Connecticut, another state where Iraqis are having a tough time

This is an article from Connecticut.   Although the Iraqi refugee who is the subject of this piece seems to be making out o.k. (he has a job!), it sounds like the reporter is dancing around reporting on problems with other Iraqis.

“Watching and imitating is for animals. We are people of ideas and thoughts.”

Those are the words of Mr. Hussain [referring to his young son in school]-his first name and place of residence cannot be used for security reasons-a refugee from Iraq whose family relocated to Connecticut with the help of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, or IRIS, in New Haven and contributions from Cornwall residents.

Some refugees must be struggling to find work just as we reported recently in nine* other states.

According to Mr. George (Director of IRIS), employment is another stumbling block. Language dictates the kind of work refugees can secure, as well as the fact that their job history no longer matters. The résumés, no matter how impressive in their home countries, do not translate. Many families from professional backgrounds find they are suddenly fighting to get manual labor jobs or housekeeping work, a jarring and a significant part of the adjustment process. Mr. George cited an example of an oncologist who ran his own clinic in Iraq but in America worked in the meat department at Stew Leonard’s.

Now this part makes no sense. 

IRIS receives a paltry $50 for each refugee from the government which must be spent on food, clothing or rent. While Mr. George said the status of government funding pulls in more private donations, the organization relies heavily on volunteers, in kind donations and contributions from people like those in Cornwall.

Either someone is lying or the reporter misunderstood.  The volags (non-profits like IRIS) receive $850 per head for each refugee initially from the US State Department and the volag keeps half of that for their overhead and the remainder is used for each family to get them settled.   Then 30 days later other funds begin flowing to the family through the Federal Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

But, we are happy to hear that private funds and needed items are being solicited, because that’s how we think most of this program should be run—through private charity not taxpayer handouts.   Believe it or not, under existing law,  those “inkind contributions” that are being collected are matched with cold hard cash from the taxpayer.

* Lets see so far we have unhappy jobless Iraqis in Arizona, Maryland, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Idaho, and now Connecticut makes ten.

See our Iraqi refugee category here (with 270 posts to date).

Spread the love

Leave a Reply