Plea from Refugees International to bring Iraqi Palestinians to US

We have told you in many previous posts (here is the most recent) that there are Iraqi Palestinians living in camps along the Iraq/Syria border.   They have been displaced from homes in Iraq because they were favorites of Saddam Hussein, so they became unfavorites for all those he had persecuted during his dictatorship. 

No one wants the Palestinians.  No neighboring Muslim country wants them, not even rich Saudi Arabia.   A few have been resettled in Chile, Sweden and Iceland.  Gee I wonder how that last is going over since Iceland is the first government to go under in the worldwide economic panic.

Now here comes Refugees International telling Obama we should take them!

“The Obama administration must step in and send a clear message to the world that we are interested in helping displaced people find stable homes,” said Kristele Younes, Senior Advocate with Refugees International. “The plan to send Palestinians trapped at the Iraqi-Syrian border to Sudan is outrageous. The U.S. has finally started resettlement processing for vulnerable, displaced people inside Iraq who have not had the resources to flee their country. These Palestinians are among the most vulnerable, and the U.S. should prioritize their resettlement.”

By the way, I never see Refugees International pushing for the truly persecuted Iraqi Christians.  It is always about bringing more Muslims.  You watch next week they will be hollering for Rohingyas, but I digress.

I have to admit I don’t know why on earth Sudan (itself a producer of refugees) would want to take them and why the UN has joined with the PLO to make the arrangements. But, you can be sure that Refugees International wants you to know it’s all our fault—the US’s fault.  It’s always our fault.  Always!

Failure to act on the part of the U.S. government and other resettlement countries led UNHCR to sign a tripartite agreement with the PLO and the Government of Sudan that called for the relocation of this population to a neighborhood of Khartoum.

Apparently Homeland Security has a problem with the Palestinians.  Boy I would love to know what this is all about.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established unique, discriminatory criteria to assess the vulnerability of Palestinians from Iraq for the purpose of resettlement to the U.S. Refugees International urges President Obama to insist that the criteria be the same for Iraqis and Palestinians in Iraq, and to request that the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Bureau create a special category to process the applications. Any process should be conducted without prejudice to the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland.

To summarize RI’s demands:  Obama needs to tell Homeland Security to lay off the restrictions, we then treat them specially in the application process, we bring thousands here, pay for their care, get them resettled, and then they can still demand to be returned to their homeland by joining the angry anti-Israel demonstrators in the streets of American cities.  Did you get that!

I repeat,  as in previous posts, the pressure should be on MUSLIM countries to take in the Palestinian Arabs.

For more on Iraqi refugees see our special category here.

Thousands of Iraqi refugees headed to Florida

That is the title of a story on a news source affiliated with the St. Petersburg Times.    However, since some of the other numbers in the article are wrong, I’m guessing “thousands”  of Iraqis will not be coming to Florida real soon.  I’ll get to that in a bit. 

Here is how the article begins:

MIAMI — Iraqis displaced by the ongoing U.S-led war are among new groups of refugees who will increasingly be resettled in communities throughout Florida and the country, a United Nations official said Wednesday.

The United Nations has referred more than 42,000 Iraqis to be resettled in the United States, and of those, 15,000 already have arrived — many of them religious minorities or single mothers whose husbands were killed, said Larry Yungk, senior resettlement officer with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Yungk spoke before more than 200 case workers, educators and social service providers for refugees during a conference called “Adapting to a Changing World: Promising Practices in the Acculturation Process for Refugees.” The one-day conference was being held at Florida International University.

Most of the article is about mental health problems of refugees and this outfit called the Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.

The conference was sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families Refugee Services and Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.

Gulf Coast is a Clearwater nonprofit agency with programs in 32 Florida counties, treating 50,000 clients a year, specializing in mental health, elder, employment and children’s services, in addition to refugee resettlement. Gulf Coast partners with Harvard University to provided training to mental health experts in 20 states on recovery from torture.

