We recently set up this category “comments worth noting” to highlight reader comments that are posted not to our most recent posts but to older posts and thus might be lost. Here is one from reader Karin posted to our “Fact sheets” link above.
I appreciate this comment because it gives me an opportunity to tell new readers why we do what we do at Refugee Resettlement Watch. Here is what Karin said:
There’s always two sides to every story. Though Lewiston had a lot of adjustment issues when many Somali people started to move there, it seems like the situation has turned around:
In response in general to your blog…you have your points, but I’d watch your approach. I wouldn’t attack volags as much as you do because the problems involve a lot of things that are outside almost anyone’s control.
Also, you talk about people going back to their countries…most people think that life in America will be great, but having no experience with high costs of living and no job experience the realities are tough. I work in a resettlement office and what everyone is up against is staggering. Many people do just want to go back. But with time they adjust. Many of our Iraqi clients wanted to go back when they were faced with certain realities. Having lived a fairly prosperous life in Baghdad only years before and living as urban refugees before coming to the United States, the situation brings different dynamics than affording the opportunity for a good life to a Somali Bantu family whose people have been discriminated against for hundreds of years.
Remember too that we are providing opportunity to some extraordinary people that have already lived through a lot. They are given the freedom to live, work and access social services just like any other American. I say, why not? Get some reform going, but don’t overthrow the system.
First, Karin said, “There’s always two sides to every story” and links the puff piece from Lewiston, ME on the Somalis. I’m not faulting Karin here when I point out that the piece in Newsweek caused a firestorm of criticism and was thoroughly debunked by the leaders in that town. How could she have known that? She couldn’t have unless she was a regular reader here. (See posts here, here and here) Because both sides are rarely reported when refugee stories are written by the mainstream media, we see our role as helping to balance all of those stories I call ‘refugees see first snow stories.’
I don’t want to make this post too long and boring, but if our local newspaper, the Hagerstown Herald Mail, had done its duty to the citizens of Washington County, MD there wouldn’t be a Refugee Resettlement Watch. Here is what I wrote on September 14th, 2007:
As a matter of fact, I credit the Herald-Mail with helping give birth to Refugee Resettlement Watch. I was not particularly concerned with the Virginia Council of Church’s screw-ups. And, I am sure many of the refugees are fine people. My driving force is my interest in good government. I hate it when government teams up with anyone—developer, preservationist, church group— on the taxpayer’s dime, all the while keeping residents in the dark. It is patronizing and elitist.
I would not have embarked on this if the Herald-Mail had done its job in the first place and researched this issue so citizens knew how refugees came to be in Hagerstown. But, obviously the Herald Mail editors must have assumed their position in support of more refugees would not have stood up to public scrutiny if the facts were known. Since they can’t win in the arena of ideas, leftwing publications, like the Herald Mail, turn to their weapon of choice—manipulation.
If the refugee resettlement program is good for refugees and good for the citizens of communities where refugees are resettled then all those involved should be ready and willing to tell everyone how the program works—the good, the bad, the ugly. When that starts to happen we will stop trying to “overthrow the system.” LOL! If only that were possible.
Note to those in the refugee resettlement business: You know this program needs to be reformed, you are going to have to stop being so chicken and start speaking up. The way its going now, it will implode.