St. Louis schools coping with refugee students

For regular readers of Refugee Resettlement Watch there is nothing new in this story about how St. Louis, MO schools handle large numbers of students speaking 25 different languages and having very different cultural practices.  Bosnian Muslims make up a large part of that group.  But, it occurred to me as a I read the article in the South County Times that some of this might be of interest to new readers.

The immigrant and refugee make-up of the metropolitan St. Louis area has exploded seemingly overnight, increasing by over 65 percent since 1990. In the trenches integrating these different cultures are the faculty, staff and administrators at St. Louis County schools.

Federal grants help reduce some of the burden but doesn’t come close to covering the cost to communities with large numbers of refugee children.   This school district has 710 students who do not speak English as their primary language.

St. Louis has been a magnet for Bosnian (mostly Muslim) refugees since the Clinton Administration allowed over 100,000 to come here during the 1990’s.

The Bayless School District, because of its location, became an integral part of the Bosnian refugee resettlement in St. Louis during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

Bosnians have made St. Louis their destination city just as Somalis have headed to Minneapolis in large numbers.  Earlier this year we told you about a story at ‘Gateway Pundit’ about the huge Bosnian prayer tower under construction there.

Come to think of it, we have had some not very flattering stories about Bosnian refugees here, here, and here.    And, I do believe some of the Ft. Dix plotters found guilty just today in NJ of planning to kill soldiers at the base are also Bosnians.

Russians: Stop Muslim immigration

Update Dec. 23rd:   Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna has an indepth analysis and lots of interesting comments on this story here.


It is happening throughout Europe and even in Russia.  Not only is the economy sliding with immigrants and natives of many countries squabbling over fewer jobs, but fear of radical Islamic activity is driving anti-Muslim immigration sentiment.

From the Georgian Daily:

Vienna, December 20 – A call by a Duma member to restrict immigration in order to “fight radical Islam” and a suggestion by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov that Russian citizens should get the jobs many guest workers now fill appear certain to spark a new wave of inter-ethnic violence in the Russian Federation.

Until recently anti-immigrant statements generally emanated from xenophobic groups like the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) or famously outspoken politicians like Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, but in recent weeks, these statements have entered the mainstream as a result of worsening economic conditions.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that he favored cutting immigration quotas in half in 2009, a statement that many in and around DPNI welcomed as a victory for their views and one that appears to have triggered new violence by Russian extremists against people from Central Asia and the Caucasus.


In his interview, Bagdasarov (Member of the Duma) said that Moscow must adopt new laws to limit the influx of radical Islamist terrorists from Central Asia and the Caucasus who threaten to bring “the global jihad” into the Russian Federation and result in terrorist acts against the Russian people and the Russian state.

I guess Russia is one step ahead of us here, they are at least talking about restricting Muslim immigration.

Refugees fear eviction as economy sinks

So what else is new, refugees arriving in America can’t find work and some, after only 3 months, will have no taxpayer- funded apartment.   Hey, here is a thought, these government contractors, like World Relief, can just get in line with the auto industry and be bailed out with money we are printing.

I don’t mean to be so cynical, but it really ticks me off.   It was only a matter of time before this scheme of government-funded non-profits resettling refugees in a sort of free-for-all competition for bodies would run into trouble.    Increasingly dependent on their government contracts, these volags (supposedly voluntary agencies) have no extensive private charity networks which should have been developed over the last 20 years.

We saw that in Hagerstown, MD in 2007, government contracted church group swoops in with a couple hundred refugees and only 3 churches and a mosque willing to volunteer, and some of those quit because it was too much work for a few.

This program should have been set up mostly around private charity—one refugee family/one sponsor.   Instead it’s a multimillion dollar government program where the heads of some of these volags make 6-figure salaries funded by the taxpayer. 

Thank Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter in 1980 for this brilliant idea.

Here is the story that set me off:

While the economic downturn has affected nearly all Americans adversely, new refugees in the United States have been hit particularly hard by the financial turmoil and many are facing possible eviction on Jan. 1. [January 1st because for some unexplained reason we bring hordes of refugees into the US in September as the fiscal year winds down, and their 3 months of subsidized housing ends then.]

These newcomers to America, including those fleeing persecution in Iraq and Myanmar, are often times some of the first to be laid off because they are new employees, explained Larry Jones, director of the World Relief office in Idaho. Other refugees have had their hours reduced, which can be devastating when they earn just $6.15 an hour.

For those who lose their jobs, they face the additional obstacle of finding a new job, which is difficult because of their limited English and job skills on top of a shrinking job market.

“I’ve been working in the refugee community for 20 years and I’ve never seen a time like this,” said Elaine Carson, director of one of World Relief’s resettlement offices in Florida, in a report. “I fear January 1st…it is scary.”

World Relief, an evangelical humanitarian and development ministry with a long history of resettling refugees in America, warns that many of the newcomers will be unable to pay their rent come January.

“We are experiencing this in all our offices across the country as the number of jobs shrinks,” said WR president Sammy Mah. “As we talk to other resettlement organizations, their experience is the same – there simply aren’t enough jobs in the current economic climate.”

I suggest it’s time for Sammy Mah and other top dogs in the refugee industry to take pay cuts to pay these poor people’s rent.

To top it off, we have Refugees International asking Obama for over 100,000 Iraqi refugees for fiscal year 2009.   We can’t support the 13,000 we brought in 2008!

For more pathetic stories of refugees jobless and freaking out about being evicted, go to our Iraqi refugee category where I’ve posted most of these stories.  Two days ago the Wall Street Journal published a story about immigrants now being pushed out of jobs by Americans looking for work.