I guess the message is finally creeping up the mainstream media ladder—news that jobs are getting impossible to find for tens of thousands of refugees the State Department brings into the US each year with the help of non-profit government contractors. Here is yet another story about mostly Iraqis not finding work. Regular readers may be getting bored with my almost daily posts on the subject, but it’s a topic that has to be discussed over and over again. So far, we have identified 14 states where Iraqis are complaining about not finding work.
US News [with my two-cents worth thrown in]:
Little hard data are available on current employment rates of Iraqi refugees. But at a recent meeting, says Robert Carey, the International Rescue Committee’s vice president of resettlement and migration policy, offices cited a 50 percent drop in their job placements. [BTW, Carey makes a six figure salary mostly funded by the taxpayer].
“That was a fairly common story,” he says. “In my 27 years in this work, I’ve never seen anything that rivals this in terms of its really immediate effect on finding jobs.” [Yesterday’s story had a volag employee saying, “In my 20 years…”]
Even in past economic downturns, entry-level jobs were available to refugees. But those have never been ideal for Iraqis, who tend to be better educated than other arrivals, which means that they compete with Americans for higher-level jobs than do their refugee counterparts. [A lot of higher level Americans are out of work too!]
“You have people who have college educations—who have been working their way up corporate ladders—and suddenly are doing menial labor,” says Debbie Decker, community resource developer at Los Angeles’s Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service. [I guess menial labor is better than being dead, if indeed it is that dangerous in Iraq]
Then, of course, there’s the issue of simple competition—which is worsening as the recession deepens. [no kidding]
Even in cities like Lancaster, Pa., which haven’t been as badly hit by the recession as other places, it’s difficult to find highly skilled Iraqi refugees jobs in their lines of work. Two thirds of the Iraqi refugees served by the city’s Church World Service office are professionals, says director Sheila McGeehan. But none of them have found employment in their own fields.
[Church World Service is one of the top ten government contractors and its subcontractor Virginia Council of Churches is the agency that was resettling refugees in the county in which I live without setting up in advance an extensive volunteer network of churches and others that might serve as the safety net for refugees as the economy went sour. Thank God they didn’t bring more to our county having closed their offices here a year ago.]
That discourages the refugees, advocates say, but it also wastes an enormous pool of talent. The United States is getting, free of charge, people the Iraqi government spent thousands of dollars to educate and train, they say. [Yes, that pool of talent should have been cared for in the Middle East so they would be ready to return and help re-build Iraq. What good is it doing anyone if a highly trained person is competing for a hotel cleaning job in the US ? What about the unfortunate person they are competing against?]
“These people are an enormous asset, but they’re only an asset if we allow them to be one, tap into their skills, allow them to develop,” Carey says. [They should have thought of that before all the do-gooder volags began a media campaign to bring more Iraqis to the US.]
A media and lobbying campaign continues spearheaded by Refugees International president, Ken Bacon, to bring even more Iraqis to the US in this fiscal year—he and others are lobbying President-elect Obama to allow over 100,000 Iraqi refugees to come to the US in one year! In FY 2008 we brought 13,000 and can’t find them employment, what are we going to do for 100,000.
It strikes me that there are two choices. Either begin to slow numbers of refugees to the US while the economy is so bad or do what I bet they are already planning—-figure out how to extend welfare benefits to refugees beyond what the present law allows. With the on-going bailout mentality and the government money printing presses running overtime, I bet they push for the latter.
One final comment from the US News article:
“In Jordan, they told us another thing: that you will be very welcome, you are a victim of the world, and we will start to put a new life for you; you will find a job as a doctor,” he says.
This is not the first time we reported on this comment, that Iraqis were led to believe everything was fabulous in the US. I don’t understand how this happened. Were the overseas processing people flat out lying? If so, why would they lie? Were they just trying to show Iraqis that afterall we are good people (not like those bad Bush people that attacked their country)? Was it just a do-gooder mentality running amok?
Among our hundreds of posts (284 to be exact) on Iraqi refugees we had noted from time to time that not enough Iraqis were even signing up to come to the US, while the anti-Bush forces wanted so badly to show how awful Iraq had become thanks to the US even as the country was improving with the surge. So, were those people (like Refugees International) pushing for more Iraqi refugees as a political ploy—lots of refugees would mean Bush was failing?
Or, was the push for more Iraqi refugees (and lying to them about conditions in the US) just a method to get more refugees into the US so the volags could get their government grants to keep offices open and salaries to staff flowing?
I don’t know the answer, does anyone?