This starts out as the usual feel-good fluffy-puffy story about a happy Iraqi refugee landing in Detroit, Michigan, but there are some very interesting nuggets of information that appear mid-story.
From the National Journal:
Detroit’s suburbs have absorbed tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in recent years after violence erupted in the wake of the war. The established Arab community in Detroit has made it the top destination for Iraqi refugees—and that, in turn, has made Michigan one of the states receiving the largest influx of refugees.
From 2010 to 2014, Michigan saw a 38 percent increase in the number of refugees moving to the state, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. The vast majority are fleeing Iraq, where they faced violence and retaliation for working with U.S. troops during the war, like Al Saady, or because they belong to a religious minority. The number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Michigan nearly doubled in the last four years, with 2,751 arriving in 2014.
The growing number of refugees exacerbated the economic strain on Detroit communities as it struggled during the Great Recession. Refugees had trouble finding work, and staff was stretched thin at the social service agencies that help families resettle in the area. In 2008, the State Department started limiting Iraqi resettlement to Detroit to those who had immediate family members there. But many of those Iraqi refugees who have been resettled elsewhere in the years since still end up moving to Detroit anyway, says Mihaela Mitrofan, refugee-resettlement program manager for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. [Readers, it is called “secondary migration” in resettlement industry lingo. The Iraqis want to live with their own kind, as do the Somalis that flock to Minnesota, but God forbid you want to live with people you are culturally comfortable with!—ed]
“With everything that’s happening with ISIS, we anticipate another wave of refugees from Iraq and also Syria,” says Mitrofan.
Since the middle of 2007, Lutheran Social Services has resettled more than 8,000 Iraqi refugees in the Detroit area. Christian Iraqis are usually integrated into the large Chaldean community in the northern Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights. Chaldeans are a Catholic minority group in Iraq. [Christians are only about 22-25% of the Iraqis we resettle.—ed]
Muslim Iraqis, like Al Saady, are usually sent to Dearborn, a suburb just southwest of Detroit that has provided a home for Arab-Americans of Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni, and other backgrounds for nearly 100 years. Lutheran Social Services runs a small office on the city’s main drag, above a hookah bar and across the street from a halal grocery store.
Getting them their welfare goodies as per the Obama colonizing plan!
One LSS staff member, Arjwan Khadoori, helped 13 Iraqis resettle in Dearborn this past January. Khadoori tracked down housing, took them to buy groceries, and guided them through the process of registering for Social Security cards, Medicaid, driver’s licenses, and food stamps. Each person also receives $925 in federal cash assistance to help tide them over until they find work.
Another staff member, Jawhar Altahesh, persuades employers to hire the refugees. This can be tough, he says, especially in an area with such high unemployment. Sometimes employers will accuse him of taking away jobs from Americans. Even Arab-American Muslims might not want to hire women or Shiite Muslims. [By the way, we are bringing an almost equal number of Sunnis and Shiites out of Iraq.—ed]
“I tell them that’s against the law,” says Altahesh, “but it doesn’t matter.”
From November through January, the Dearborn office helped find full-time jobs for 30 of 50 refugees seeking employment in Wayne County.
Michigan received the 4th highest number of refugees in FY2014, here.