President Obama's making a big push in the final months of his presidency to convert huge numbers of recent immigrants and refugees into "new Americans," and the mayors of the nation's cities are lining up to help him accomplish his goal.
They talk about the need for greater "diversity" and the economic benefits that immigrants bring.
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But critics say the program is not as much about creating "new Americans" as it is about creating new "voters" who will help re-elect Democrats and institutionalize Obama's policies on immigration, education and healthcare for years to come.
Obama's White House Task Force on New Americans is leading the charge, signing up mayors in major cities to further the goal of encouraging recent immigrants and refugees to go through the process of becoming a citizen.
The mayors of New York and Boston have become the latest to join Obama's diversity program.
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They became the fifth and sixth U.S. cities to hop aboard Obama's "welcoming" parade for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees who entered the country -- some legally, some illegally -- but haven't yet pursued citizenship.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced June 16 he has signed an agreement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to "support citizenship education and awareness" among the migrants and make every effort to convert them into so-called "new Americans."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a similar contract with the federal government on June 10.
New York and Boston join Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and Atlanta, whose mayors have also committed to the "new Americans" concept proffered by the White House.
The "welcoming" mantra has been running hot within the Obama administration for several years and culminated with a report released April 17 by his White House Task Force on New Americans. Obama formed the special task force Nov. 21, 2014, when he announced his controversial executive actions to unilaterally grant amnesty to some 5 million illegal aliens. His administration is also bringing in 70,000 foreign refugees per year from Iraq, Somalia, Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria.
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The task force, chaired by Obama's domestic policy guru and former National Council for La Raza executive Cecilia Muñoz, came out with a list of recommendations on how to integrate the nation's historically high number of immigrants – a total of 1.1 million legal immigrants and about 450,000 illegals enter the country every year.
Muñoz said at the April roll-out event that her attention was focused on "institutionalizing" Obama's policies on immigration so the federal bureaucracy would be hard-wired with a more welcoming attitude toward immigrants of all types long after she and Obama are gone from the White House.
Muñoz said it was her job "to make sure we build this really into the DNA across the federal bureaucracy, at a leadership level, but much more importantly to make sure that when political appointees like me are no longer here this (immigration strategy) is built into what those agencies do and think about every day."
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She said it was important for the federal government to standardize, set benchmarks and "measure successes," making sure cities and states create the desired "welcoming communities" for immigrants and refugees.
Creating new voters and activists
The task force's recommendations focus on helping integrate the new Americans on three levels – economic, linguistic and civic.
The "civic" integration measures could prove most controversial. Among the goals are to make the citizenship application more affordable for elderly and poor immigrants, make the citizenship test easier to navigate for those with language or cultural barriers, and mentoring new immigrants and refugees on how to become active participants in America's "democratic process."
"Civic integration" appears to be the code words for turning immigrants into voting citizens who can also become activists for immigrant rights, immigrant benefits and continued open-border immigration policies.
De Blasio grants ID card to illegals
Eager to do his part, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a new "ID cards for illegals" program that will make it easier for aliens to use city services such as public libraries, parks and museums and, critics say, to vote in elections.
Part of the "new Americans" agenda includes setting up "citizenship corners" in public libraries where immigrants will be coached on how to navigate the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch pointed out, the identification card basically grants the ability for undocumented immigrants over the age of 14 to gain access to city services and financial opportunities otherwise off limits. Armed with the card, illegals can rent an apartment, provide an ID to police and open a banking account, so long as they can prove residency in one of the city's five boroughs.
"It doesn't make any sense," he said. "We're talking about criminal aliens ... and here we have the city of New York aiding and abetting criminal activity."
Fitton said pro-amnesty advocates love the card because it "makes it easier for [illegals] to vote and to register to vote." At the same time, he also warned: Someone affiliated with ISIS could simply cross into America via the porous border with Mexico and obtain the New York City card.
