It’s incredible to discover that the complaints about refugee resettlement agencies not doing their jobs are cropping up everywhere. See our interview with Chris Coen of Friends of Refugees just two days ago.
Then here is an article about Burmese refugees from the St. Louis Post Dispatch the same day:
A few of these families say they feel abandoned and lost here, unable to communicate their needs and virtually trapped in the apartments provided for them by the International Institute.
Salim Khan has tried to fill in the gaps. He lives in Edwardsville and emigrated from Burma about 20 years ago. He was contacted a few weeks ago by a friend about the newest immigrants. He and his wife, Linda, first visited Esa, his wife, their three children and his wife’s sister at their apartment on South Grand Boulevard. The Khans were appalled that the front window was broken and that they lacked even a fan to cool off inside the brick building.
The Khans have reached out to the institute, the family’s landlord and local government agencies on behalf of the families. Salim Khan said he was angered by the attitude he heard from a caseworker who told him the families should be grateful for their life here. It must be better than a camp, he was told.
“It broke my heart that they weren’t getting too much assistance because they didn’t know how to ask for it,” she said.
These resettlement agencies are being paid by the taxpayer to do this work for the first 4 months and it appears they aren’t even doing that! I can’t help but think we would be better off if all refugees were resettled by the Private Sector Initiative where refugees are sponsored and cared for by individual churches or groups. The sponsoring entitity then takes the family under its wing and helps them start life in America for as long as it takes to get the family assimilated. Let’s just cut out the middlemen!
Update: The International Institute of St. Louis is a subcontractor of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants which we posted on here.