Last week we told you that a group in Montana was proposing that the state begin to resettle refugees in significant numbers. The only state that has no refugee program at all is Wyoming, but over the years Montana has resettled a handful (LOL! sort of like refugee advocate Joe Biden’s Delaware). However, that could all change as writer Stephen Maly suggested in an opinion piece in Helena’s Independent Record.
Now comes a response by Montana resident Paul Nachman*** which I’m posting here for several reasons. First, his excellent piece could be a model for others working in ‘pockets of resistance’ and it’s a reminder to use the local media as much as possible (not everyone is on the internet!). Secondly, he makes some very good points in a thoughtful way, and last but not least, he raises a specter of something more and more experts are beginning to notice—in the coming years we will have a glut of low-skilled workers and no jobs. So what then will happen to all of the third world immigrants we have imported ostensibly to do the jobs Americans won’t do? Nachman asks that question.
After you read the whole essay, you might want to send a letter or comment to the paper yourself. Help Montanans decide if they should “change” the character of their state by “welcoming” refugees from places like Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
From the Independent Record:
Stephen Maly’s op-ed “Exploring the possibility of welcoming Syrian refugees to Helena” (June 25) is heartfelt. But it’s also a nonstarter because most of what Mr. Maly wrote has negligible overlap with the current realities of refugee resettlement in the United States.
These realities usually startle people new to the subject. One pictures carefully selected refugees shepherded to new lives in America by doting non-governmental organizations rooted in religion (e.g. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) or civic concern (e.g. International Rescue Committee). Surely such groups assist their charges in finding housing and employment and in assimilating to American life, while also providing financial support until “their” refugees attain self-sufficiency? And surely they fund this support and the salaries of their professional resettlement workers using contributions gathered by “passing the plate” in their churches or by attracting private philanthropy?
Well, no. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees does the selecting, pressing their selectees on national bureaucracies such as the U.S. State Department. In turn, the State Department — working with LIRS, IRC and seven other NGOs — identifies American cities and towns for concentrated resettlement of the refugees, typically paying minimal attention to the capabilities and resources of these receiving communities. Indeed, the communities often learn about their new arrivals after the fact.
The sponsoring NGOs’ refugee work is funded almost entirely by the federal taxpayer, not from resources they’re raised themselves, so they’re best viewed as federal contractors. And the contractors’ obligations to any particular refugees end after a few months, no matter how inadequately their charges have assimilated during that brief span.
Continue reading here.
Now this is the part that I found alarming because I have been hearing this warning from several sources lately.
Mr. Maly’s worry about systemic worker shortages is probably misplaced, anyway. The cover story in the July/August Atlantic is “A World Without Work.” Author Derek Thompson argues that galloping computer-driven automation is en route to destroying, on net, tens of millions of American jobs. If so, the issue for our society will be the distribution of sustenance to those forced out of the workforce, without engendering the resentment of those still working. We certainly won’t need to import workers from abroad.
There is more, please continue here.
***Paul Nachman (PNBL48@hotmail.com) is a retired physicist and a founding member of Montanans for Immigration Law Enforcement (www.montanamile.org). He also volunteers in a research group at MSU in Bozeman.
Please send a comment to the Independent Record especially if you have information about how the refugee program is problematic where you live.