Iraqi refugee says she knows why they are brought here

This is one more in a long series of articles we’ve posted about unhappy and unemployed Iraqi refugees in the United States, but what makes this one different is that one woman ventures a hypothesis for why they are here inspite of the lousy conditions and uncertainty in which they are living.

The lead-in to the article from The National, a publication of the UAE, is as follows:

In the last two years, America has belatedly opened its doors to Iraqis seeking refuge and made efforts to resettle them across the country. But the lucky few who make it to the United States find economic catastrophe, few job opportunities and little to no help from the nation that brought them there. Neela Banerjee reports from Phoenix, Arizona.

Umm Ahmed, an Iraqi mother with a ten year old son  had it rough in Iraq, but now spends her days chain-smoking, applying for jobs and worried about the end of her welfare assistance looming on the horizon.

But it is life in America, not the past in Iraq, that troubles Umm Ahmed’s sleep now. She gets government assistance for food and rent. But in a few weeks, her food and rent subsidies as a refugee will end – less than six months after they started. She has not found any work, despite filling out applications all over the city. At one restaurant, she said, the manager joked that she looked like Osama bin Laden’s mother.

Umm Ahmed goes to English classes and writes down new words in a small notebook she always carries, but her English is still rudimentary. None of the Iraqis she knows have found work, she said, and she worries that she and her son will be homeless.

Umm Ahmed talked and smoked for three hours, and by the end, only panic tumbled out. “The reason they are bringing a lot of refugees from Iraq to the US is that they are asking our forgiveness,” she said. “But they make it worse by having us here. There is no support, and people here think everyone from the Middle East is Osama bin Laden. If they can’t offer us help, why did they bring us here?”

Good question!  And, here is an even better question, why are they (resettlement agencies) continuing to press for more and more Iraqis to be resettled in the US?   Note Lavinia Limon of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (one of the top ten government contractors) just yesterday is asking her supporters to lobby Obama for more Iraqis when we are not taking care of what we have.   Look at this letter she wants you to send the President.

Honestly, there is no logic to this business of  bringing more and more refugees into our poor economy, and we have been told time and again that these agencies aren’t doing it for the money.   So, I wondered about this once before —is there some sort of psychological malady at play here?   Is it guilt, as this Iraqi woman suggests, or something else?   In the animal rescue world there is a real psychological disorder called Animal Collector Syndrome, I wonder if there is a comparable syndrome for human beings.  I don’t know why there wouldn’t be.

See also yesterday’s post about Lutheran Immigration Services, another federal contractor, and their worries about the number of refugees they are taking.

Differing views on that Somali terrorism hearing

I’m so glad I went to the Senate Homeland Security hearing this past Wednesday, because as I read reports in publications of all sorts, I’m amused by the spin (wishful thinking or intentional deception?)  from mainstream media outlets.   Here is a prime example I came across this morning from the Chicago Tribune.

There is no evidence that radicalized Somali-American youths who have disappeared over the past two years are being trained as terrorists abroad to one day return and attack the U.S., intelligence and law enforcement officials told members of a Senate panel Wednesday.

Although worrisome, their apparent recruitment by al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to al-Qaida, is more likely to signify that many are motivated to help Somalia fight Ethiopians who invaded in 2006.

After a little discussion about the issues addressed, this reporter ends with this bit of information that suggests, well if anything happens it is our (bad America’s)  fault anyway.  We made the Somalis mad!

Some Somalis felt that the U.S. countenance of the Ethiopian invasion was retribution for the 1993 deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers, portrayed in the film “Black Hawk Down,” said Kenneth Menkhaus, a political science professor at Davidson College.

I didn’t even hear Menkhaus say this, maybe it’s in his prepared testimony, but it was certainly not a major focus of the hearing, not even a minor focus, except if you were somehow trying to grasp for reasons to blame America.

Now to VDARE!

You can expect at VDARE to get news and views that are the farthest thing from political correctness and it’s always a refreshing website to visit for that reason.   Brenda Walker writes about the hearing and the press coverage of that hearing, here.

