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Bhutanese refugees kill themselves because of lack of jobs; let’s import more immigrant labor!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on April 17, 2013

We’ve reported previously on the high suicide rate in the Bhutanese population in the US, but to be honest, they killed themselves in camps at about the same high rate (or so this researcher says) as here in America.

Nevertheless, this latest news on the statistic highlights the refugees’ lack of employment in the US as one factor.

Bhutanese refugees were originally from Nepal and could have been resettled there, but instead the US pledged to take 60,000 of them and disperse them around America.  They were not in danger in their ancestral homeland.

So, let’s get this straight, Islamist Grover Norquist has joined forces with the likes of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (and the rest of the federal contractors, it’s just that HIAS has been the most in the news on amnesty) to push for more legal immigrant labor.

I’ve said on many previous occasions that the US State Department and federal contractors are really headhunters for the meatpacker and hotel industry among others (disguised as humanitarians)!

Amnesty for illegal aliens and increased immigrant worker visas is being largely driven by big business interests in need of plentiful cheap labor ably represented by Norquist.

So if we need more immigrant labor—why are refugees unemployed? 

From (emphasis mine):

 There have been 16 cases of suicide among Bhutanese refugees residing in the US as of February 2012, according to a report.

The report commissioned by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has shown an increasing rate of suicide among the refugees. It noted that the Bhutanese resettlement process coincided with the global financial recession, ‘making the typical refugee problem of unemployment especially bad.’

The global suicide rate per 100,000 people—how suicide rates are calculated—is 16, and the rate for the general US population is 12.4, says the report.

The Bhutanese suicide rate is much higher—20.3 among US-resettled ones and 20.7 in the refugee camp population in Nepal.


The rate of depression among the Bhutanese refugees surveyed was 21 percent, nearly three times that of the general US population (6.7 percent). In addition to depression, risk factors for suicide included not being the family’s provider, feelings of limited social support, and having family conflict after resettlement.

Post-migration difficulties that the victims faced offer clues about their possible motivations, Preiss wrote.

Most are unable to communicate with their host communities, while many were also plagued by worries about the family back home and the difficulty of maintaining cultural and religious traditions, she added.“Most of the victims were unemployed, while a few had previous mental health diagnoses and mental health conditions were probably significantly under-diagnosed in the camps where medical care was basic at best.”

Iraqis want stuff, we want jobs!

“Money, money, money,” Som Nath Subedi offers as an explanation, according to Preiss’ article. Subedi, a Bhutanese case manager in Portland, Oregon and one of the first community leaders to highlight the suicide s, says the intense poverty of the Bhutanese refugee population may be a factor. “Iraqis, when they get here, they start looking for a house or a car,” he says.

“We start looking for a job, how to pay rent, how to get bills paid,” Preiss quoted Subedi as saying.

The solution is—more immigrant laborers?

A brief history of how we came to get 60,000 plus, largely Hindu refugees from Nepal

The King of Bhutan wanted Bhutan for his own people.  The refugees we call Bhutanese are really Nepalese people who for generations had migrated into Bhutan.  They were then pushed out of Bhutan by the Bhutanese government and back to Nepal and put in UN refugee camps where they were cared-for for twenty plus years.  In 2007, the State Department and the UN began scattering them around the world inspite of the fact that many had to be strong-armed to give up their cultural roots.

You might liken this to the situation with the Palestinians where we in the West have paid billions of dollars to keep the Palestinians right there in camps for more than 50 years!  But, for some still unknown reason no significant pressure was put on Bhutan or Nepal (countries that we should have some financial power over) to take these people in.

So, in 2007, then Bush Asst. Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey opened the door for us to take 60,000 from camps and spread them around the US.  We have now exceeded 60,000 and are on our way to 70,000.

For our whole archive on Bhutanese refugees go here.   In addition to the suicide problem, the Bhutanese have been victims of crimes and the most egregious one of late was the death of a Bhutanese refugee at the hands of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, here.

2 Responses to “Bhutanese refugees kill themselves because of lack of jobs; let’s import more immigrant labor!”

  1. The labour challenges experienced by the resettled Bhutanese refugee immigrant to the States is not a unique one given what is experienced by previous cohort of refugees to US who came from similar history of employment or means of livelihood. The stress and trauma experienced of these folks are triggered by the labour regime of US which is structured by the capitalistic principles, norms and regulations. The labour market in the states and also in Canada hardly recognizes their traditional skills, abilities, and education. As a result they find themselves at odd with the demand of skills and abilities in the US market. The capitalistic market that is profit driven hardly acknowledges the historical context and social aspects of the Bhutanese folks. On the other hand the government both at federal and local level does not provide adequate support for their settlement such as long term settlement allowances, free trade and vocational courses, resources (land etc), and funding for the settlement programs that could facilitate their successful transition.

    raj khadka PhD Candidate ( researching on labour market of Bhutanese refugee immigrant)


    • Ann Corcoran said

      Good points, so in light of the fact that the US taxpayer doesn’t have enough money to give for more social services, what is your solution? Should we keep bringing so many refugees into poverty? What is going to happen to the labor market in the US when (if!) Congress and the President legalize 11 million illegal aliens and give them the right to work legally?


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