Educating Somalis in Louisville, KY with Federal grant

Your tax dollars:

There is nothing new about this story, a non-profit religious organization got a $200,000 federal grant to educate a specific group of refugees (what no Burmese welcome here? Special treatment for Somalis?).  After reading the following lines, I wonder what sort of return we get for our money.

 He [Hassan Muya a Somali immigrant who runs the program] said about 10 have been placed in jobs since the program started, and “they’re all doing good.”

About 40 Bantu have been taking part in the program, Muya said. He estimated there are about 1,600 Bantu living in Louisville.

The program is funded by a $200,000 grant to Catholic Charities from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The article doesn’t say for how long the grant money will last, but it doesn’t look to me that in 5 months we have gotten much for our buck—10 people employed, at what sort of work?   I wonder if Catholic Charities needs to account in the end for its accomplishments.   And, I always wonder if there is such an American citizen labor shortage  to warrant taxpayer spending to train foreign workers.

We’ve written on several occasions about Louisville.  I especially recommend the post I titled: “Is big business driving immigration?”  This is the one about a Wall Street Journal article that discusses how great all this cheap labor is for Louisville and where a city official refers to the first generation of Somali Bantu as the “sacrificial generation”. 

Burmese Karen refugees in Colorado caught in battle over immigrant labor

This is another story you need to read in its entirety to maybe (maybe!) figure out.   The Karen need jobs and things aren’t going so well for them in Denver, growers need workers and yet somehow this can’t be worked out. 

Help Wanted: San Luis Valley crop growers and shippers desperately seek workers and are willing to recruit Myanmar refugees in Denver eager for jobs and a return to agrarian roots.

It sounds as if it could be a neat solution to two problems. Instead, it has created a backlash.

The mayor of a town in the valley has misgivings. The director of the health care system there has them, too. And the head of the immigrant resource center in Alamosa doesn’t think it is a good idea.

“We don’t want to go where there is a problem, where they don’t want us,” said Rocky Martin, leader of a Denver community of about 325 Karen, an ethnic minority displaced by Myanmar’s military junta.

The story of the Karen and the San Luis Valley underscores the gap between an immigration policy that discourages the use of migrant workers and an agricultural economy that makes it nearly impossible to use anyone else.

It almost sounds like the growers are agitating to get their migrant (illegals?) back.

Sorting out the Bhutanese refugee situation, kind of

Last year, then Asst. Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey traveled to camps in Nepal and announced that the US government had agreed to take 60,000 ethnic Nepalese who had been pushed out of Bhutan.   Here is an article from the Observer that seeks to explain the latest news from the region:

The small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is hailed as the last Shangri-la in a region plagued by conflict and poverty. Attracted by its policy of Gross National Happiness, Western media have held up the country’s apparently peaceful transition to democracy as a model of wise governance by a Buddhist regime protecting its culture from the ravages of consumerism.

But behind its facade of otherworldly charm, Bhutan holds a secret. Twenty years ago, its monarchy, threatened by an increase in Bhutan’s ethnic Nepalese population, hit on a simple solution: ethnic cleansing. Families who had been living in Bhutan for generations were stripped of their citizenship. One hundred thousand Hindu Bhutanese – around one sixth of the country’s entire population – were driven into exile and their land redistributed among the Drukpas, Bhutan’s Buddhist elite.

I suppose one way to look at this is to ask if the Nepalese had been illegal immigrants to Bhutan in the first place (although the article claims they were citizens), settled in,  and when the government of Bhutan tried to send the ethnic Nepalese back to Nepal they are accused of ethnic cleansing.   Wonder if that charge will soon be leveled at the US government if illegal aliens are urged to return to their own country.   Just wondering, don’t throw eggs!

Enter the Maoists (Communists): 

Now a combination of divisions among the refugees, renewed tension inside Bhutan and the surprise election victory by Maoists in Nepal, is threatening a plan that finally gives hope to 107,000 refugees who have been languishing in camps in eastern Nepal for the last 17 years. Tens of thousands of unregistered refugees are living stateless and in abject poverty in Nepal and India.

Read it all and go back to all of our previous coverage of the situation with the Bhutanese refugees and see if you can get a firm understanding of the situation.  You can see from past posts that I sure don’t get the full picture.

Update already:   Moments after posting this I came across an article from St. Louis about the first Bhutanese family to arrive in that city.   They are Hindu and St. Louis has become home to a very large Muslim population primarily Bosnians.  I guess the old melting pot will need some firing up!   Note the article says 60,000 Bhutanese will come this year.  That figure must be wrong because we are expecting to take only 70,000 80,000 refugees world wide this year.