“System breakdown” in Fort Wayne, IN: too many refugees

I can’t say I’m surprised.   The lid is finally blowing off the Ft. Wayne refugee resettlement program, so who didn’t see this coming?    We started reporting to you last September (Ft. Wayne freaking out) that Ft. Wayne was completely overloaded with refugees.  But, apparently some officials like the head of the Family and Social Services Administration now claim they are surprised.

“The people at Catholic Charities didn’t alert me to the fact there (were) going to be this many (refugees). I’m not a clairvoyant,” he said. “Very honestly, we used to get a couple of dozen (refugees) and now we’re getting hundreds.”

What the heck?  We live in Maryland and we knew you were getting swamped.  At an estimated 4000-5000, Ft. Wayne has the largest Burmese population of any city in the US.  More come each year as existing families sponsor more relatives.  Family reunification is the largest segment of legal immigration to the US.

Read the article today at the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel where everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else as hundreds of Burmese arrive and are going hungry.

Who’s in charge here? That’s the question newly arrived Burmese refugees, their advocates and agencies are asking.

Refugees want to know where are their services:

They’re waiting months to receive state- and federally funded benefits that formerly took two weeks, on average, to get. Non-refugees applying for government assistance face the same problems, but people seeking political, social or religious asylum — like the estimated 800 from Burma coming to Fort Wayne this year — arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Refugees are given up to eight months of Medicaid benefits, food stamps and cash assistance. Some have blamed the slowdown on the modernization of the state’s welfare system, though a top state official professed to be unaware Fort Wayne was getting a large influx of refugees.

“What are they to do if they have no cash, no Medicaid, no food stamps?” [Indeed!]

How about if Catholic Charites gets on the horn and starts to find private help and funding.  Afterall, private citizens in Waterbury, CT are taking care of their Burmese when the volag let them down.  Catholic Charities also has a contract with the State Department to supply basic needs for the refugees when they arrive—including furniture, clothes and transportation to medical care.   And, how about if the State Department begins to take charge of these out-of-control volags who are willy-nilly bringing refugees to cities that have clearly reached their capacity.

Here is what one commenter named Rex had to say about this news:

I am sick and tired the Burmese sad story! The idiots that brought all the refugees here should have thought it through before dumping 1000 uneducated, non english speaking, diesease ridden people, with no clue about this society onto the laps of Fort Wayne residents. What the hell did you think was going to happen? Then you have audacity to bitch and moan when FREE services just aren’t fast enough. Maybe it is taking a long time because they are not LEGAL U.S. resident’s. Foot the bill yourselves you flipping morons!

Earth to US State Department:  your program is in trouble here!

For more information, just type “Ft. Wayne” into our search function and you will get pages of posts we’ve done on that city (be sure to check out the Bosnians with AK-47’s and the TB stories too).

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