In 2007, just as RRW was getting off the ground, the Bush Administration said that the US would “welcome” 60,000 Bhutanese (mostly Hindu) here over 5 years (read one of many accounts, here).
We are now up to 80,000 of the Bhutanese (really Nepali people) who were booted out of Bhutan after living there for a generation or two. Nepal didn’t want its ethnic people back, so they lived in UN-run camps on the edge of Nepal before Bush said, let them come (The contractors need ‘clients’ and we need more docile laborers anyway! Bush didn’t exactly say that, but that is the reality).
Their arrival here was traumatic for many and news is plentiful about their hardships in the land whose streets are (NOT!) paved with gold. Their high rate of suicide in the US has not gone unnoticed by health officials (here is one recent story on that subject).
Refugees as pawns!
When I saw this news, my first reaction was ho-hum now they want some special favors for their people, so I was surprised to see that they want the US to pressure Bhutan to let some of them return to Bhutan from the camps and to let some of those resettled here to return as well!
This is not the first time we have seen “refugees” beg to go home after they learned the harsh reality of life in America. (See a post from 2010 here about how we brought thousands of Kosovars here in 1999, paid resettlement contractors to get them ‘settled,’ and then airlifted them ‘home’ within a year).
There is no incentive to slow the flow!
In 1999, the contractors were in need of warm bodies (they are paid by the head to resettle refugees and it is the need for the continuous cash flow that keeps this whole scheme afloat) and so they pressured the Clinton Administration to bring them some paying customers. Frankly, I think this is the same thing that happened with the Bhutanese and I always wondered why the mighty US (and the bullies at the UN) couldn’t financially pressure Bhutan and Nepal to repatriate their people instead of undertaking a hugely expensive resettlement of an entire population and then scattering them across the US and destroying their culture.
From Business Standard:
For the first time in the US Congress, the Bhutanese American Advocacy Day has been celebrated.
There are around 80,000 Bhutanese refugees in the US.
Organised by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) early this week on November 17, the first-of-its-kind event featured a congressional briefing along with meetings with the State Department and several House and Senate offices, the foundation said in a statement.
Life isn’t so good in America, we want to go home!
The Bhutanese delegation also asked the State Department and members of Congress to assist in applying multilateral diplomatic pressure on Bhutan to repatriate refugees remaining in the camps of Nepal as well as those resettled in other countries who long to return to their ancestral homeland.
Panelists sought to educate policy makers on the challenges endured by Bhutanese Hindus resettling here in the US, as well as the ongoing human rights concerns in Bhutan.
Bhutanese Hindu refugees living in major cities throughout the US are facing a number of challenges, including a high incidence of mental illness and suicide, trouble obtaining employment and difficulty in retaining their cultural and religious traditions.
Thanks to Obama, their difficulty in finding employment will only get harder as they compete with 5 million newly legalized aliens.