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Afghan Refugees Being Enrolled in Arizona Schools

Photo/Valerie Plesch/for The Washington Post

According to a letter from Cherokee principal Walter Chantler, Scottsdale, AZ, parents may soon see approximately 80 Afghan refugees sitting next to their children in local schools. The Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent (SUSD), Scott Menzel, announced the plans to enroll the refugees on Jan. 18 when he allegedly could no longer keep it under wraps, according to reporting by the Arizona Daily Independent. The Jan. 20 letter from Chantler is pictured below:

Chantler Letter/Cherokee School

No One Knew Refugees were Being Housed at the Homewood Suites

State Representative Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale) allegedly acquired an email written by the Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) Chief of Police, Jeff Walther, that alerted the Mayor, Vice Mayor, and members of the City Council “The Homewood Suites site” at 9880 No. Scottsdale Road is now being “repurposed” to house Afghan refugees. The Homewood Suites site was already controversial—causing a stir when it previously housed “illegal immigrants.” According to a Jun. 6 azfreenews.com story:

“ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have contracted “Family Endeavors” through Sept. 30 to house over 1,200 migrants at a time in Arizona and Texas. They paid the company $86.9 million in a no-bid contract lasting 6 and a half months for a multi-state contract. Each bed totals over $352 daily. The ICE contract repeated that the “Government would be seriously injured” had they not awarded this no-bid contract to Family Endeavors to handle the migrant influx—an “unusual and compelling urgency,” as they described it. The contract also noted that the expected migrant influx would be the highest seen in over 20 years.”

The Scottsdale city council had allegedly “refused to put up a fight when ICE took over the hotel,” said Chaplik in a Jan. 21 tweet that contains the email from Walther.

Reportedly, local officials’ hands are tied because the federal government has oversight, not the city. AZ Free News reports that a “spokesperson for the mayor and council” submitted the following response to their inquiry about the refugees being housed there:

“The city was recently informed that a nonprofit organization working on behalf of the federal government has rented part of a vacant hotel in Scottsdale to house Afghan refugees evacuated by the U.S. in August 2021. This site is being used as a temporary housing facility while each resident/resident family is assigned a sponsor family to live with throughout the greater Phoenix Area. The individuals at this location were previously housed at U.S. military bases. While there, they were vetted by the U.S. State Department and vaccinated against COVID-19. Scottsdale is in contact with the organization operating this site but has no current authority to prevent the hotel from being rented for this purpose. This is a federal government activity over which the city of Scottsdale has no oversight.”

According to Walther—a contractor for the federal government—the International Rescue Committee or IRC is in charge of moving the 300 refugees to the site. No one in the community seemed to know the refugees were housed there until reports of Afghans roaming on the nearby Gainey Ranch golf course. AZ Free News wrote, “[t]he refugees won’t be confined to the hotel and may roam the community at their leisure because the law prohibits their detainment.”

IRC has “management on-site” and has agreed to supply security for the local residents, Walther’s email states.

IRC Contract/Walther Email

During a recent interview with The Conservative Circus host, James T. Harris, Chaplik discusses his frustration over the refugee program. Chaplik says he didn’t know a thing about it until news of the refugees wandering the golf course became public.

Chaplik explains the IRC program:

“It’s something called the International Rescue Committee. It’s called the IRC. It’s a department actually hired through this Department of Justice. It’s not even part of the government. They’re handling this whole situation they turned that defunct Homewood Suites over there on Scottsdale Rd in Mountain View where they had all the migrants from a few months ago, where there was a protest every day against it.”

They decided to turn that home Homewood suites into a refugee shelter. Now for the Afghan refugees. And there’ll be about 300 of them at max capacity and I don’t even think it’s zoned for that. We had a huge issue in the past with the migrants. Now they’ve changed it into a hotel for the Afghan refugees. There is limited security, allowing them to roam all through the city.”

Chaplik is frustrated because the federal government is washing its hands of the refugees, and now local communities are left holding the bag:

“The Department of Defense and the state department have no management or involvement in any of this. So they’re literally taking refugees from around the country sticking them in our communities and then allowing an organization to manage it and then stepping away.”

Chaplik explained that the refugees are now in the middle of the community, next to a high school “with no notice or security.” He is sympathetic to the refugees; however, he believes there are “better ways to do it.” The burden on the community is tremendous. The children speak no English and will be enrolled in the local public schools. He believes the Scottsdale City Council has been a “complete failure.” He explained:

“We want to help these individuals but there’s gotta be better ways to do this. You don’t take someone from around the world throw them into our community. They don’t speak any English.”

Homelessness, panhandling, and crime are rising in the city, according to Chaplik. He fears Scottsdale will become another Portland, Oregon.

“We are about to double the panhandling population in Scottsdale. I think it already has doubled—it’s probably tripled now. I’ve lived here 11 years. It’s starting to look a lot like Portland, Oregon. We are seeing panhandlers on every corner in Scottsdale. Crime is up all through the city. I’ve never seen so many issues.”

Afghan Refugees: Why are they Here and Where are they Going?

The U.S. has been grappling with the Afghan refugees since they arrived in August. It seems that programs are being set up to transition them into local communities. The refugees have, until recently, been housed on U.S. Military bases. The Biden administration brought over 100,000 refugees to various parts of the globe from Afghanistan during his hasty withdrawal.

President Biden’s Aug. 29 initiative, called Operation Allies Welcome, is at the heart of the resettlement program in the U.S. Axios reported in September that 37,000 Afghan refugees were “headed to 46 states.” However, updated reporting from the Washington Post stated that 53,000 Afghan evacuees “remained on eight military installations around the country—almost half of them 18 or under” as of Nov. 12, 2021.

46 States Approved for Afghan refugees/Axios News

Arizona Schools

Arizona schools are already struggling with multiple challenges, including mask mandates and the incursion of CRT into the schools. Legislation is being introduced that will ban sexually explicit material in schools. There have been reports of assigned books in high schools that describe bestiality and pornography.

SUSD and its superintendent are no strangers to controversy. SUSD is the same district where parents were doxxed by the school board President, Jann-Michael Greenburg. Greenburg was instrumental in assembling a dossier on parents because he allegedly disagreed with their beliefs on Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the schools. SUSD is also the same district whose parents received electronic consent forms asking for “highly personal mental health information” due to social-emotional learning (SEL) policies being implemented in the schools. Menzel was later forced to correct the parental consent questions on the form, saying it was “an oversight.”

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