Gulf Coast is another of those non-profit groups that is heavily funded by the taxpayer.  In 2007 its Form 990 showed income of around $28 million with $15 million coming from various government grants.

Back to the article, here is where they got carried away with themselves, or the reporter misunderstood:

Florida resettles between 25,000 to 28,000 refugees a year — three times more than any other state. The majority are resettled in South Florida, while Tampa Bay is the second largest area for resettlement, state officials said.

There is no way on earth that Florida resettles that many refugees a year!  Maybe the reporter added an extra zero.   And, where did they get that Florida tops all other states?    Check out this data base from the Office of Refugee Resettlement for 2007.  California topped the list with 6706 refugees that year followed by Texas (4401), Minnesota (3198), New York (2979) then Florida with 2619.

We are our brothers keeper (even as unemployment sky rockets):

Gulf Coast president Michael Bernstein said a downturn in the economy could make it harder for new arrivals to be accepted.

“It’s a tough time to accept New Americans,” Bernstein said. “At the same time, we’re also a nation that understands we’re our brother’s keeper.”

Organizers noted that resettlement has gone beyond driving refugees from the airport to an apartment. [Although some NGO’s are accused of doing not much more than that!]

It’s not just about jobs or housing, which is very important, and food,” Bernstein said. “It’s also about resilience and recovery and healing from wounds that many, many thousands (experienced), have been through torture, genocide.”

Dr. Bernstein, you might want to check out this Wall Street Journal article (and the great graphic) yesterday entitled “Unemployment Rises in Every State” and note that Florida is one of the states with the fastest growth in unemployment.  If refugee resettlement isn’t now about jobs and housing, it will soon be!

Endnote:  On Iraqi refugees and jobs we have posted on 15 states where Iraqi refugees are unemployed and are complaining about it.  Here is a post on the most recent of those—Utah.

Another slam at Newsweek’s article on Lewiston

Our friend Mars sent us a blog post from a Maine writer named Jim who is ticked off at the author of the Newsweek article Ann has been commenting on (here and here). He knows the local area inside-out, and much of the article is too locally-oriented to be of great interest to those who don’t live there. But his criticisms are important, and they apply to many journalists who write about refugee matters.  Actually, they apply across the board to journalism today.

Jim titles his post “Another journalistic hatchet job on Lewiston, Maine.” He delves into the history of economic growth in Lewiston, which began quite a while back and had nothing to do with refugees. Here are the paragraphs that interest me:

If you read Ms. Ellison’s article, however, you would know none of that. [Comment: The author is Jesse Ellison. Usually Jesse is a male name; the female version is Jessie.] The arrival of Somalis in Lewiston began before the 2001 date the writer arbitrarily assigned. The influx of refugees into the community began several years before that, and it was more than one family that started the migration. Per capita income has gone up, but to use the term “soared” reveals her ignorance about the state’s ongoing economic struggles. While a few in Maine have soaring incomes, most of us struggle to stay afloat in the middle class.

There are so many other things wrong with Ellison’s article that I could easily spend several thousand words countering her inadequate 903. That an editor, at a national magazine would allot the same amount space allocated to local parking issues, and city code violations, for a complex, and multi-faceted issue like immigration, given the community’s prior history, speaks volumes about the kind of “yellow” journalism that Newsweek’s now practicing.

Jim criticizes Ellison’s lack of context for quotes, and notes that he/she should have dug deeper to find out why 50 percent of the Somali population is unemployed.

With all due respect to Richard Florida and others that think all it takes to grow your economy is to import non-English speaking refugees, and presto! You’ve got a diverse economy. There’s much more to it than that.

