This is the latest from Montana, a state which hasn’t had any refugee flow for a number of years, but is now about to get its first resettlement office. We have been following the controversy for months and urge you to go here and review the political strife in Big Sky Country over the plan.
Early on, suggestions were made by the proponents and those carrying the water for the International Rescue Committee (the primary federal refugee resettlement company in charge of the office), that there probably wouldn’t be Syrians in the initial flow. But, it seems all that has changed and that most of the refugees that could be chosen for Montana are in fact Muslims.
Here is the news at the Missoulian:
Bob Johnson, a senior adviser for the IRC’s Seattle office, returned to Missoula this week to make preparations for the reopening of a refugee resettlement office. He said the agency for whom he’s worked 40 years instructed its people to abstain from commenting publicly in the wake of the Florida shootings.
Announcement of the Missoula office’s executive director is still a couple of weeks away, and it now looks like it’ll be August before the first refugees arrive in town. In March the IRC contracted with the U.S. State Department to resettle up to 100 refugees in Missoula in the first year, a figure that can be adjusted up or down in subsequent years.
The State Department approved a staff of 2 1/2 in Missoula – the executive director, a caseworker and a half-time finance manager. The latter two jobs are still being advertised.
The IRC says it will give from two weeks to two months notice of where the first refugees will come from, said Mary Poole of Soft Landing Missoula, the volunteer organization that successfully made the case to the IRC to open the Missoula office.
What is clear is there’s a better chance than first thought that some of the refugees will come from Syria. The U.S. has been slow to meet President Barack Obama’s pledge to resettle 10,000 displaced Syrians this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. National Public Radio reported this week that so far that number is just 2,800, but a White House National Security spokesman said the U.S. remains committed to the president’s plan.
Virtually all Syrians arriving in the US now are Muslims. Of course Afghans and ROHINGYA*** are Muslims. Most of those from DR Congo are very needy, mentally troubled, but mostly non-Muslims. Does Missoula have good mental health facilities?
An IRC official in April told a reception hosted by Soft Landing that because Missoula has no established nationality base of refugees, it’s likely that its first families will come from a population that has no family ties in the U.S. According to the Missoula Independent, those could be Syrian families of four to 10 members; Afghans; families and single-woman households from the Republic of Congo; or Rohingyas, an ethnic Muslim minority from Myanmar (Burma).
What a wonderful coincidence, the schools in Missoula have been teaching Arabic (the number one language of refugees entering the US) for a few years already!
The 6-year-old Arabic language and culture program in Missoula’s three public high schools was another unexpected asset to the IRC.
And, if you feel like it, visit reporter Jared Goyette’s piece from several weeks ago. It is a typical warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely discussion about how one opponent of the plan got friendly with a proponent of the plan. I have been meaning to write about it, but the only point I need to make is this: Mary and Drew are nice people, but don’t fall for the emotional stuff that Jared is peddling.
You have every right to question, in a clear-eyed unemotional way, public policy in your state that will effect your wallet, your safety, your health and the social cohesion of your community forever!
***Learn more about devout Rohingya Muslims here. We have 189 posts on this ethnic group and only yesterday we mentioned that we are admitting them to our towns and cities now by the thousands. Remember this! The Rohingya are not our problem. They have been fighting for decades with the Buddhists in Burma. We did nothing to make the Rohingya our responsibility! (Not that any others are ours either. But, the Left loves to tell us we are responsible for wrecking Iraq and so those are ours!).