Your tax dollars:
Here is an editorial I missed a week ago when we were in the midst of back to back global warming snow storm(s) in Maryland and then I was away for a day or so.
The Concord Monitor editorial begins with a discussion about how the big bucks the Obama Administration is now sending to the federal contractors resettling refugees in the US is not enough money to cover the true cost of the refugees. And the staff editorial throws in this politically correct line:
The 75,000 refugees from all over the world who are resettled in the United States make America a richer, stronger and more diverse nation.
BUT, then it goes on to say—you Feds better figure out how to help states and communities cope with the costs of this! [Don’t skip the comments!]
Concord and Laconia became home to 285 refugees in 2008 and 284 last year and about 60 percent of them settled in Concord. That was about 150 more than expected. The bulk of the refugees have been Bhutanese, who have spent as much as 16 years in camps in Nepal as a result of ethnic cleansing in Bhutan, a small nation that borders India, China and Tibet. Refugees are settled in, and choose to migrate to, cities that already have a sizeable population of people from their home country. So Concord can expect to become home to hundreds more Bhutanese over the next few years. They will add to the smaller population of refugees from African nations, Eastern Europe and Iraq who have made Concord their home since Lutheran Services began its resettlement effort in 1998. Their presence is making Concord a much more diverse and interesting city.
Residents should welcome the newcomers, but the refugee influx isn’t without costs. The impact on the city welfare budget has been small, as has the expense of food stamps and other federal programs. More challenging is the cost of educating refugee children, including some who have never been in a classroom.
Thanks to the state’s tax structure, the added burden of public education is not shared by all the state’s communities, only by taxpayers in the handful of cities that have been designated as resettlement sites. That’s an inequity that could be remedied on the state level, but then too, it might rain money on Tuesday.
To address the problem, the budgets of two federal agencies, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of Education, should include money to cushion the financial impact when cities are forced to cope with hundreds of refugee children whose educational needs are enormous. New Hampshire’s congressional delegation should meet with local officials to discuss the problem and take steps to address it.
The Concord Monitor has done some good reporting in the past on the problems with the refugee program in Concord. See our archive of those posts, here. Be sure to check out this post where Lutheran Social Services asks Monitor readers to lobby for more money for them.