This is a very long article, you can read the whole sob story about how unfair it is that we brought so many Vietnamese to the US in the 1970’s and we aren’t keeping up with other countries in Europe in the numbers of Iraqis we are bringing. You can read it all here, but I warn you the article is very slanted and contains some factual errors especially relating to how many Iraqis are going to European countries.
Since there are so many stories to post on these days, I’m going to have to resort to picking out some items that I think need to be highlighted. In Portland, OR Iraqi Muslim refugee Zahra Hamid Sultan, would like to get more Iraqis to Portland (btw, no mention of Christian Iraqis).
I’m bringing this to your attention because in this discussion we find that the volag (supposedly voluntary agency) that was contracted by the federal government to resettle refugees in Michigan is, according to Sultan, not doing its job. (Check out yesterday’s post with comments about Albany, NY)
But Sultan’s main thrust at the moment is working with Portland’s IRCO, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization*, to start a program to receive Iraqi refugees. Currently IRCO’s programs are primarily for Mexican, Somali and Sudanese immigrants and refugees.
Sultan believes that such a program could persuade U.S. officials to send refugees to the Portland area, instead of Dearborn, Mich., which has been the main destination because it’s the most populous Arab-American region in the country.
Sultan also hopes to set up services that are more comprehensive and longer-lasting than what many Iraqis have received in other parts of the U.S.
“They have been told they can expect to have good services here, to find everything here prepared for them. But they come and find out that’s not true,” she says. “For example, one family said they would only get help to pay their rent for two months but after that they were on their own. But they can’t speak English. How are they going to find a job?
“I visited one family (in Michigan) and the furniture and the house weren’t even acceptable. When refugees in Jordan have their interviews, they are told everything will be fine here, they’ll be taken care of for a year, and there are many programs. But that’s not true.
“Even when they arrive at the airport, they don’t see anyone who is expecting them or welcoming them. This is a new experience for them. They don’t speak English, they are away from their families, they are traumatized, members of their families have been killed or raped. They are psychologically sick and need help.
I honestly don’t get it, why are we hearing so many stories about volags not fulfilling their contracts by not having furnished apartments ready and meeting refugees at the airport—both required by the US State Department?
And, also, I know you are getting sick of hearing this, but who is telling the Iraqis that they will be arriving in Heaven, if they choose to come to America.
Reminder: Some refugee industry lobbyists are pushing the Obama administration to admit over 100,000 Iraqi refugees this fiscal year. We brought around 17,000 so far and they aren’t finding employment and many wish to return home to Iraq.
* I have no time to research IRCO, but I will bet you find it heavily funded by the federal and state governments.