What Ms. Ellison has accomplished, beyond showing her lack of skills in digging below the surface as a journalist, is to again kick a hornet’s nest and run, leaving those of us who are committed to the community’s future, dealing with the potential aftermath of her piece. If Ms. Ellison had done any homework, she’d know some of the history of the community, and recognize that strong feelings still run deep in this area, as evidenced by the comments in the local newspaper, and other online forums. Her article has done nothing more, in my opinion, than to fan the flames of anti-Somali, and anti-immigrant sentiment, and give certain elements in our area (and beyond) cover to run with it.

“Certain elements” means “people who think bringing a lot of Somalis to Lewiston isn’t such a hot idea.” It has a connotation of racism and xenophobia.

I think Jim’s criticism of the Newsweek editors may be more relevant than his criticism of the reporter. We’ve learned that some reporters do delve into the stories they are writing on refugees. But when they come up with information that reflects negatively on refugees, or ethnic groups, or government policies, the editors usually either cut the story down or kill it outright. They want warm-and-cuddly copy on refugees, and that’s pretty much what Ellison gave them. Or what they cut the story to reflect. It would be interesting to know what Ellison originally wrote, or wanted to write.

The way this applies to all journalism today is that many media outlets have a pre-set agenda on just about everything. Woe to the reporter who bucks the party line. I doubt that every reporter who has written adoring copy about Barack Obama really feels so worshipful. Perhaps they all hate George W. Bush, perhaps not. But those who run the media are in charge, and the reporters and other hired hands have to toe the line. That’s one reason we bring you this blog. Nobody owns us; nobody pays us; nobody tells us what to write.

Comments worth noting: Somalis don’t work because they’re chewing khat

A commenter from Scandinavia called Universalgeni sent us some interesting responses to my post yesterday on barriers to Somalis getting jobs, with some good links. I’m posting them all here so more people will see them.  I apologize for the random sizes and typefaces; sometimes it’s impossible to work with the WordPress platform. You can go to the original comments linked above for more readability and links that work.

The main reason why Somalis don’t work is because they can’t. At least that’s the reason for it in Denmark and Norway. And why can’t they work? Because they are drug addicts. More than ½ of them. That’s what official government analysis and reports show. In both countries. Repeatedly. Year after year. The problems name is “khat”.


This article is translated into English from Norwegian. A word is confusing – the word Greenland. It is the name of a certain part of Oslo.


The next article is also translated, this time from Danish to English. The last part of it confirms that the problem is the same in Denmark. The Somali who is interview actually underestimates the problem. Official reports says it’s worse:


I can get you more documentation if needed. 



Sweden is also badly hit by this immigrant burden that needs to be supportet by tax payers money because they are too drugged to work. It’s the same all over Europe. 


Minnesota – USA. Same story all over again: 


This here is what the Danish government has to say about it. Quoting the Ministry of Health:

Department of Health has worked with female genital mutilation Association, and in this case was held out of the public. Health suggests that the same thing done in the case of khat prevention – the general public do not know about any cultural problems in various groups as it can fortify certain prejudices. The concerned must be involved and informed.

End quote.

Certain prejudices!! But this is not prejudices. The drug addiction among probably the majority of all grown up Somalis is a fact. A fact!

And this is the reason why most people don’t know about it: most countries cover it up on government level. They just call innocent people racists and say that it is our fault that Somalis don’t have jobs. But ordinary people and ordinary employers have nothing to do with it.

The quote came from here – it’s a summary from a Nordic conference held at top government level. It’s interesting:





Quote of the day

We don’t really have a quote of the day, but I have one today anyway.  Wrap your mind around the fact that the world’s economy is struggling and then consider this (referring to the Rohingya boat men story we have been following).  From AP:

“It is a horrible humanitarian crisis unfolding, the fairly large numbers of people leaving in these boats, either drowning at sea or finding themselves in exploitative, abuse situations on arrival,” said Chris Lom, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.


“The issue of people in poor countries trying to reach richer ones is not going to stop,” he said. “It’s going to become more serious and it needs to be addressed, not just regionally, but globally.”

Address it?  How?  I would say we are ‘on the horns of a dilemma.’