Article first appeared at The Washington Standard.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit seeking to obtain the records from the US State Department regarding the “Refugee Travel Loans” issued by State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration to the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration from 2010 to the present.
Among the records they are seeking in their lawsuit, Judicial Watch wants to know exactly how many of those loans were defaulted on and how much money was written off on each of the defaulted loans.
The State Department failed to respond to Judicial Watch’s February 5, 2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in which they sought, “All records reflecting the number of Refugee Travel Loans furnished by the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) per year; the number of travel loans that are defaulted upon per year; and the amount of money written off per defaulted loan.”
Judicial Watch reported in June 2016:
The U.S. government gives refugees on public assistance special “loans” of up to $15,000 to start a business but fails to keep track of defaults that could translate into huge losses for American taxpayers, records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. The cash is distributed through a program called Microenterprise Development run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.
HHS is not the only government agency doling out huge sums of cash for this cause, though its focus on refugees appears to be unique. Others, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) also dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to various microenterprise causes. For instance, in one recent year alone USAID spent $223 million on microenterprise development activities, according to figures released by the agency. The USDA also allocates large sums to provide loans and grants to microenterprise development through a special “Rural Microloan Revolving Fund” and the DOL regularly pours lots of money into various microenterprise projects that are promoted as workforce investments in areas with high rates of poverty.
The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provided the funding in the instances of aid and relief work, as well as the admissions office handling the settling of refugees in the US. According to their website, they spent almost $545 million “to provide new beginnings to the world’s most vulnerable refugees” in 2016. They also sent more than $2.8 billion to “humanitarian assistance overseas,” as well as providing $103 million directly to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The Geneva, Switzerland-based IOM provides interest-free loans “furnished by the Department of State” to “all refugees arriving in the United States.”
And just who is really providing that money? Is it the Department of State? Nope, They don’t make money. They obtain it from Congress and Congress gets it from you!
According to their website:
All refugees arriving in the United States are offered interest-free travel loans by IOM. Refugees who accept these travel loans are required to sign a promissory note prior to departure, committing themselves to repayment of the debt within 46 months after arrival in the United States.
IOM arranges for refugee travel using funds furnished by the Department of State, and is mandated to subsequently effect collections on behalf of the Department of State. Repayments made by refugees toward their loans are returned to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to defray the cost of future refugee travel.
The IOM works with an annual budget of $1.4 billion.
For another reason for the US to leave the United Nations, the IOM was adopted into the UN in July 2016 via a resolution.
What’s even more disturbing that using our money in this fashion is that nine other resettlement agencies contracted with the State Department to help resettle refugees in the US, and they made more than $5 million each year in commissions on refugee debt collection!
According to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, “The State Department has stonewalled our request for refugee loans and associated taxpayer losses for a year – an unlawful delay that screams ‘cover up. This is an opportunity for the Trump State Department to come clean and clean up this refugee welfare program.”
Yes, well, let’s hope that there is not just a coming clean about it, but doing what actually needs to be done and that is removing the United Nations from our shores and ending all funding to the anti-American organization.
Charity for refugees is not the responsibility of government, but individuals. To take the people’s money and use it in this manner is unconstitutional and unlawful. Those who have approved of this misuse of public money should be immediately removed from office and held accountable for their violation of oath of office.