Three congressmen question refugee resettlement in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 24, 2016

Three congressmen question refugee resettlement in Arkansas

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:44 PM

click to enlarge UNWELCOME: Potential Syrian refugees such as this child could b e dangerous say three  Arkansas congressmen.
  • UNWELCOME: Potential Syrian refugees such as this child could b e dangerous say three Arkansas congressmen.

Republican U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, Bruce Westerman and Rick Crawford have joined in a news release objecting to refugee resettlement in Arkansas. The state is well-known for its welcoming attitude, they said , but ......

The congressmen wrote Secretary of State John Kerry. They specifically object to the group Canopy NWA, which applied to be certified to help the State Department resettle refugees. They said:

Although we are grateful for the heart behind Canopy WA and the welcoming spirit that is a mark of Arkansans, we are gravely concerned with the vetting process as it stands, as well as the lack of coordination between the Department of State and the actual states resettling refugees. Congressional oversight has revealed weaknesses in our vetting process and agency concerns with vulnerability in terrorist targeting, and nonetheless, the Administration has moved forward with resettlement in concerned communities. As representatives of the people of Arkansas, we cannot support a program that brings refugees into our nation who could pose a national security threat.
It would be nice to know if U.S. Rep. French Hill's non-participation (and also Sen.s Tom Cotton and John Boozman) was a stand on principle or an oversight. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had earlier sounded a similar alarm about refugee resettlement.

It is not easy to get into the U.S., as deserving as you might be. When the New York Times detailed the long and difficult process in June, only 2,647 of more than 4.5 MILLION Syrian refugees had been taken in by the U.S. 

Arkansas took in exactly 13 refugees in all of 2015. The alarum from our congressmen and their alarmed constituency is over a do-good group's willingness to help as many as 100 people. That effort is apparently panicking some welcoming Arkansans. 

A spokesman for Catholic Charities, which is part of the effort, said it would probably amount to one or two refugee families a month. Families. Kids. Some of them might grow up like the Iranian refugees who became brain surgeons and helped save David Pryor's life the other day at a Fayetteville hospital.

For a look at some of Arkansas' better angels, visit the Canopy NWA website

We believe that Northwest Arkansas, with its diverse community, rapid economic growth, and excellent educational institutions, is an ideal location for refugees seeking to build a new life. We are inviting on our community to recognize our shared humanity by showing compassion and care for those seeking refuge in Northwest Arkansas. We seek to engage our community by connecting organizations, businesses, congregations, and individuals to all refugees in need of assistance.
You vote: a) the congressmen or b) Canopy? One group doesn't want the refugees walking among us at all. But Canopy?

Canopy is committed to walking alongside Arkansas’ newest residents until they’ve found a stable source of income. Additionally, Canopy will help refugees learn English, put together a resume, evaluate their degree, and prepare for the American workforce. Canopy will also provide training on the interview process as well as key cultural features of the American work ethic. Another important intervention Canopy will focus on is leveraging refugees’ unique skill-sets and experiences to place them in jobs that are both stable and meaningful. If they want to start their own business, or want their children to attend college, Canopy will help them make that happen. Above all, Canopy aims to place refugees on a track to pursue their vision for a new life in the US.

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