12-11-15 – Private Sector Solutions for Helping Refugees

by Matthew Strong

In the media frenzy following the Paris terrorist attacks, a firestorm erupted over whether or not we should be allowing refugees from the war torn country of Syria into the U.S. Our very own Governor managed to inject himself squarely into the controversy. He said, in essence, any governor who wants to prevent their entry is “stomping” on American values and that he has total faith in the vetting process for refugees (and our safety).

On the other side of the issue, 26 governors (including Shumlin’s fellow democrat, NH’s Maggie Hassan) have stated they would prevent refugees from entering their states until they are totally comfortable with the vetting process. It seems we have to accept all refugees or none at all. The middle ground remains untrodden unfortunately; the notion of compassionate assistance through private channels coupled with reasonable concern for our safety based on ISIS’s past actions and stated goals, especially in the new reality of the San Bernardino attacks.

Conservatives are being accused of a lack of compassion towards refugees for not immediately agreeing to let in all refugees who want to come here. However, they have actually been leading the fight to alert the world to their plight, to care for them, and to warn the Obama administration about policies which gave birth to ISIS in the first place. The free market has been busy caring for refugees in the Middle East long before the attacks in Paris.

–        Glenn Beck’s Nazarene Fund has raised over $13,000,000 in donations to assist people living in danger of ISIS. Former CIA personnel are vetting families where they live, seeking out pastors and priests to vouch for them, legally transporting them to new countries, paying their rent for a year, assisting with cultural, language, and job training in their new country. Last night, the first round of fully vetted refugees were guided through customs into Slovakia, personally escorted by Glenn and his security team. Additionally, over 12,000 Americans have signed up to house refugees in their own homes if allowed by the state department.

–        Samaritan’s Purse (run by Franklin Graham and funded entirely by donations) has been assisting Iraqi and Syrian refugees since August of 2013. Their international relief efforts have been instrumental in Haiti, the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, helping fleeing refugees in Greece, andassisting refugees staying in camps in northern Iraq preparing for winter as we speak.

–        A mother in California with family in Greece, Cristal Logothesis, started a campaign to send and purchase baby carriers for refugees traveling with small children. With a “crowd-funding” campaign, they have raised over $75,000 and 5,000 baby carriers, with a new goal of 10,000 by this coming February. They fit the baby carriers to refugees as they step out of boats onto the island of Kos, often without even being able to communicate due to time and language barriers.

–        SodaStream, a company based in Israel (not known for cordial relations with Syria), has pledged to hire 1,000 Syrian refugees for their new plant.

–        Fr. Benedict Kiely, a Catholic Priest in our own state, started a fundraising campaign selling items with the symbol of “the Nazarene,” a symbol which ISIS uses to targets Christians. He has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help refugees fleeing for their lives, and even flew to Iraq to personally deliver funds and encourage those undertaking the dangerous work. “My conscience wouldn’t allow me to do nothing. I felt compelled to do something. It’s small, but it is something,” He said of his efforts.

This is just a small fraction of the help being offered by non-profits, companies, charities, etc. While the Obama administration created the problemarmed the problemdragged their feet in confronting the problem, and is still trying to figure out how to deal with it, compassionate people from all walks of life and political backgrounds are helping right now. There is even a call for a return to a private sponsorship style immigration plan as an alternative solution, but the likelihood of a quick adaption to this seems small. Dr. Ben Carson, who actually traveled to Jordan to meet Syrian refugees, discovered many of them do not want to come here anyway, preferring to stay nearby to Syria in the hopes of returning to their homeland to rebuild.

Conservatives are putting their money and time where their compassion is, and the free market is exploding with options, proving this is not an “all or nothing” situation, as we are being led to believe.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Doug Richmond, Underhill December 13, 2015 at 8:48 pm

My parents worked with private agencies to sponsor refugees, from the end of WW2 to Vietnam. Private, required long waits for refugees to be checked carefully, an institutional sponsor, a family sponsor, a guaranteed employment when they arrived, housing from day one, and help thereafter. It worked and it was wonderful.
Latvia, Dutch Indonesia, middle Americas, Bosnia, Cambodia, total over the years of about 10 families. Sucess for all, great sucess for most.
I learned a great deal, owe a great debt to these refugees, and their then grateful attitudes. Only at the last did it begin to be “Wow! Streets paved with gold – give me some”
Now we meet them specifically with a welfare check, and it goes downhill for too many into endless welfare dependency, and an entitlement attidtude.

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