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.