Mayor de Blasio said of the card, when it launched in January: "This ID addresses substantially the notion that we all matter and everyone has an identity," the Observer reported.
City Council members, meanwhile, touted the card as a terrific way for upholding New York's diversity and multicultural atmosphere.
Flush with cash from Gates, Rockefeller, Soros foundations
And that's exactly what the White House is looking for.
Among the key partners in the White House's "diversity" movement are Welcoming America, the Migration Policy Institute, La Raza, and the National Partnership for New Americans.
The White House Task Force on New Americans announced its report in April at the Migration Policy Institute or MPI in Washington, D.C. This think tank has received funding from a host of globalist and open-borders interests including billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corp. of New York, the JM Kaplan Fund of New York and the Public Welfare Foundation, among others, according to Discover the Networks.
One of MPI's major agendas is to influence the U.S. government toward a more permissive policy on refugee resettlement.
In fact, MPI will be hosting a June 26 conference on refugee "integration."
The policy wonks at MPI and the various federal agencies no longer use the word "assimilation" when speaking about immigrants. They prefer the term "integration," a concept in which the government "manages" extremely diverse immigrant populations which coexist side by side with native-born Americans but not necessarily assimilating into a common culture.
English just one of many languages
The online event page for the upcoming MPI conference acknowledges there have been "successes" and "challenges" when it comes to integrating refugees from "increasingly diverse origins and linguistic backgrounds."
City and county school systems are expected to manage increasing numbers of students who don't speak English or even Spanish. Twin Falls, Idaho, schools now have 100 refugee students who speak more than 20 languages. Wichita, Kansas, schools have more than 350 foreign students who speak 81 different languages. And Manchester, New Hampshire, schools also play host to students speaking more than 80 languages.
The United States has the world's largest refugee resettlement program, accepting two-thirds of the 98,000 refugees who were permanently resettled in 2013.
The number of primary languages spoken rose from 114 in 2004 to 162 just eight years later, according to MPI. "Although this growing diversity reflects an effort on the part of the U.S. government to be more responsive to refugee crises worldwide, it has the potential to complicate service delivery for resettlement providers with limited resources," the institute says on its website.
Somali refugees: A record of fraud and terror
The country with the worst record of assimilation is Somalia. About 110,000 Somalis have come to the U.S. as refugees since 1991 with large Somali communities now residing in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota, Seattle, Columbus, Ohio, Lewiston, Maine, San Diego, Atlanta, several cities in Texas, North Dakota and Idaho.
Since 2007 dozens of Somalis have been charged and convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorist organizations such as al-Shabab, al-Qaida and ISIS. The FBI has confirmed that more than 40 Somali-Americans have left the country to go fight for al-Shabab and ISIS.
Earlier this year, WND reported, the FBI named Liban Haji Mohamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia, as its newest "most wanted terrorist." Mohamed worked as a cab driver in Northern Virginia before leaving the country to fight for al-Shabab in his native Somalia. While here, he recruited other Americans to join the terrorist group, the FBI said.
Less than three months later on April 20, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Andrew Luger, announced the arrests of six Somali-American men who allegedly tried repeatedly to board flights for the Middle East where they planned to join the ranks of ISIS. Luger admitted at a press conference that "we have a terror recruitment problem in Minnesota," where almost all of the suspects have been Somali refugees, or sons and daughters of refugees.
But the obvious security risks have not stemmed the flow of Somalis. The United Nations continues to send Somalis to U.S. cities at a rate of 800 a month.
Somalis were also involved in a scam for years in which they lied on their applications about family ties to refugees already in the U.S., which led the State Department to temporarily suspend the family reunification program in 2008 after more than 36,000 from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea entered illegally.
Yet, the U.S. State Department, its resettlement contractors and the foundations that support them continue to push for more refugees, saying they are "the most intensely screened" of all immigrants.
