Regular readers are likely saying, oh no, not another story about unemployed Iraqi refugees leaving the US to go back to the Middle East. I am afraid so, but this story had a few more pieces of information that are very timely in light of our recent spate of news about mentally ill immigrants, including the depressed Turkish guy just today.
We told you previously that Utah is getting extra money for refugee resettlement from the federal government in an experimental program, but apparently it’s not enough.
As more Iraqi refugees return to the Middle East disillusioned about America and defeated by unemployment, many of those who remain in Utah are increasingly angry. Recognizing their sacrifices and the growing dilemma, the state refugee office is fighting for additional federal funds to alleviate their painful transition.
More than 300 Iraqi refugees are expected to arrive in Utah in 2009, pushing the state’s community beyond 500.
To help create a softer landing in Utah, the state hopes to secure federal funds [your tax dollars] to hire staff at nonprofits for additional counseling and orientation.
“We’re not asking them [that’s you the taxpayer] to pay for everything,” Brown (Gerald Brown, director of the Utah Refugee Services Office) said. “But with this group, with the problems that it has, I think they [you, again] should be obligated to give us additional resources.”
Then there is kind of an ‘or else’ tone to this article. Angry, unhappy refugees can lead to mental health issues and I don’t need to tell you where that leads!
Not treating the Iraqis’ mental health issues may lead to more anger, Rabin (Mara Rabin, medical director at Utah Health and Human Rights Project) wrote in her comments to the state. She believes it’s likely that Sulejman Talovic, a teenage Bosnian refugee who shot and killed five shoppers at Trolley Square in 2007, had untreated mental health problems.
And, we need to throw more money at refugees so they won’t leave the US like this Iraqi family.
Ahmed Ahmad, 26, used to be surrounded by family: his mother, father and sister came to Utah with him last year. Now he lives alone in Salt Lake City.
His family went to Syria last month after his father spent 10 months futilely looking for work in his field. The periodontist, who was an academic in Baghdad, quickly got a job teaching at a university.
Ahmad, a structural engineer, hopes to attend a master’s program at the University of Utah.
Though he has friends in Utah, he concedes he feels “sad, lonely, and I hoped my family would stay here.”
Is that the best sob story out there in Utah. I guess I just have no heart, but this guy is not 16 years old, he is 26! He can live a little while without mommy and daddy, get a degree and then go for a visit to his homeland. Isn’t that what immigrants have done for eons?