Refugee Resettlement Watch

Emporia, KS economics lecture turned contentious

Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 16, 2007

The talk of the town in Emporia, KS these days is the issue of Somali refugees coming in large numbers to work at the Tyson’s Food meatpacking plant.   So, it was no surprise to learn that an immigration economics lecture turned contentious on Wednesday evening forcing a Tyson’s representative to defend the plan that incidentally involves a local Catholic Charties organization.  From the Emporia Gazette yesterday:

After numerous interruptions that sometimes turned contentious, a forum on immigration economics ended with an unscheduled appearance by Fardusa Council, a Somali who is community liaison for the Tyson Fresh Meats plant here.

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The audience remarks focused on specific refugee issues, rather than the general topic of immigration. The complaints included refugees’ driving skills, cultural and religious differences, filling jobs Emporians could have, receiving tax breaks and welfare assistance and their lack of English language skills

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“This is a big country, and this country doesn’t have just one culture,” Council reminded the audience.

The citizens of Emporia would like answers to the many questions that have arisen.  One of their questions that merits additional scrutiny is, does Tyson’s Food receive any addtional benefits for hiring refugees over local Kansans looking for work.   Read all the comments in the blog associated with the article above.

See our previous coverage here , here , here and here  (listed in order from most recent to oldest).

Reform needed:  These same questions come up everywhere refugees are being resettled or coming  as a result of secondary migration.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea for the Federal agencies responsible for refugee resettlement to at least have a Fact Sheet with frequently asked questions?   A truthful fact sheet that includes information about food stamp use by refugees, about special savings plans that refugees can use to to put money away for cars, houses, schooling etc.,  and what tax breaks businesses are receiving. 

The reason people get so fired up is because they feel they are being snookered.  That is exactly how it appears when non-profit groups, businesses and government team up to quietly bring refugees into an unsuspecting community.   Hint to US State Dept and Office of Refugee Resettlement—tell people how the program works!

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