Jen: Assimilation is out and integration is in

The blogger’s name is Jen and she posts from Fargo, ND.   It’s pretty clear from a quick tour of her blog, Notes from the North Country, that she is a liberal political activist and refugee resettlement supporter.   Go and check out this post entitled “Integration” for a look at her views on refugee resettlement.   I found some of her comments enlightening.  First she tells us that “assimilation” is officially out.   She and the Pittsburgh student we wrote about here are reading from the same refugee lingo book.

Assimilation is no longer an official goal (that was more when we were a melting pot); the latest buzz word in refugee resettlement is “integration.” The number one goal of refugee resettlement is “early economic self-sufficiency.” Put another way, welcome to America! Get a job. Now. Seriously. Right now. And lest you think refugees get special favors, not only do they pay taxes from the get go, they also arrive in the U.S. with a debt: they must repay the U.S. for their air travel here, an interest-free loan.

Well, not exactly on that loan bit,  many don’t ever repay it and the State Department carries hundreds of millions of unpaid debt that they periodically just write-off to make the books look good.

Then she confirms that in the early days, the 1980s, refugees were resettled by individual churches.  Today it involves an assortment of taxpayer funded agencies and actors.    Does she wish it was done in the old way?  It almost sounds like it.

Even in the 1980s, most refugees in the Fargo region (most were Vietnamese) were sponsored by churches. Now there are multiple agencies, committees, and partnerships to serve the needs of refugees and to integrate them into their new society.

Here Jen gives us another look inside the mind of a refugee advocate and it comes back to our theme of recent days—gratitude and whether we (America) owe something to the world.    The Obama/preacher brouhaha has brought this to the forefront in many minds.   The best way to turn off people with whom one wishes to “integrate” is to act as if ones misfortune is all America’s fault, to insist that one is owed something and thus appear ungrateful.   In this passage Jen admits refugees are complaining.   What are they complaining about, the weather, or are the resettlement agencies falling down on the job? 

Some locals in Fargo respond to complaints by saying if newcomers aren’t grateful, then they should go back to their home countries. In most cases, the conflicts in those countries had something to do with wheelings and dealings of the U.S.

Yup, and thus we owe them.

Liberians in Ghana protest against the UN

This story is a bit confusing.  I’ve read several versions of the same story in the refugee resettlement news for the last couple of days and this one is the clearest.   It seems that the UN’s chickens have come home to roost.    The UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) is attempting to repatriate Liberians from camps they have lived in in countries such as Ghana for as long as 20 years.  

These are just poor people who have been housed and fed for, in some cases, most of their lives.   They don’t face violence if they go home, just poverty, so some 600 women staged a demonstration recently and have been removed from the camp.

ACCRA, Ghana (AFP) – “Ghana is not nice.” That is how Tina Johnson, a 22-year-old Liberian refugee, describes the country that has been her home for around 15 years. “I want to go to Norway or Canada,” she says.


Like Tina, hundreds of other refugees in Ghana want to be resettled anywhere but Liberia.


Dissatisfied with plans by the United Nations refugee agency to repatriate them, they recently staged daily demonstrations outside the gates of the main Buduburam Refugee Camp, about 30 minutes’ drive from Ghana’s capital Accra.


Police intervened Tuesday because of what Nana Obiri Boahene, a minister of state at the interior ministry, described as “anarchic conditions”.


Under the UN plans, they will be given 100 dollars (65 euros) and sent back to war-torn Liberia to start life all over again. The refugees are demanding 1,000 dollars and resettlement in a third country.


“I am not very well educated, when I go to Liberia how will I live?” she asks. “In Norway or Canada, at least I will get a chance.

Wouldn’t you think that as long as the UN is taking care of these people, it might at least teach them a useable trade. 

As long as the UN keeps running these warehousing-type camps and holding out hope that the excess human population will be moved to the West or Australia or New Zealand, there is no incentive for Africa to solve its own problems.