The Chicago Tribune article I cite above is titled:  “Somali-Americans tie to U.S. plots doubted” and seeks to downplay the potentially serious nature of the issue.   Right along those lines this is what Walker said:

Another aspect to the Senate hearing was the Rorschach nature of reporting about it. CNN (above) reasonably emphasized the threat. But the Los Angeles Times headlined with a pro-Islam viewpoint: American Somali youths aren’t seen posing major risk.

Walker opened with this ‘no-holds-barred’ criticism of Chairman Lieberman:

Politicians like Sen. Joe Lieberman are maddening (but common). He is bright enough to see the danger arising from hostile Somalis residing in America, yet his lifetime immigration voting grade is D- and his recent record rates an F-.

On Wednesday, Sen. Lieberman chaired a hearing titled “Violent Islamist Extremism: al-Shabaab Recruitment in America.” The Senator’s cognitive dissonance about unfriendly immigrants was further indicated by the characterization in his opening statement of the Somalis here as “victims” of “small group of extremists who are essentially terrorizing their own community.”

Read it all!

And, if you haven’t already, read Patrick Poole’s, “What Senators didn’t hear….” published at Pajamas Media.

The New York Times is of some use after all: great tools to see immigration and diversity trends

The New York Times web site has some fascinating interactive graphics about diversity and immigration. On this one, you can see how the ethnic/racial composition of schools has changed from 1987 to 2006. You can look up figures by state county and school district, and these are compared with national trends. The site says:

Immigration’s impact is often first seen in the classroom. The increasing diversity of the nation’s education system is the most detailed measure of where immigrants have settled in recent years. View demographic changes in more than 17,000 school districts across the nation — including your own.

The general trend is this:

Fueled by the latest wave of immigration, enrollment of Hispanic and Asian students in American schools has increased by more than 5 million since the 1990s. The increases are occurring not just in long-time immigration hotbeds, but in places as far flung as Sevier County, Arkansas to Colfax County, Nebraska, to Marion County, Oregon.

Asians increased from 5 to 6 percent; Hispanics from 13 to 21 percent over the period. Blacks and Native Americans remained the same, at 17 percent and 1 percent respectively, and whites dropped from 66 to 56 percent. This represents students, remember, so the minority figures are larger than in the general population.

On that page there is a link to this amazing map of immigration trends by nationality.  You  can run your cursor over any county and see the total population and the number of foreign-born. The counties are coded by color to show where most of the foreign-born are from.

Even better, there’s a timeline that runs from 1880 to 2000. You can select a nationality and move the pointer along the timeline to see what each census showed of that nationality’s settlement. Even this is at the county level, so you can learn, for instance, that in 1890 in Douglas County, Nebraska, there were 260 French-born people out of a total population of 158,008.

Oregon case points to immigration fraud in refugee program

The headline is eye catching, “Father of Miss Oregon investigated on suspicion of visa fraud,” and the story that follows raises lots of questions.  See the Oregonian article here.

U.S. immigration officials are investigating the father of the reigning Miss Oregon on suspicion of visa fraud after an international war crimes tribunal reported that he had served in a military unit that slaughtered unarmed Muslims in Bosnia in 1995.

Federal prosecutors say that Serbian national Milenko Krstic, 52, father of Miss Oregon Danijela Krstic, 24, lied in 1998 when he was applying for refugee status, stating under oath that he had never served in the military.

How many other refugees lie on their form I-590?  How about all those Somalis that are believed to be in the country illegally?  Did some of those perhaps serve in some military in war torn Africa, but reported they hadn’t?

In 1998, three years after leaving the military, Krstic and his family emigrated to the United States. As part of a refugee application, he filled out an I-590 form, which requires, among other things, applicants to disclose foreign military service.

Go back to the Oregonian and read about the ins and outs of the case that has been dismissed in a lower court.  Federal prosecutors have appealed.  ICE is taking it very seriously.

If the case against Krstic proceeds and he is convicted of visa fraud, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He and his family also could be deported, immigration officials said.

“I can’t speak specifically to his case,” said Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “But if a person receives their immigration benefit based on a family member who got theirs fraudulently, then an immigration judge may find that family members could lose that benefit as well.”

So, if refugees lied on their applications they can be jailed and fined, or they and their family can be deported.

Endnote:  Between 1983 and 2005 we resettled 168,972 refugees from the former Yugoslavia.  In records unavailable to the general public we learned that over 100,000 of those are Bosnian Muslims.