Barbara Day, the US State Department’s chief resettlement officer, visited Oshkosh on Tuesday presumably to make sure the community (the media!) was getting the right message about the next batch of refugees to arrive in Oshkosh. She was essentially shoring-up the base.
Remember there was a flurry of opposition this past January when a city alderman in nearby Appleton raised a ruckus.
Oshkosh and Appleton are 25 miles apart and as is often the case, when a city begins to overload with refugees, there is spillover into another nearby city. When the State Department does family reunifications they like to stay within a hundred miles of the family or ethnic group enclave.
This is a public relations visit by Day to be sure the Oshkoshers stay on track with “welcoming” the “new Americans.” You see, they are running out of suitable places to resettle refugees and since there are so many “family” members coming now who want to be with their families that towns quickly get overloaded, especially when the secondary migrants arrive on top of the newly resettled.
From the Northwestern (emphasis is mine):
Oshkosh is expected to continue to be a hub for the resettlement of refugees who are coming to Northeast Wisconsin to establish new roots after fleeing their home countries.
Like previous years, about 70 refugees are expected to arrive in Oshkosh and call the city home in 2014. Most of the refugees will be Iraqis, Congalese or Burmese, said Myriam Mwizerwa, Oshkosh director for World Relief Fox Valley.
“Refugees can’t survive in a community without knowing other people and becoming involved in the community itself,” said Barbara Day, the Domestic Resettlement Section Chief at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Day spoke to members of the Oshkosh Refugee Resettlement Task Force Tuesday at the Oshkosh Public Library.
Once a seed community of certain ethnic groups are established in your “welcoming” community, the resettlement contractors, like those mentioned here from World Relief/Evangelicals (one of the top nine federal contractors), are paid to process the paperwork for “family members” to join the original group. It puts your town or city in a bad light if it suddenly wants to stop the flow (how dare you block families reuniting!) That is what the following reference is to:
In 2013, 69,926 refugees resettled within the United States, with between 70 and 75 percent of them moving to places near family or friends.
“That fact really drives placement,” Day said. “They’re coming to join family and close friends who are already here.”
World Relief’s regional representative wraps up the piece with a little slap down to other towns that are not ‘welcoming the stranger.’