Calling the State Department: You have another volag screwing up

Update October 2nd:  Lutheran Social Services gets defensive.


 ….and, another Iraqi refugee family angry.    In the last 15 months, since we began writing Refugee Resettlement Watch, I have lost track of the number of stories I’ve read about the volags (supposedly voluntary agencies) that are contracted by the US State Department to resettle refugees and are not fulfilling their contracts.  

Like it or not, these agencies, many of them church groups such as this Lutheran outfit in New Hampshire are paid by you to take care of refugees for the first few months they are in the US.   They are required to supply the refugees with basic needs to set up their new homes, and over and over again they are screwing up (sorry to use that language but it infuriates me!).   If we are going to bring refugees by the tens of thousands to the US, then we better be prepared to take care of them. 

And, on top of it all, this story of refugee abuse from the Concord Monitor involves Iraqis—those very same people that every bleeding heart on the left in the US has been hollering about, “Bring more Iraqis now, you bad Bush Administration!”

Yes, bring them so they can get the things they need from a dumpster!

Rasim Mueen and Sendes Abd Zead watch the Dumpster outside their Parkview Place apartment for things they can use. The couple, both 32, have collected a stained pillow and faded blankets that they’ve washed in the bathtub and hung to dry on a cord strung across the apartment’s one bedroom. They’ve found stuffed animals for their 6-year-old son, Dear Rasim, to play with, and a shower curtain cut into a circle to serve as a tablecloth.

The Iraqi family has lived in New Hampshire for nearly a month. They came to Concord as refugees, settled here by Lutheran Social Services, a federal refugee resettlement contractor. But they feel they have had little help.

“We are human, and we come here to get a better life, not to pull the things we need from the trash,” Abd Zead, 32, said through a translator.

The Iraqi family is very unhappy and their story goes on. 

Earlier this month, Mueen and Abd Zead saw a woman at the 7-Eleven near their home wearing a headscarf like Abd Zead. They asked her if she spoke Arabic and if she could help them. The woman was Mona Ibrahim, who came to Concord as a refugee in late 2006 with her husband, Tirhaga Gobara. The Sudanese couple understood how the Iraqi family felt. They too had felt lost and, at times, abandoned, after arriving. They went weeks without food stamps and had to rely on other refugees for help, they said.

It doesn’t make Mueen feel better to know that others have been through what they are going through, or to know that other Iraqi families recently settled here are struggling along with them. The way refugees are treated is wrong, he said.

“Lutheran Social Services, they think we are not human,” Mueen said.

Mueen said the couple have seen little of Lutheran staff and, while they have food stamps, they have received no money or guidance on obtaining a job.

“Twenty-five days, they don’t have $1 in 25 days,” Gobara said, translating for Mueen. 

I’m sure many of our readers are saying, they shouldn’t get any money, our grandparents didn’t when they came.  However, Lutheran Social Services has signed a contract with the government to provide them with some cash and expenses for the first few months until they find a job or go on some other forms of welfare in this highly touted public/private partnership!

Then it turns out that these do-gooder groups are squabbling with each other.

Some groups have had a history of tense relations as they compete over grant money, volunteers’ time or dueling philosophies of how to help. Volunteers with the Concord Multicultural Project and some refugees complain about Lutheran Social Services not adequately preparing refugees for life in the United States or being unwilling to work with outside groups. However, many also say that simply pointing fingers at Lutheran, which is limited by its federal funding and specific mission, is unfair.

Well if the federal funding is limited, go out and raise money privately or stop bringing refugees.

Remember what that wise boy in Arizona said a couple of weeks ago—it’s better to have 10 satisfied Iraqi refugees then 100 angry ones.    The Concord Iraqi summed up, just as the Long Island Iraqi did the other day:

“United States is like a dream,” Abd Zead said. “We come here to get a good education, good health . . . but all of that dream is broken now.”

By the way,  where is AP reporter Matthew Lee now?   Every month like clockwork he, at the behest of his handlers in the NGO lobbyist world, yapped about how we needed to bring more Iraqis to the US, how about a little follow-up Mr. Lee?

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