It is the same story throughout the US. As the fiscal year winds down, the State Department is in a rush to get as many refugees into the US by September 30th as they can. The problems in Syracuse, with the large number of Bhutanese refugee arrivals, are symptomatic of what is wrong with refugee resettlement and demonstrates why the system is, in my opinion, rotten and needs to be overhauled.
The volags, like Catholic Charities are paid by the head by the taxpayers of the United States to resettle refugees. But, it is supposed to be a public/private partnership and they are supposed to put in their own time and money. They obviously don’t do enough.
I have contended all along that each family arriving in America must have its own sponsor—a group, a church, whatever—to take care of helping the family assimilate and survive for as long as it takes. This individual sponsor would be responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing, transportation, help with paperwork and assistance in finding a job. If we are going to bring refugees we should care for them properly and help them become good American citizens. See the post I just wrote a few minutes ago about similar problems with Iraqis going to Arizona.
Situations like this are completely irresponsible:
Because of the rush of refugees, it’s taking 60 to 90 days to get people in for medical checkups and sign them up for health care and public assistance. Normally, that takes 30 days. Because of the delays, Catholic Charities has had to rely more on donations to buy people food and medicine for new refugees [this should be their job, not the taxpayers anyway!], Hargrave [director of Catholic Charities refugee program in Syracuse] said.
Local agencies say the bubble of refugees is caused by the federal government’s attempt to resettle refugees before the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Officials said they wouldn’t be scrambling if the refugees were spread out throughout the year.
“We’re having trouble working with that many people,” Hargrave said. “The Department of Social Services is having a great deal of problems getting people through Medicaid, food stamps and public assistance. We can’t manage to get them through the system.”
Those Bhutanese not getting medical check-ups immediately pose a health risk to the community because refugees with both HIV and TB can enter the US, and children need to be immunized in order to go to school.
And, on top of not being able to get the new refugees on welfare fast enough, there are virtually no jobs:
Jasenko Mondom, a job developer at the Refugee Family Program, said the biggest challenge is finding jobs for new refugees. Local companies that typically hire refugees for entry-level jobs have either shut down or moved those jobs overseas.
It’s taking longer to find people jobs, he said. Typically, Mondom said, local companies hired two or three people a week. Now, he’s lucky if he can get one person hired a week.
The US has agreed to take 60,000 Bhutanese, presently living in camps in Nepal, over the next several years. We have written on many occasions about their situation and their arrival in the US, go here to see those posts and learn more.