New city, same old story. This time we hear that there are no jobs for refugees, especially well-educated Iraqi refugees, in Fredericksburg, VA.
About 100 Iraqis came to Fredericksburg this past year expecting to find “heaven.”
They fled tumultuous situations in the Middle East.
Among the new refugees: A doctor whose husband was killed as the couple took their children to their Baghdad schools; she, too, was shot during the attack. A building contractor forced to negotiate a ransom after insurgents kidnapped his teenage son on the streets of the Iraqi capital. And a businessman who was waiting–a sword pressed against his neck–for his executioner to arrive when American troops found his makeshift prison.
When each learned he would get a new life in America he celebrated, saying he saw it as “paradise” or “heaven.”
Six months later, some wonder if they’d be better off in Baghdad.
Instead of paradise, these recent newcomers found the brave new world of refugee resettlement in a down economy: few jobs, eviction notices, landlord disputes, high rents and vast cultural differences.
No jobs eventually means no homes.
About 50 Iraqis who arrived in Fredericksburg in August still lack jobs. Seven families recently received eviction notices.
When you read the article notice that some sense is creeping in and the refugee industry is beginning to recognize that something must be done and maybe the flow of refugees needs to be slowed. Or at least they are going to start talking about it!
Jobs remain scarce everywhere. Refugee coordinators around the country will have a teleconference later this month to come up with strategies.
Be sure to check out the comments which center mostly around two themes: what about taking care of our own folks first and maybe returning to Iraq is a good idea.
We have written extensively on the issue of Iraqi refugee unemployment and identified 15 states (including Virginia) where Iraqis are not finding work and are unhappy about it. See the most recent one of those stories from Salt Lake City, Utah and follow links back to other stories.
Also just a reminder that Refugees International is pushing for 100,000 Iraqis this fiscal year and Obama’s good friends at the Center for American Progress are pushing for an airlift of that many also here. By way of comparison, we brought a meager 13,000 this past fiscal year and can’t find them adequate employment.
I wonder if these Washington DC refugee industry lobbyists ever talk to the resettlement workers around the country? Strikes me that there is a little disconnect here!
Note to a serious reporter: With 307 previous posts in our Iraqi Refugee category, we probably have the largest database of news stories on the subject anywhere.