Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for January 3rd, 2013

Suicide rate high in US Bhutanese refugee communities

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 3, 2013

I told you about Director Eskinder Negash’s year-end review for the Office of Refugee Resettlement here and here recently.  There was one paragraph in his report that I noted to follow up on.  It was this:

ORR has been working with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to try to understand what is triggering suicides in Bhutanese refugee communities, undertaking an Epi-Aid study focusing on eleven communities in four states: (1) Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson), (2) Georgia (Atlanta Metropolitan Area, including Atlanta, Clarkston, Decatur, and Stone Mountain), (3) New York (Buffalo, and Syracuse) and (4) Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston). Results of the study were shared with ORR in October, and ORR is following up on CDC recommendations and next steps.

Here is the report from the CDC dated October 2012.  Sixteen newly resettled Bhutanese/Nepali refugees killed themselves in a three year period alarming the social engineers at the ORR in Washington DC, and within a year of getting to the US.   Researchers had data on 14 of those and interviewed family members to try to ascertain why they killed themselves (13 by hanging).  The reasons were in order of importance:  language barriers, worry about family back home, separation from family, and difficulty in maintaining cultural and religious traditions.

You will have to go to the report for the CDC’s recommendations which include more mental health screening for refugees, building support in communities among families etc, and expanding mental health facilities for refugees.

Just a reminder to readers that there was much angst and consternation in the refugee camps in Nepal where these refugees had lived for going on two decades about coming to the US in the first place.  We wrote about it on several occasions as the great emptying of camps began in 2007.  We reported last month that in the ensuing years we have resettled over 60,000 Bhutanese/Nepali people, so that meatpackers would have some more good docile workers, the contractors could get your taxpayer dollars, the Dems could get more voters and Americans could feel all warm and fuzzy about giving them this opportunity (I just threw that last part in there because I’m so cynical now!).

And, just so you know, some Bhutanese are doing well. Here is one glowing report from Pittsburgh, PA.   But, oops! it is the location of one of the suicides as we reported here in 2010 (Sheesh, I googled Pittsburgh Bhutanese and my own post came up!).

Posted in health issues, Other refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Resettlement cities | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

To add diversity, Minneapolis and Columbus, OH recruiting Somalis for police and fire department jobs

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 3, 2013

We know those Somalis in Columbus know a bit about fires because back in 2009 we had a report that one group of Somalis tried to burn down the mosque of another group of more moderate Somalis, read all about it here.

Here is yesterday’s story from the Columbus Dispatch:

About 35 young men showed up at a meeting in Minneapolis last week to find out how to join the city’s fire department.

They were all from the local Somali community, which is the nation’s largest.

Community leaders organized the meeting because Minnesota’s largest city is making an effort this year to recruit from the Somali and eastern African communities, said Casidy Anderson, the fire department’s community risk-reduction officer. “It’s important for the fire department that it reflects the face of the community,” Anderson said.

Columbus is making a similar effort and is hiring a consultant to work with both the fire and police divisions to increase diversity.

“There is a targeted approach to reach out not just to the Somali community but to all immigrant communities,” said Napoleon Bell, the executive director of the Columbus Community Relations Commission. Columbus is home to the country’s second-largest Somali population. Some are hesitant to apply to become a police officer or firefighter because they don’t trust authorities, based on bad experiences where they came from, Bell said.

The city is to begin a 35-member fire-recruit class in June.

Authorities might think it’s logical to aim for the younger Somalis who have grown up here, but remember it was virtually all young Somalis (who had grown up here!) that were recruited to join the Jihad in Africa a few years ago, remember!

Minneapolis is aiming for younger members of the Somali community who have grown up in America and are more comfortable with the idea of joining the fire department, Anderson said. “It’s almost like they’re straddling two cultures,” Anderson said.

Then I am guessing that maybe those fire departments have looked to European cities (Paris and Malmo, Sweden come to mind) where police and fire fighters do not enter the Muslim “no-go zones” even to fight fires.

The Minneapolis fire department wants to make sure it reflects the changing face of the city, Anderson said. “The Somali community is here. They are here to stay.”

It might be a good idea for Minneapolis and Columbus officials to keep the famous Ricci Supreme Court case in mind as they proceed.

For new readers:  Columbus Somalis made news just last month, here, when they had to be dispersed by the police while seeking subsidized housing applications.

Posted in Africa, Changing the way we live, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Resettlement cities | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Thailand to deport latest groups of Rohingya asylum seekers

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 3, 2013

What is a country to do—just about anywhere in the world these days massive numbers of migrants are on the move looking for jobs and social services.

In and around Southeast Asia it’s impossible to do the Greek model of border security.

Thailand won’t let this latest group of Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers stay and the UN is not happy.

In Australia those arriving by boat get to stay, but are placed in detention and there is almost daily news about the pressure on the government there to not be so inhumane.   So, what is a country that wishes to survive do?

Here is the latest fuming from the NGOs and the UN:

Thai authorities say Rohingya Muslim refugees allegedly fleeing sectarian violence and persecution in western Burma must be sent back to their homeland.

The 73 migrants, including women and children, were found drifiting in a small, overcrowded boat off the Thai resort town of Phuket, well short of their final destination of Malaysia.

Thai authorities intercepted the boat, which had been at sea for 13 days, and provided the refugees with food and supplies on Tuesday. But local media reported Wednesday they have been arrested and ordered to return to Burma by land.

Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, says that Thailand should suspend any plan to deport the refugees until the United Nations refugee agency has a chance to determine whether they have legitimate claims for protection.

He says Thai authorities, who are reluctant to absorb migrant workers from neighboring countries, must come up with a better policy for dealing with boat people.

Then here is more—UN puts pressure on Thailand.  (see the photo, Camp of the Saints anyone?)

It is just a matter of time before the US steps in and says to countries like Thailand (as they did Malta), heck we will take a few off your hands.

Come to think of it, where are the nations of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) with their Muslim charity?  They should be taking in their Muslim brethren!

For new readers:  This is our 130th post on the Rohingya issue, here.

Posted in Asylum seekers, Australia, Muslim refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program, Rohingya Reports | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off

 
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