It was just a matter of time before this “welcoming” city of Ft. Wayne, Indiana began saying “whoa” to more refugees. I have to say I’m amazed it took them so long in light of the huge number of refugees they have been receiving and in light of the explosive reaction some other cities, like Emporia, KS, have had in recent months. Here are some quotes from a column today in the News-Sentinel:
Predictably,the woman who called Wednesday afternoon didn’t want to identify herself. But she’ll speak for a growing number of Fort Wayne residents if the federal government doesn’t address the refugee crisis it has created here.
“This is nonsensical, and I’m not the only one who’s (angry),” she said, her blood clearly boiled by a story in Tuesday’s News-Sentinel about how local social-service groups fear being inundated by another 1,000 Burmese refugees in 2008 on top of the 700 who were resettled in Fort Wayne this year. “This isn’t why people donate to the United Way or Catholic Charities. How many can we absorb? Citizens should have a say, but we’re turning into a socialist place.”
If you are dismissing that as the ravings of some crazy woman, then see what their Congressman has to say:
……U.S. Rep. Mark Souder fears Fort Wayne’s capacity for charity is at risk of being overwhelmed by the fear of rapid change and the desire for self-preservation.
“Fort Wayne is one of America’s most welcoming communities. But there will be a backlash (against refugees) if Washington won’t help us. The tension over illegal immigration is spilling over, and it will get deeper.”
The column ends with this comment, one we have seen echoed around the country by people brave enough to not fear being labeled a racist, xenophobic, hate monger.
America must not turn its back on refugees, who are in this country legally and, as such, deserve appropriate services. But the people of Fort Wayne have legitimate claims, too – including the expectation their institutions will not be overwhelmed by a crisis they do not want, did not create and cannot control.
See our post here yesterday about the influx expected in 2008. I noticed that the column I write about above has a forum for comments. Some of you talkative folks from Emporia might want to say a word or two about your situation to the good people of Ft. Wayne, maybe prime the pump so to speak and get people debating. It always helps to know you aren’t alone.