Is anyone surprised?
That statistic comes to us from a report put together by a professor and his students at San Francisco State University.
Of course their solution to the problem is NOT to urge a slowdown of the flow of refugees to Oakland (or to Manchester, NH for example) or anywhere in the US, but is to spend more taxpayer money teaching English and send more “refugee cash” from Washington, DC to California when there are NO jobs!
From Medical Xpress:
Refugees who have fled Burma to live in Oakland, Calif., are at risk of becoming a permanent, poverty-stricken underclass warns a new report released today by researchers at San Francisco State University and the Burma Refugee Family Network (BRFN). The report found that almost 60 percent of Oakland’s refugees from Burma are living in extreme poverty.
Since 2007, thousands of refugees from war-torn Burma have been resettled by the U.S. federal government and an estimated 400 individuals have been resettled in Oakland.
They have trouble getting jobs, applying for health care and government bennies because they can’t speak English.
“These recent refugees from Burma are facing dire circumstances,” said Russell Jeung, associate professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. “The recession and government cuts in adult English classes mean that even though they want to work, these refugees have no opportunity to learn English or workplace skills in order to adapt to life in the U.S.”
Jeung and his students, together with BRFN and other community-based organizations, surveyed 194 refugees from Burma to assess the community’s needs. The researchers found that in addition to high poverty rates, these refugees face barriers to accessing employment, health care and government benefits caused by their lack of English. These barriers have been exacerbated by recent cuts in the provision of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and a lack of appropriate interpretation services.
Impoverished refugees help drive statistics about US poverty rates rising.
The report found that among Oakland’s refugee population from Burma:
*63 percent are unemployed. Those that are employed have sporadic, low-wage jobs.
*57 percent live below the federal threshold for extreme poverty, earning less than $1,000 per month for an average household size of five. Most of the remainder live below the federal poverty line.
*38 percent speak no English at all. Another 28 percent speak English poorly.
*74 percent report that lack of English is their biggest barrier to accessing health care.
*47 percent report that English classes are the most-needed service in their community.
How about if Professor Jeung and his students get busy teaching the illiterate refugees to read and write English without, of course, being paid for their charitable work.
The overall numbers of refugees resettled is down for FY2011 which ended September 30th, but apparently still not down enough. Here are the numbers. We resettled just over 56,000 refugees (the goal for the year was a completely unrealistic 80,000). Burmese refugees topped the list with a whopping 16,972 people with little English and no real marketable skills, Bhutanese (Nepalese) came in second with 14,999 and Iraq was way down with 9,328 (we resettled double that number in FY2010)*. Guess those federal contractors who are paid by the head to resettle refugees are hurting in their bottomlines.
*LOL! So where is Matthew Lee the AP reporter who squawked every month during the final year of the Bush Administration about how we weren’t helping the Iraqis by bringing enough of them to the US. Where is the Obama bashing now that he isn’t helping enough?