A third South Carolina county has barred the door to any Third World refugees being resettled in their community, and at least two others are considering the same move.
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The Berkeley County Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday that bars any refugee funds from flowing into that county.
The resolution calls for "all South Carolina public officials to immediately cease and desist” from helping to resettle Middle Eastern refugees anywhere in the state until the legislature can act on the issue and pass legislation reflecting the will of the people."
Anderson and Pickens counties already passed similar resolutions.
Two more counties – Greenville and York – are expected to vote soon on similar resolutions.
South Carolina is the only state that gives local governments the option of rejecting, not necessarily the refugees, but the state and federal tax dollars that flow to their aid when they are resettled in a city.
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The U.S. takes in 70,000 refugees per year for many years and President Obama has said he will up that to 85,000 in fiscal 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. These refugees are hand-selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. The majority come from Muslim populations in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia although others include Hindus from Bhutan and a small number of Christians and Buddhists.
Obama's Syrian refugees have proven most controversial, because of the presence of a large jihadist army in that country affiliated with the Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and al-Qaida. He has agreed to accept at least 10,000 Syrians for permanent resettlement in more than 180 U.S. cities and towns in fiscal 2016, with the promise of many more in 2017.
The U.N. has already selected nearly 20,000 Syrians who are waiting in the pipeline bound for the U.S.
But unlike most states, South Carolina is pushing back. Not from the top, as its Republican governor is cooperating with the Obama administration, but from the grassroots.
South Carolina's refugee funding proviso was added to the budget for the first time this year. It must be renewed every year to remain in effect.
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Christina Jeffrey, a resident of Spartanburg, where the pushback against Muslim immigration began back in March, said she believes many more counties will take advantage of the budget proviso and say "no" to refugees. The Upstate area, which is more conservative, is more likely to do so than the low country area around Charleston area, she said.
"I think there's a genuine problem, and there's a real live budget proviso that people can point to, and in every county where there are living, breathing, thinking people, this can pass," said Jeffrey, a former historian for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Greenville's county council is most likely to pass the resolution next, she said.
"Spartanburg is the most stubborn."
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The issue came to light in March when World Relief, a Christian aid organization, announced it would be resettling 60 to 65 refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan throughout fiscal 2016. Some will eventually come from Syria as well.
A "pocket of resistance" formed with local activists spreading the word that the Christian aid agency actually performs most of its "charity" work with federal grant money, and that most of the refugees are signed up for food stamps, subsidized housing and Medicaid, offered free schooling and other taxpayer-funded benefits.
The resistance grew, to the point where Secretary of State John Kerry sent his assistant secretary for global population and immigration, Ann Richard, to meet with local stakeholders this summer. She tried to put out the fire, and may have succeeded in Spartanburg, but now the resistance is flaring up in other counties.
People are resisting what they see as a form of stealth jihad, the gradual Islamization of their communities – without their permission.
Governor ignores FBI warnings about vetting Syrians
Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, has come down on the side of Obama's State Department, saying she trusts the federal government's ability to vet the Syrian refugees.
Haley's comment came despite warnings to the contrary from the FBI.
The latest warning came just last month when FBI Director James Comey stated before a congressional hearing that the U.S. government has no ability to screen the Syrian refugees because the U.S. has no boots on the ground in Syria and the nation's law enforcement system is in shambles.
"The challenge we’re all talking about is that, we can only query against that (data) which we have collected," Comey told the House Homeland Security Committee on Oct. 21.
"If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home but there would be nothing show up because we have no record on it," Comey continued.
"You can only query what you have collected."
An earlier warning was given by one of the FBI's top counter-terrorism officials, Michael Steinbach, to Congress on Feb. 11.
Haley hasn't listened to the FBI's warnings. The media in South Carolina have ignored the warnings.
Media coverage 'appalling'
The Post and Courier of Charleston, for instance, attributed fears about vetting the Islamic refugees to local Republicans, not mentioning that Obama's own FBI director has said it's impossible to vet them.
The Daily Beast ran a story under the mocking headline, "South Carolina town has no Sryian refugees, tells them to GTGO anyway."
Lauren Martel, an attorney from the Hilton Head Island area, said the media coverage has been appalling.
