One North Carolina refugee agency cuts back due to economy

…..but another vows to keep bringing refugees!

I reported the other day that the Wall Street Journal puts North Carolina at the top of the list of states with rapidly increasing unemployment.  So, when I saw that Lutheran Family Services was wising-up and slowing down the refugees it is bringing to NC, I thought finally they are getting some sense.   From the News & Record:

GREENSBORO – The dismal economy isn’t just having an effect on those who live here. It’s also affecting the lives of those who might have lived here.

Once a hotbed of refugee resettlement activity, Greensboro might be seeing a decline in the number of refugees coming into the area.

With job opportunities and financial support on the wane, one of the area’s largest resettlement agencies is slashing the number of refugees it plans to bring here this year.

Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas, which brought in 282 refugees in the 12-month span that ended in September 2008, plans to bring in just 185 this year .

“We want to make sure that we’re providing the best services possible,” said Sarah Ivory , the group’s interim director for refugee services.

Criticism mounts.

The move comes as some refugee advocates have criticized resettlement agencies, as well as the federal government, for bringing in more refugees than an ailing economy can handle.

Long-established workers are being laid off or seeing their hours cut. In that environment, finding work for someone who might not speak English and might not have certain skills can be difficult.

The local mosque, which apparently has been taking up the slack in helping refugees, becomes a leading critic!

“This is a crisis. To me, the federal government should just not bring any more refugees here,” said Imam Badi Ali, president of the Islamic Center of the Triad , which assists area refugees. “If we can’t find jobs for American citizens, how are we going to find jobs for the newcomers?”

Sister Amal Sayed , who works closely with refugee families, said when the Islamic Center got involved, they expected to work with a few families.

That has since turned into a flood – some brought by Lutheran Family Services, some by other agencies – with some in desperate straits. One Burmese family with children went without food for two days recently because they didn’t know how to use the bus system to get around the city, she said.


“They need to stop bringing people,” Sayed said. “And they need to take responsibility for the people that are here.”

As Lutheran Family Services gets sensible,  Church World Service says they will move into Greensboro and bring more refugees.  (These volags are always competing with each other for refugee bodies!)

Church World Service , which has maintained an office in Durham, is looking at expanding there and in Greensboro, said Erol Kekic , national director of the agency’s refugee program.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Then the Church World Service rep tells a half truth.   He says he has never heard of any refugee being so unhappy they want to return to where they came from.   Church World Service had a Congolese man in our county who could not (or would not) hold a job and was finally evicted from his apartment.   He told authorities that he just wanted to return to Africa.    We hear this all the time.  We hear it especially with the Iraqis who cannot find work.    We propose that these agencies resettling refugees be required to pay the airfare (out of their pocket, not the taxpayers pocket) for anyone not happily resettled and wishing to return to their homeland.

“They’re definitely better off than any situation they came from. There’s no question about that at all,” he said. “I haven’t heard a situation, across the nation, where people are saying, ‘I’m going to just turn around and go back because I was better off in a refugee camp.'”

Note that Mr. Kevic says “refugee camp” and that may be true, maybe none want to return to camps, but many many refugees entering the US were not in camps to begin with!

An afterthought:  Maybe I shouldn’t suggest Mr. Kevic isn’t being truthful, it is possible his big bosses at Church World Service have never told him about the refugees who want to return to their native lands.

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