Salt Lake City, UT refugee overload?

Here is an article that appeared all over the place in the last couple of days featuring a wonderful woman who is helping refugees in Salt Lake City.   She had a troubled past, addicted to drugs and living on the street, and has now found comfort in helping refugees, mostly Africans, to learn to live in America.  Nice story, but to me the story had more to it.

First, the city is lucky to have Veronica Moses because it sounds like the Resettlement agencies are overloaded and refugees are not getting the support they need.   This is happening everywhere it seems and Moses gets it.

Moses has been sober for five years now, but she spent several years hooked on cocaine and heroin and living with other wayward young people on the streets of Salt Lake City. She stayed in Pioneer Park and seedy motels. She lived for drugs and couldn’t quit. One day, when police pulled her from a trash bin downtown, she finally did.


“I am looking at this population, and I know what can happen,” Moses says. “If they don’t have mentors, if they aren’t taught how to be independent, if they aren’t loved ….”


“In five years, we will see the crime population, the drug population, drug selling. It’s all going to rise,” she says.


A series of events last spring and summer threatened to allow scores of young refugees to fall through the cracks

The “event” involves the sale of an apartment complex where many of the Africans, mostly Somali Bantu, had been placed by the volag resettlement agency.  The Somalis were evicted. The apartment owner becomes the bad guy.

The new owner had increased monthly rents and quit accepting Section 8 housing vouchers, which helped to subsidize rents. In addition, about 40 percent of residents were supported by a federal rental assistance program that ended last summer.

We’ve heard this story before in Shelbyville, TN and Manchester, NH.   The quality of an apartment building declines dramatically when it is largely occupied by refugees who have not been properly instructed in how to assimilate to American culture.  

What I took away from this article in the Deseret Morning News was that refugees are lucky to have Veronica Moses but that there are too many refugees going to Salt Lake City and not enough people to help them assimilate, so there will be more apartment owners unwilling to rent to refugees here and elsewhere.  I blame the volags for this.

Major fire in refugee camp in Nepal, thousands homeless

A fire of unknown origin raced through the closely packed huts of a refugee camp for Bhutanese refugees.   The UN is bringing tents for temporary housing to eastern Nepal.    We’ve written about the tense political situation in these camps—tense because some camp leaders do not want these ethnic Nepali refugees, who have been booted from Bhutan, scattered to the four winds.   By scattering the people around the world the political pressure is thus removed from Bhutan to repatriate this ethnic group. 

Sounds like Bhutan is attempting to keep Bhutan for the Bhutanese, just as Pat Buchanan pointed out the other day in his article entitled “The return of ethnic Nationalism.”

One hundred thousand are in the pipeline to be resettled in the West or to Australia.   The US has promised to take 60,000 over the next few years.

Around 107,000 refugees of ethnic Nepalese origin from Bhutan have been living in UN-run camps in Nepal since the early 1990s when Bhutan’s government launched cultural reforms encouraging the use of the local language and dress.


Between 1991 and 1993 tens of thousands of Bhutanese crossed a narrow strip of India’s West Bengal state, and have been living ever since in temporary camps close to Nepal’s border with India.


The United Nations International Office of Migration has started the process of resettling tens of thousands of the refugees, with the United States offering to take 60,000 people.


Around 23,000 people have registered for resettlement, but tensions have risen in the seven UN-run camps because some want to be allowed to return to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, where many still have land and businesses.

I’m guessing the resettlement will be stepped up as a result of the fire.   Read the rest of the story here.