Why resentment against refugees?

This tiny little mention in a blog today reminded me to once again try to explain why there is on-going resentment toward refugees in local communities.  We saw it in our county last year and we have written about it on many occasions at RRW.

Here is the notice that inspired this post: 

Cars for Refugees

LiNK is seeking cars to be used by North Korean refugees resettled here in the US. If you are able to donate and would like more information, please email info (at) linkglobal.org with the subject headline “Cars for Refugees.”

All contributions are, of course, tax-deductible!

By the way, we have guietly started taking North Korean refugees.  Up until 2005 the ORR database shows no refugees from North Korea, but 2006 and 2007 indicate we are now taking a handfull.    But, I guess its enough to encourage some NGO to solicit cars for them.

Refugees enter the US with all sorts of goodies including air fare (technically they are supposed to return this loan money, but many don’t), a housing stipend, medical care, food stamps and the list goes on.   Also, the volags (voluntary agencies contracted to resettle refugees) can participate in a special government program (Match Grant) that returns cash to the volags for junk they collect—including used cars. 

I don’t know if this particular organization (with this advertisement) is getting taxpayer cash for cars, but they are seeking donations of cars for this particular group of refugees.

So, it’s no wonder that Americans living with not much, such as those we mentioned recently in Roanoke, VA or the Quad-cities area of IL,  get resentful.   And, no matter where the refugees are resettled stories abound that refugees get special treatment and it makes for very bad relations in communities where citizens ask, “What about our own poor people?”

See this early post on refugees getting cars and then go read this 2003 VDARE article by Thomas Allen that explains in more depth how (it’s no rumor), that goodies (and cars) flow to refugees.

Bangladesh: Rohingya can go home to Burma, but refuse

In the wake of a visit to Bangladesh last week by UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, according to this report a stalemate seems to have been broken about the repatriation of the final 27,000 Muslim Rohingyas back to their homeland in Burma (Myanmar).   However, they say they will go only when democracy is established in Burma.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, the chief editor of a Burmese news agency based in Bangladesh said that Bangladeshi authorities are asking the refugees—who are almost entirely ethnic Rohingya from Arakan State in western Burma—to return home voluntarily. However, he said, the majority would refuse due to fears of reprisals from the Burmese military regime and the worsening economic crisis in the country.

The Bangladeshi government agreed to a proposal on Monday by UNHCR to reactivate a 1992 tripartite agreement to repatriate the remaining 27,000 Burmese Rohingya refugees to their homeland, said UNHCR Commissioner António Guterres on Wednesday.

Guterres said the intention of re-establishing a trilateral mechanism involving Bangladesh, the UNHCR and Burma was “to create the conditions for voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in safety and dignity.” 

Here is what doesn’t make sense.  If 237,000 have voluntarily returned to Burma, then what is the hold up for the final 27,000.   Only a few things seem logical.  They could be troublemakers who fear to return, or they could be enjoying the care and attention they get from the UN and humanitarian groups while begging to be resettled in the West.

Around 258,000 ethnic Rohingya people from Arakan State fled to Bangladesh in 1991, following a campaign of human rights abuses by the Burmese junta. They were registered as refugees by the government of Bangladesh, but without any proper legal status.

By 2006, around 237,000 refugees had returned to Burma. Most of the remaining refugees live in two camps in Nayapara and Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar, where they receive assistance from the UNHCR and World Food Programme.

See our category “Rohingya Reports” for our archive on the Rohingya efforts to be resettled in first world countries.

P.S. Based on his efforts here, I like Guterres for trying to solve this problem without automatically whisking more Muslim refugees to the US and the West.

How many refugees and from what countries…

And, to which states were they resettled.    I just realized we don’t have all these databases in one handy place.   Here are links to the Office of Refugee Resettlement data bases for refugees resettled in the US.

First, for a very handy chart for 1983-2005, go here.  [Update:  January 2013, link no longer available]

Then for individual years from 2001 to 2008, go here.