That is, according to New York Times columnist Nicholas D Kristof. [When the Right Is Right, December 22, 2004]
"Immigration reform" in this context means amnesty and mass immigration in perpetuity…or at least until conditions in the receiving country have reached those of the sending countries—most likely by deteriorating—and the immigration stops by itself.
The NYT loves to quote this fashionable politician, one of the main Senate backers of endless legislation aimed at increasing immigrant, refugee and asylee flows to the U.S.
But this nauseating dollop of sycophancy should revolt—and alarm—conservative Kansans.
A convert to conservative Catholicism, Brownback hails from the evangelical Protestant wing of the political/social right, but is beloved of the left-wing American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) as well as the business immigration lobby. When he briefly held the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, the AILA bestowed the ultimate stamp of approval on Brownback's chairmanship by saying he served in the "[Spencer] Abraham tradition."
But a funny thing happened when discussions and plans for resettling the so-called Somali Bantu took place during Brownback's time on the committee at the beginning of the first Bush administration.
Because of his enthusiasm for refugee resettlement, the State Department had planned to send a large group of Somali Bantu to Kansas.
The Senator balked. "I never requested 10,000 Bantu to be placed in Kansas" he claimed in October 2001.
Telling Kansans that he "contacted the Department of State asking them to not resettle any Somali Bantu refugees in the state of Kansas" he moaned on about the refugees' lack of English, adding "they would not work well in Kansas."
But even if Kansas had taken the entire tribe—which is already 30% larger than the State Department's original estimate of 10,000—the state's arriving immigrant-to-host population ratio would still be less than the ratio for the U.S. as a whole.
No matter. The tribe was "a huge population for a state of our size." Brownback vowed that "simply put this [resettlement] should not occur." [Brownback clarifies position on refugee issue: No Bantu, by Rob Roberts, Johnson County [KS] Sun, October 17, 2001]
That's how the Somali Bantu came to be spread over 50 American cities—a much more expensive and difficult resettlement effort than initially planned.
Now here is where it really gets interesting.
It may be hard to think of the State Department as a 'thin blue line' against the rising chaos the refugee program is bringing. But there are some people at State (not Bush appointees) who are concerned about the program.
These patriots are particularly skeptical of the federal refugee contractors and their legislative henchmen in Congress, who dictate the terms of the resettlement program.
At the time of the Somali Bantu fiasco, there were suggestions that someone in the State Department had deliberately embarrassed Senator Brownback by sending him the whole tribe. (You want refugees? We'll show you refugees.)
The plan would have been spectacularly successful—if the Establishment media had reported on the Senator's response.
Instead, the story was ignored. The New York Times only reported
"refugee experts say that one United States community, which they did not name, [emphasis added] has expressed misgivings about taking in the Somali Bantu". [Somali Bantu, Trapped in Kenya, Seek a Home, December 9, 2001, by Marc Lacey, (pay archive)]
That "community's" misgivings, or more accurately open revolt, carried the day—because they were represented by Senator Brownback.
It is almost certain that reporters and editors at the Times knew the details of the affair. If they didn't, they get the Pulitzer Prize for Laziest Reporting. The entire affair was reported several times in the local Kansas press.
It is true that certain "refugee experts" were refusing to talk, but that's what we have rolodexes for. The event was widely known and discussed in the refugee contractor industry and a couple of phone calls should have brought the facts to light.
Had the real story run in the Times, perhaps would not have heard from the Senator on this topic again. We might never have had to read such imbecilities from Kristof as
"The other day, Mr. Brownback told me enthusiastically about his trip to northern Uganda and urged me to write about brutalities there. I was disoriented—I thought I was the one who tried to get people to pay attention to remote places."
U.S. refugee resettlement contractors, whose main Senate champion is still—you guessed it—Senator Brownback, have gone so far as to refuse aid to refugees overseas if it affects, even temporarily, their lucrative resettlement contracts. (I'll blog on this shortly.)
Long ago they dropped out of government programs where they would have been required to put up their own resources to fulfill their mission.
Apparently it will be a long time before this news is "fit to print" for the average NY Times reader.
Thomas Allen (email him) is a recovering refugee worker.