Seeking utopia with 'gradually disappearing border controls'
Not surprisingly, the refugee program's impact on national security is not on the agenda at MPI's upcoming refugee conference on June 24.
Instead, discussion will focus on MPI’s findings with respect to refugee employment and incomes, English proficiency and education levels, use of public welfare benefits, "as well as differing integration outcomes between refugee groups with similar characteristics at arrival," the website for the event states.
According to Discover the Networks, MPI's work focuses on six main areas:
"(a) 'self-governance' for communities that straddle the U.S./Mexico border, rather than strict obedience to immigration policies set in Washington; (b) a more permissive U.S. refugee admissions and resettlement policy; (c) increased social-welfare benefits for illegal immigrants residing in the U.S.; (d) a movement beyond "absolute notions of [national] sovereignty"; (e) 'the re-conceptualization of the common border and the border region as a line of convergence rather than separation'; and (f) the creation of 'a North America with gradually disappearing border controls.'"
Another key player in Obama's push to make new Americans out of refugees and immigrants is an organization called Welcoming America. It was started by David Lubell in 2010 with $150,000 in seed money from George Soro's foundation.
Lubell's organization and its affiliates go around the country spinning one-sided tales about the economic and cultural benefits that new immigrants bring into American cities while ignoring the costs. They pay for slick TV and radio ads and billboards and help feed positive talking points to mayors and other local officials.
The JM Kaplan Fund's international migration division, run by Suzette Brooks Masters, also works to fund programs aimed at countering "backlash" to refugee programs in American cities.
Turn resistors in to Southern Poverty Law Center
JM Kaplan funded a report written by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 2013 that offered a playbook on how to quell grassroots uprisings against the infusion of foreign refugees into American cities.
Among the recommendations given by HIAS was to monitor and research the backgrounds of "resisters" and turn them in to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left "watchdog" that has in recent years taken to branding mainline Christian organizations such as the Family Research Council as "hate groups."
Eva Millona, co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, a coalition of 34 organizations involved in advocating for immigrant rights and expanded welfare benefits, said in April it was crucial that the federal government take a leading role in integrating the diverse new immigrant populations springing up around America.
"We have been pushing to really have a centralized leadership in terms of implementation of this report," Millona said. "We are happy that the report has called for a centralized entity to really move it forward."
Millona said the 34 groups affiliated with her coalition already have "boots on the ground" in 29 states, including all manner of service providers, immigrant rights attorneys, interpreters, and advocates "to make sure immigrants have what they need" to become new Americans.
They have plenty of mayors signed on to help. And it's not just big-city mayors. Mayors in Boise, Idaho, Columbia, South Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky, and Dodge City, Kansas, among other places have all been working with Lubell's Welcoming America and similar community-organizing groups.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has created a special high-level office, the New Americans Advisory Council, to advise him on how to integrate the city's growing population of foreign-born residents.
Planting 'seed communities' to transform smaller cities
Nashville’s foray into the immigrant welcoming business began in earnest when it agreed to join a pilot program funded by a federal grant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2001. Nashville joined Portland, Oregon, and Lowell, Massachusetts, as the three experimental testing grounds.
That experiment, called Building the New American Community Initiative, contained a mission that became the model for transforming the demographics of cities of all sizes across the U.S.
"The whole point of this grant if you look in retrospect what they were trying to do, is expand the resettlements outside of the traditional gateway cities of L.A., New York, Houston, Boston, Miami and Chicago and plant new seeds throughout the country," said a Nashville activist who asked not to be identified.
"They roped in the Chamber of Commerce, which took this federal grant," she added. "And one of the outgrowths of this twisted thinking is to very quickly get the refugees invested in local government and forming coalitions within their communities."
The BNAC initiative’s executive summary talks about creating economic and social change through increasing levels of immigration and refugee resettlement which would spread more broadly throughout the nation"
"The 1990s was an extraordinary decade in terms of the number, origins and cultural diversity of migrants who arrived in the United States.
