Shame on Catholic Charities and the US State Department! A 51-year-old Eritrean refugee, father of 10, was killed trying to walk home from his job as a dishwasher in Dallas, TX. He missed the last bus and attempted to walk 9 miles to get home where his wife waited with a 3 month old baby. Read about his death on the highway in the first half of the article here. Hat tip: Chris.
Then this is what makes my blood boil:
Family members said Catholic Charities helped get Mr. Bilay the dishwasher job and conducted a cultural-orientation session.
But they said the orientation session was conducted in the Tigrinya language, unintelligible to someone who speaks only Kunama.
“I asked the family if they had a meeting with Catholic Charities, and they said they did, but they didn’t understand what they said,” said Stefano Dago, Mr. Bilay’s cousin, who lives in Minneapolis.
Residents of the Shimelba camp were given orientations before their departure, but a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, the intergovernmental group that conducted the sessions, could not be reached for comment.
Todd Pierce, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration – which oversees the resettlement program that brought the Bilay family to Dallas – said that while resettlement in a strange country is difficult in the best of circumstances, he was unaware of a situation in which a family had been as isolated as the Bilay family.
Mr. Pierce said he was unaware what the immigrants were taught.
“But obviously no orientation course could possibly prepare a family from rural Eritrea for a life in a big American city,” he said.
To Mr. Bilay, a man who was virtually illiterate in his native language, Dallas was a bewildering place, family members said.
“He didn’t know how to live in a city. At first he didn’t know how to ride in a car,” said Mr. Kallafo. “People at home ask me if they should come here. I tell them that America is a very hard country to live in.”
We have written about this lack of cultural orientation here. Life in America is tough and without proper training refugees have a difficult time. This time it cost a man his life.
I don’t get it. With all the Catholic churches in rural America, some church couldn’t have taken care of the family and found farm work for this man? Don’t we hear every day that we need Mexican illegals to do our farm work, what about this family? And, it’s not as if they even resettled him in a community with his own people.
Rural town/supportive church, is that combination so hard to find for all you do-gooders? It seems to me that too many volags just collect their government payment and throw the refugees out to fend for themselves?
We hear it all the time.
Note: I’m posting this in our “crimes” and “reforms needed” categories for obvious reasons.