Sorry it’s been slow-going on “your state”

I can tell that lots of you have been going to our “your state” page and probably coming away disappointed that I haven’t managed to put more state information up.  It’s just that there is so much interesting news about refugees its hard to squeeze in the time, but I promise to get to work on it after tomorrow.    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Brookings: Refugees are spreading out from traditional “gateway cities”

At the September forum in Hagerstown, MD someone asked representatives of the US State Dept. about an apparent policy to spread refugees out to small and middle-sized American cities and away from the traditional “gateway cities.”  We have heard, but cannot confirm, that this was a directive of the Clinton Administration.  Early in the meeting the question was brushed aside, but later the State Dept. spokeswoman admitted that the social services in traditional immigrant receiving cities had become over-taxed.

Thanks to the Jacksonville article yesterday, we now know that The Brookings Institution actually reported on this trend back in April.  Check out their report by going to this page at Brookings and then download the document entitled, “Refugee Resettlement in Metropolitan America.” 

Some interesting findings come as no surprise:

*  Little is known about refugee resettlement at the metropolitan level. 

*  Unlike other immigrants refugees have access to considerable federal, state and local support.

*  Sometimes the placement of too many refugees in one area has overwhelmed local communities and stirred tension.  (Ed: No, really!)

On this last point, the government officials and volag employees made the people in Hagerstown (see the website VDARE yesterday for more on our city) feel that they were residents in the only city in the country that had concerns.  That is the part that makes me want to scream.  Why can’t these officials just admit it and say, yes, there are problems but we try our best to resolve them.  Instead they acted shocked, like this had never happened before and therefore there was something terribly wrong with us!

Now, back to Brookings.  You gotta have a look at this report.  As expected, the top three original “gateway cities” were New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.    But, I was interested in the eleven top cities that had the largest refugee populations as a percentage of the foreign born in the city calculated from figures up to the year 2000.   They are:

Utica-Rome, NY   (See our earlier post on Utica here.)

Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN

Erie, PA

Binghamton, NY

Spokane, WA

Portland, ME

Lincoln, NE

Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA

Burlington, VT

Manchester, NH

Des Moines, IA

I’ll bet that none of these cities had any advance warning or opportunity to plan ahead for the rapid expansion of social services for the needy required of refugee resettlement sites.  

Note on November 23rd:  Here is a better report on the Brooking Report at the Migration Information Source.