Refugee Resettlement Watch

Iraqi student in the US: wise beyond his years…

Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 17, 2008

And awfully brave to make the politically incorrect remarks he made yesterday to the Tucson Citizen.  I’ll bet he gets a lot of flack from the refugee industry folks.   In a letter to the editor, this high school senior said: 

It has been 14 months since I stood at the Tucson International Airport welcome area to receive the first Iraqi refugee family that came to Tucson.

I remember standing beside their caseworker, four members of a church and the Imam of the local mosque.

I watched the father step off the escalator with his backpack and a briefcase in hand.

He dropped his briefcase as soon as he knew who we were and ran to shake our hands, saying “Thank you” with a heavy accent.

He, like every refugee, had a look of relief and a big smile radiating hope.

After he learned I was an Iraqi student, he whispered in my ear, “We are the lucky ones.”

A few months after, I realized why he had said that.

He wasn’t prepared only to be safe, but also had some inaccurate expectations about living in the U.S.

After having lost many loved ones and gone through many crises, Iraqi refugees come prepared to have an easy life here.

They sign up to qualify for food stamps, health insurance for eight months, and rental payments and salaries for three months.

But not often do they realize how long these privileges will last. Nor do they know what they should do in return, since most of them can’t read the contracts they sign.

With limited educational programs and orientations, the refugees end up spending their money not carelessly, but rather extravagantly.

After three months of being picky about jobs and chasing the same lifestyle they had back home, they find that their salaries and rent payments end.

The problem is, the number of refugees is a lot bigger than the agencies can handle. The agencies are overwhelmed, so their performance is not as expected.

This leads to misunderstandings and trust issues between the refugees and their sponsoring agencies.

Then Ali Rawaf goes on to tell us some of the things he thinks need to be done, and concludes with this:

There should also be consideration of allowing a reasonable number of Iraqi refugees.

It is better to have 10 Iraqi refugees who are satisfied with their lives than having 100 angry ones with no life at all.

I suspect, however, instead of limiting the refugees to those we can afford, the refugee resettlement industry will just see this as more evidence that we need to spend more of your tax dollars on refugees.  We have already said we are taking “tens of thousands” of Iraqis in the coming fiscal year.

We have written on several occasions (here is one post) about how well-educated Iraqis come to America as refugees and expect to work in their previous professions and instead learn that rather than working as a surgeon, an Iraqi doctor might get a job on the hospital cleaning staff.    I predict, and hope, that they will go home to Iraq one day soon and help their own country recover.

14 Responses to “Iraqi student in the US: wise beyond his years…”

  1. […] is a good time to consider the words of an Iraqi refugee boy who seems wiser by far than all the high paid refugee industry professionals inside and outside […]

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  2. […] reminded of the Iraqi boy wise beyond his years!    I told you about him in September of 2008, here.   He summed up his observations about the unhappy situation with Iraqi refugees in a letter to […]

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  3. […] reminded of the Iraqi boy wise beyond his years!    I told you about him in September of 2008, here.   He summed up his observations about the unhappy situation with Iraqi refugees in a letter to […]

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  4. […] can’t save all the refugees in the world, so let me remind readers of what a wise Iraqi boy told a Tucson paper last […]

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  5. […] Let me remind you of what that Iraqi refugee boy said in Arizona last year, here. […]

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  6. […] then here is a novel idea!  Consider the words of an Iraqi refugee boy who seems wiser by far than all the high paid refugee industry professionals inside and outside […]

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  7. […] its time to heed the warning from the ‘wise beyond his years’ Iraqi boy in Tucson who […]

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  8. […] back now and visit this post , and this one, from last fall about unhappy Iraqi refugees in […]

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  9. […] coming to a “maxed out” office.  Maybe 350 is too many?  Regular readers will remember the words of a wise Iraqi refugee boy who said of the refugees flooding Tucson, […]

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  10. […] Here is what that very wise boy said in Tucson just two months ago.  If he gets it,  why can’t the State Department and the volags? […]

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  11. […] that wise Iraqi boy in […]

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  12. […] what that wise boy in Arizona said a couple of weeks ago—it’s better to have 10 satisfied Iraqi refugees then 100 […]

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  13. […] They are lonely and unable to find work for which they can use their education and training.    I recently told you about a high school student in Tucson who said the same thing of newly arrived Iraqis in […]

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  14. […] Iraqi student in the US: wise beyond his years… […]

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