Syrian Refugee Crisis Roils SB County Supervisor Race
According to multiple news reports at least 23 Syrian refugees have been settled in the City of Victorville by the Federal Government.
This news, which had not previously been uncovered by the media, was first disclosed by San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Candidate Angela Valles in a press release and statement this week throwing another curve ball into an already contentious election that had previously centered around the abuse of children in the County Foster system and other scandals in the County.
The County and City of Victorville, placed on the defensive, deny the claims by Valles that Federal Law requires that state and local governments be consulted on the placement of refugees.
County spokesman David Wert stated he “was unaware of any process by which counties or cities are formally advised of refugee arrivals by the federal or state government,” according to the Victor Valley Daily Press.
Incumbent Supervisor Robert Lovingood stated that Valles “has a misunderstanding of what the responsibilities are” of a County Supervisor and a Victorville Councilman referred to Valles statement as a “complete distortion of the facts” and “lies.”
But a reading of the actual Federal Law related to the placement of refugees from the Cornell School of Law website states from the United States code that “The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1) shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.”
From the same US Code, the next paragraph states “The Director shall develop and implement, in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and State and local governments, policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.”
The underlying command of each sentence of the code is “SHALL.” It doesn’t say “may” or “should,” it says “SHALL.” This isn’t a matter of the County or City requiring clairvoyant powers or crystal balls.
While being ignorant of the activities of the Federal Government in your own communities is understandable, denying your rights under federal law as representatives of your communities is not. The County of San Bernardino and the City of Victorville have ample legal remedy to force the Obama Administration to follow the law. Twenty-five states led by Texas successfully sued the Federal Government to halt a questionable Executive Order providing work permits and legal residence for 5 million illegal aliens.
The states easily established standing for the action and the courts issued an injunction against the Administration until a full hearing occurs. But, our elected leadership, either obtuse to the law or ignorant of it, choose to do nothing.
It would be one thing if Mr. Lovingood had said he was unaware of the situation, that he was concerned, and that the County would look into the matter. But referring to your better-informed opponent as “misunderstanding” the role of a local elected official is just cheap theatrics and dodging responsibility.
Of course the County of San Bernardino has become known for brushing away controversy. The Board of Supervisors has yet to answer ANY questions in the well-founded media reports of children being injured and killed in the County Foster Care system or hold anyone responsible for the cover-up of a prostitution scandal involving the County Executive Officer.
So it is par for the course that County Leadership would ignore the placement of unvetted refugees from Syria where the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations operate. Did we forget that the most successful terrorist attack since 9-11 happened right here in San Bernardino, not less than 10 months ago?
Any responsible local official, with the power of the County or City government, would at the very least challenge the Federal Government to live up to its legal obligations under Federal Statute. And if it takes legal action by those elected officials to protect their constituents, aren’t they at least obligated to make the attempt?
Of course, the cities of Adelanto and Hesperia passed resolutions opposing the placement of unvetted refugees in their communities. Apparently the feds do listen to those local elected officials that stand up for themselves. Supervisor Lovingood, apparently, would rather roll over.