Burundian Hutus settling in Chattanooga, TN

The first handful of  African Hutus celebrated Thanksgiving in Chattanooga,  TN a few days ago according to a report in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.    This is one of those template stories about how everything is going great with refugees in their new home town.    Did you know we were bringing 10,000 Burundian refugees from camps in Tanzania this year?

As many as 10,000 Burundian refugees from a Hutu camp in Tanzania are being resettled in the United States this year. About 40 of them, 14 families with 17 children, have moved to Chattanooga, according to resettlement officials.


“Considering that they didn’t know any English when they came to the U.S., or modern technology, I think they are doing great in resettling,” said Angel Berry, case manager with Bridge Refugee Services.


The refugees have had to learn how to use things most of them never had seen before such as a television, a stove and a refrigerator. Ms. Berry said finding employment for the refugees has been the biggest challenge so far, “but it seems to be getting better.”

The resettlement agency mentioned here, Bridge Refugee Services is a subcontractor of Church World Service and is the same agency that joined the ACLU and CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) in a lawsuit against the Federal govt. over the Patriot Act.

Church World Service administers an agency in Africa with funding from the US State Dept.; it’s called the Joint Voluntary Agency and its  job is to find refugees to bring to America.

Tennessee has been the resettlement site of 21,135 refugees between 1983 and 2005 according to the 2005 ORR Annual report to Congress.  When you go to this Appendix note that through 2005 we hadn’t admitted any Burundians, so this is a new group of Africans coming to a town near you.