rubbed you the wrong way this morning? Sounds like you're lucky to be rubbed at all.

RE my Kenya remark- MO said it was his home country. Liberals tried to spin it. But I believe Patrick F's argument about the 57 state thing before I'll believe that. I've argued w/him plenty & at least his retort made sense- I'm not sure it's true, but it IS possible & I'll give credit where it's due, even though I disagree w/the way he often comes across- I've come to believe that his is a case of passion, as opposed to hatred & just some egotistical ranting or desire to argue.

But party lines have got to go. I don't know how I can make it any simpler for the slow crowd, but I'm not a rep & I'm not a dem. I vote for issues, not partys. But if you wanna be classified, go right ahead.

Oh "And just for the factual record, Hawaii, U.S.A. is Obama's home country." How do you know- where you there? There's much to refute that statement. Btw, Hawaii is not country. And, I'm n

7:16PM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

@ Robby C. You sound like a bigot, racist, hater who should get off this site and go hold hands with that other racist, bigot, hater, Limbaugh. Your comments are so full of sh** that I can't imagine how you stand by them. Oh, by the way, it was Eric Cantor, senator from VA. who denied the funding for his own State. NOT Obama. Cantor said he wanted to see more budget cuts made BEFORE he would help the people of VA. Get your facts straight. But then again, what else can anyone expect from a tbagger/republican -- Lies, lies, lies! And just for the factual record, Hawaii, U.S.A. is Obama's home country. Nice try, but no cigar.

6:04PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

A vote for Rand Paul is a vote for a sociopathic government.....

10:36PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Tea & Toast

7:32PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Roberta G. "Do you really expect Rand Paul to care for the less fortunate? Remember, one of his goons stomped the head of a girl, who was protesting at a Paul Rally."

I remember that, his name is Tim Profitt, the poorest excuse for a person with a pulse....

7:25PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Another boring discussion, not. Why do the same group of people have to call each other names under the comments?

3:10PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Diane O. There is no such thing as Obamacare. It stopped being that after the Republicans wrote their own version of it, otherwise, it would not have passed.

7:42AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

well looks like the political derby bigots are out in force just can't stand a black president can you? and don't give me the herman cain crap the republinazi's always keep one or two tokens around to parade before the public

6:19AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Steve R, Dianne O, Ladonna H- you're right!

"Money is nothing more than metal/paper...If we are experiencing financial problems we should either print more, or throw the entire concept..."

Print more? Oh no, THAT won't cause any probs! Hell, it's almost as worthless as Monopoly $ now, from being over-printed.

And speaking of everyone's caring BO- didn't he just deny federal disaster funds for VA? Of course, he's happy to send billions to his home country Kenya & any other muslim country. He'll just print more until it's competely worthless.

And "Give us your poor, your huddled whatever..." died when the legal masses went broke. While I do see the dif b/t refugees & ILLEGALS, we can't support ourselves, so how are we supposed to support anyone else?

Yes, Wallstreet needs an overhaul! But Nancy "we'll have to pass the bill so you can see what's in it" Pelosi? Yeah, believe in her. We'll save your fur to make a mattress with. Obammycareless was 2400p of BS no one bothered to read. It nearly doubled premiums around here.

And the reps may have started the war but BO's had 3yrs to pull out & now we're in more. Great work so far guys!

This whole rep vs dem thing is stale. I'm surprised so many still buy into it. Try to see the forest for the trees! There must be a politician class called "Divide & Conquer 101."

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