"Immigration's influence on the social, economic and political institutions of the nation has matched these demographic changes, and there is every indication that refugees and immigrants will continue to be a major force for change in the years to come. The influence of newcomers and their children on local communities, as well as the ways in which communities affect newcomers’ integration trajectories, lies at the heart of many social and economic changes in American society."
The summary also refers to the "importance of voting" and getting refugees and immigrants to "participate as partners with public agencies" while helping "craft policies" that change the community.
"One of the major goals of the BNAC Initiative was to educate policymakers about newcomer communities and their integration experiences in localities, as well as to bring refugee and immigrant voices to the table on a range of policy issues. This has been one of the most successful aspects of the Initiative, with newcomers not only learning about the American electoral system and the importance of voting, but also participating as partners with public agencies in the coalitions. In practical terms, refugee and immigrant organizations played a direct role in crafting policies and programs that directly influence their communities as well as the receiving community."
"So, they took this grant in 2001 and everyone was really sort of asleep at the wheel as far as what was happening in Tennessee," according to the activist.
Brian Mosely, a reporter for the Times-Gazette in Shelbyville, Tennessee, woke up the sleeping masses with a bombshell series of articles from 2008 to 2012 about the problems Bedford County was experiencing with the influx of Somali refugees, most of whom went to work in a Tyson meatpacking plant. Many of the problems had to do with culture clashes, crime and costs. When Tyson dropped the Labor Day holiday in favor of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the town exploded in controversy as the local union rep described the backlash to the holiday as "bigotry."
Then there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about how the refugees were being bused in to the meat plant and replacing native workers.
"There were contradictory reports of refugee contractors with Catholic Charities driving refugees in to get the jobs," said the local activist. "They lied to cover this up."
The list of mayors signing on to Obama’s strategy to create voter-eligible "new Americans" is likely to keep growing.
For an indication of how many mayors across the U.S. hold views similar to Atlanta’s Kasim Reed and Nashville’s Karl Dean, one only need peruse the membership rolls of the Partnership for a New American Economy. This group consists of Chambers of Commerce in cooperation with major investment bankers like Rockefeller Group International, Goldman Sachs and Brown Brothers Harriman along with dozens of U.S. mayors, from big and small cities and belonging to both major parties. The group claims that immigrants and refugees are highly entrepreneurial and strengthen a city's economy.
A recent study by the Congressional Research Office discovered quite the opposite. It found 74.2 percent of refugees brought to the U.S. through the United Nations refugee program end up on federal food stamps, while 23 percent live in public housing.
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ mayors?
In October 2014, after thousands of unaccompanied alien children crossed the U.S. southern border from Central America, Lubell's Welcoming America honored 12 mayors it said had the compassion to welcome the children into their cities. Refugee Resettlement Watch blogger Ann Corcoran dubbed them the "dirty dozen." Most are also members of the Partnership for a New American Economy.
Mayor Kasim Reed, AtlantaMayor Martin J. Walsh, BostonMayor Rahm Emanuel, ChicagoMayor Stephen Benjamin, Columbia, S.C.Mayor Michael Hancock, DenverMayor Eric Garcetti, Los AngelesCounty Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County, Md.Mayor Michael Nutter, PhiladelphiaMayor William Peduto, PittsburghMayor Daniel Bianchi, Pittsfield, Mass.Mayor Edward Murray, SeattleMayor Francis Slay, St. LouisMayor Jonathan Rothschild, Tucson, Ariz.
Other cities and counties that have pledged their support to Lubell's welcoming movement include: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (including Pittsburgh); Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Boise, Idaho; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Dodge City, Kansas; High Point, North Carolina; Lincoln, Nebraska; Louisville, Kentucky; MaComb County, Michigan; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; New York, New York; Oakley, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Francisco, California; St. Louis, Missouri (city); St. Louis, Missouri (county); and Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Read the White House task force’s full report: "Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All Residents: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration."