There was a little noontime luncheon meeting in Greeley, CO a few days ago to tell citizens of Greeley what the state of the refugee resettlement program is in that city in the wake of recent firings of Somali refugees at the Swift meatpacking plant. Only 25 people came to listen. I am amazed at the low number and can only guess it was not widely publicized.
Here are some of the bits of information the attendees received:
Somali refugees are still arriving in Greeley although jobs are scarce.
Somali refugees continue to flow into Greeley, but the rate has slowed in recent months, a refugee caseworker told an audience Wednesday at Aims Community College.
While Somali and other east African refugees were arriving at a rate of 15 to 20 a week earlier this year — most taking jobs on the second shift at JBS Swift & Co. — arrivals have dropped to about eight to 10 a week, said Ibraham Mohamed, the caseworker [employed by Lutheran Family Services].
The decline comes in the wake of about 120 Muslim workers, mostly Somali, being fired at JBS Swift in September. The firings came after workers claimed that the company reneged on a compromise to allow them a short break around sunset to accommodate prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. JBS Swift officials said they tried to accommodate the workers’ religious practices, and that the firings were the result of an unauthorized work stoppage that involved about 300 Muslim workers walking off the job.
About half the fired workers remain in Greeley looking for other jobs that don’t require strong English skills.
A large number of Somalis have moved on to ‘welcoming’ Ft. Morgan:
James Horan, division director of Denver-based Lutheran Family Services Refugee and Asylee Programs and the featured speaker at Aims, said about 500 Somali refugees are in Greeley, up about 100 from earlier in the year. Meanwhile, about 300 have moved to Fort Morgan, home to a Cargill meatpacking plant.
Horan says the Muslim community could get larger, implying it is totally out of your (citizens of Greeley) control:
The recent labor dispute at JBS Swift aside, most refugees like what they’ve found in Greeley, according to Horan. He said there’s no way to predict how large the refugee population in Greeley will become.
Then Horan presents the arrival of refugees as a fait accompli. Although it is the first time you might be noticing it (refugee arrivals). No sense fighting it, it is happening everywhere! As if settlement of third world refugees in small towns and cities in America is like an unpredictable new virus and all you can do is take some tylenol and get used to it.
“What you’re experiencing in Greeley is not entirely unique,” he said. “It’s probably unique to you and your community, but it’s a trend that’s happening to a lot of small- and medium-sized communities in the country.”
They want you to think this, but know, citizens of Greeley, you can speak up. Other citizens in other cities have told the US State Department and the volags (and the meatpackers) to buzz-off and find some other place to resettle refugees.
My usual reforms-needed rant: Every resettlement city chosen by the volags and the State Department should have an opportunity to learn all the facts about refugee resettlement in ADVANCE of refugees being resettled. Then citizens must be given an opportunity to express their opinions and decide if they want refugees or not and HOW MANY!
To ambitious readers we have 57 posts in our category on Greeley and Grand Island here.