For our local readers from Frederick, MD where Burmese refugees have begun to arrive, please read about the issues facing Ft. Wayne, IN which has the largest Burmese population in the country.
More than 100 people, many already serving new residents from other countries, packed a room at the City-County Building to discuss how to help 800 or more Burmese refugees who will resettle this year in Fort Wayne through Catholic Charities, which operates the region’s U.S. State Department-sanctioned resettlement program.
Last year 613 Burmese refugees resettled here, spurring a call to action to identify which agency is doing what, where gaps exist in services, and where and how to seek funding.
Much of the discussion at this public meeting revolved around how to find jobs, teach English and provide services such as translation services to the hundreds more refugees expected this year. You should know that the cost for translating anything important for refugees falls on the agency responsible. Local Health Departments, Fire Departments, even the local court are all required by Federal law to provide translators. A refugee gets a traffic violation that sends him or her to court and the county pays for an interpreter.
Here is a post I did way back in July 2007 about the cost to Montgomery Co. of translators to the court system there. A Liberian refugee charged with raping a little girl was let off because an appropriate interpreter was not found within a reasonable time period.
Much to my surprise this new article from Ft. Wayne does not discuss the cost to the Allen County Health Department, an issue plaguing the Ft. Wayne area for the last year. See our many previous posts on Ft. Wayne here.
If the citizens of Frederick wish to welcome refugees and asylees, then knowing in advance what to expect and what responsibilities will be placed on the community is the only sensible approach.
NOTE: I am so bad, I don’t even have Maryland in our “your state” page at the top of RRW. I’ll work on that today.