Housing Syrian refugees might be your additional revenue stream, if the proposed 2018 budget passes. With a little unused living space and minimal qualms about being beheaded in your sleep, you could soon be up to your armpits in military-age, Muslim males and a monthly check from Uncle Sugar.
As much as I like Donald Trump, his record on taking in Syrian refugees is only slightly better than Barack Obama’s. Trump has resettled a little over 15,000 refugees since taking office, and Obama resettled 23,000 the previous year.
There are fewer Syrian refugees being admitted because most of them have already left Syria.
With so many Syrian refugees gaining admittance to the United States, the question becomes where to put them all. Europeans might not have learned to avoid putting people into camps, but after the generations of bad press from our little experiment with putting Japanese into internment camps, Americans cringe at masses of people milling about behind barbed wire fences.
A year and a half ago, Michael Moore, of Bowling for Columbine and Roger and Me fame, published an open letter offering any Syrian refugees to live rent free in his Traverse City, Michigan apartment for up to a year.
It’s a 700-square-foot apartment, so I’m going to call Michael Moore a skin-flint for offering such paltry accommodations. He has enough money to be far more generous.
Cheapskate Socialist Michael Moore has even established a website with a registry to allow his guilt-ridden minions to pony up their abodes for Syrian squatters to get on their feet, while acclimating to their new surrounds, such as flushing toilets, functioning governments, and the lack of sectarian violence.
Make no mistake. There is big money to be had. All told, there is about half a billion dollars proposed to flow toward resettling Syrian refugees into communities all across the United States. That might not be big money in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a halal gravy train to the residents of rural America.
Like a lot of government services, the job of relocating Syrian refugees into America is administered by government contract; meaning the work is parceled out to organizations who have won a competitive bidding process to do the work. They take a cut of money off the top for the privilege and perform the task. Of course, the more refugees there are to resettle, the more money they make.
If you don’t believe these companies exist, take a look at this list of them:
- Church World Service
- Episcopal Migration Ministries
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
- International Rescue Committee
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- World Relief Corporation
There are a few more bit-players, but this is the oligarchy of federal contractors in the realm of the US Refugee Admissions Program.
Why not sharecrop some Syrian refugees?
I’m always interested in a new revenue stream for the farm and I have a few acres tucked away in the back of my property that are timber. My plans to log the timber were accelerated by the fire last November, so we wound up clearing the standing deadwood and the trees that were worth harvesting. The younger trees now have plenty of room to grow, but that will still be a decade or so wait, since white oak has a slow growth curve.
There are wide tracks between the remaining trees that can easily accommodate FEMA-type trailers and access trails. For a couple thousand dollars of bulldozer work to clear the stumps out, that back ten acres can be a veritable Shady Oaks Syrian Refugee Mobile Estates.
The rural area I live in might not have all the urban amenities of Michael Moore’s Michigan apartment, but having to been to areas of the world comparable to Syria, I can say with confidence that phone and internet service out here are on par with places like Afghanistan. The big benefit would be lower population density, bucolic living, and very few people interesting in killing you. What better place for a Syrian refugee family to de-stress and gather their thoughts before embarking on a new life in America?
The difficulty I encountered as I made my telephonic rounds to these benevolent organizations was the nature of my livestock. They were thrilled at the variety and unusual choices. They even thought it wonderful that, as one of many working farms in the area, there are seasonal work opportunities for the newly arriving refugees that easily compliment the assimilation timetable.
I took that to mean unskilled labor that is not impacted by high turnover.
Where things came to a screeching halt with each phone call was a laundry list of questions regarding the property. It seems having swine on the property is a no-go for bellying up to the trough of federal government largess. It didn’t matter the three hogs (magnificent examples of the breed, if you can overlook my bias) are at the opposite end of the property. As a matter of fact, any bordering properties having swine would have disqualified me, as well.
I’m not your average redneck. I’m an extraordinary redneck.
Being marginally smarter than the average bear, I pointed out that according Pew Research Muslims were definitely the majority religious affiliation of Syrian refugees, but Christians were not too far behind, on a percentage basis. Why not just send me Christians, who presumably wouldn’t give a pig’s tail that the rest of the hog was nearby?
After the person on the other end of the phone line stopped laughing, each time I was given a response along the lines of “the Christians don’t have trouble finding people to take them in, you racist redneck.”
So, as a result of my affinity of homegrown bacon, sausage, and craklin, I will not be beneficiary of Uncle Sam’s Syrian refugee money. My aspirations have been crushed like a bucket of eggs under a tractor tire.
However, I have been talking to some of my neighbors who have unused portions of their property and no deuterocanonical violations. They are interested in getting in on the act. There’s quite a bit of land clearing going on in preparation of the government inspections to establish the number of temporary housing trailers the land can support.
Hopefully, the certification process will be sufficiently stringent to keep the acceptance rate low enough to keep this county from becoming a Muslim ghetto. Unfortunately, the lure of easy money is creating a bit of a Muslim Gold Rush.
When I talked to the relocation organizations, the numbers they put out were two trailers per acre of cleared land or one trailer per acre of woodland with undergrowth cleared. They weren’t real specific about dollar amounts, but they mentioned a monthly stipend of four figures per trailer plus an occupancy per capita rate.
Word of my experience must have gotten around because the local pig market has been flooded with supply, and you can’t find an idle Bush Hog anywhere along my street. I suspect the county knows what’s coming, too. They resurfaced the road for the first time in I don’t know how long, and did a much more thorough job of it than in times past.
What could possibly go wrong?
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