"They're trying to marginalize what's going on in Berkeley County and box it in as sort of a Republican issue," she said. "Once South Carolinians know what's really going on, they don't like it, because there's a lot of people you wouldn't expect don't think it's a good idea. It's not a liberal-conservative issue. It's an American issue."
Martel said Berkeley County, like Anderson and Pickens before them, were smart to act before any resettlement agency opens shop in their area and announces that refugees are on their way. At that point, it's too late.
"You have to know your rights before they come over here. Once they come, possession is nine-tenths of the law, it's too late," she said. "It's easier to fight for something you have – your liberty, your rights – than to get it back after it's gone. We have to stop this thing before they get on the airplanes and over here."
Not a partisan issue
In fast-growing York County, which borders Charlotte, North Carolina, the resolution will also be introduced, possibly at next week's council meeting.
Paula Daly, a York County activist who moved to the area from Michigan 10 years ago, also sees refugee resettlement as a nonpartisan issue.
"It bothers me that the media, they try to make it a partisan issue, like right versus left, when that's not what this is at all," she said. "This is an American issue. I'm an American. The refugees that are coming here over the next few years, and 200,000 is the last number I read that Obama wants to bring in here, and our governor signed that contract for next year to bring in 165 refugees, we don't know where they will come from but if they're Muslim they support Shariah law, they're not compatible with our Constitution, just the complete opposite, and they do not assimilate."
York County is famous for being the home of Islamburg, a Muslim enclave devoted to shadowy Pakistani cleric Sheik Mubarak al-Gilani, who controls a Sunni sect called Jamaat al-Fuqra and its U.S. front group, Muslims of the Americas, WND has previously reported.
"If you look what's going on in Europe it's just frightening," Daly said. "This is not a partisan issue. I'm for Americans, always, first. I go all over, talking to people at the supermarket, the bank, and I tell them what's going on and they're just like 'what?' We're at a tipping point in this country."
Activists not worried about 'Islamophobe' labeling
Daly said she attacks the refugee resettlement program both on its costs and on its implications for national security.
"For one, we can't afford anyone else on the government system; we don't have the money anymore," and especially when U.S. veterans are in need, she said.
Daly is aware that one of the tactics used by the resettlement industry against resistors is to paint them as "racist" or "Islamophobic." This is the same tactic used by CAIR, the Council for American-Islamic Relations, which is a Muslim Brotherhood front group outed as a terrorist organization in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas.
She said that's just a brazen attempt to shut down people's First Amendment rights and the democratic process.
"At this point, I don't care if I offend anyone. It's my right. We're from Michigan, so we know what can happen. It was the early 1980s when the refugees came and went to Dearborn, and it's not just Dearborn now; it’s the surrounding cities too," she said.
WND reported earlier this week that Hamtramck, not far from Dearborn, has become home to America's first Muslim-majority city council. Neighboring Sterling Height, Michigan, is also now in a big fight trying to keep a mega-mosque from being built in a residential area.
"You bring in 100 and it turns into 10,000, because they have all their family members overseas and they get to come, and they don't assimilate, so it becomes an enclave. It's been proven all over," Daly said. "Do the research. Talk to people in Europe, they'll tell you the truth. Talk to people in Michigan and Minnesota, they'll tell you."
Daly said the South Carolina governor, Haley, "has been a big disappointment."
"She's disappointed us on so many issues," she said.
Islamville, while a concern, is at least Americans who converted to Islam, many of them while they were in prison.
Importing Muslims from the Middle East is more worrisome because they've never known the American values of freedom, tolerance and liberty, she said.
"I saw the contract Haley signed in July for the next fiscal year, and there are six areas where the refugees will be sent, and they can be placed within 100 miles of those six cities," Daly said.
Daly is also aware of how profitable the resettlement business is for certain organizations.
The federal government allocates more than $1 billion a year for the program, and that's just what goes to the resettlement agencies and subcontractors, such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, World Relief and Church World Services. That $1 billion doesn't include the welfare that refugees immediately qualify for upon arrival on U.S. soil.
"Problem is, there's all this grant money. There's big money in this for these Christian organizations. Over a billion dollars every year," she said. "And after that runs out, the state and community pick up the tab. I was never asked about that. I don't want to pay for this. Then they come and have three wives and 20 kids. And so within 20 years, that 165 is up to 4,000. You don't need to tell me about Islam. It’s the way it works. It's called stealth jihad."