Bhutanese join the ranks of the unemployed in Idaho

For our regular readers there is really nothing new here, except maybe that this article is not about unemployed Iraqis who want to go home, but about a Bhutanese family (five of the soon to be 60,000 Bhutanese arriving in the US) trying to make it in Boise.

BOISE, Idaho – For 17 years, Dilli Ram Gautam was homeless, living in a Nepalese refugee camp.

Now, just 9 months after Gautam and his family moved into an apartment, he’s just a few weeks away from homelessness again – but this time in a strange town, strange state, and strange country.

Idaho officials say it’s never been harder, economically speaking, to be a refugee.

“There is a lot of stress. My wife and I worry about it, my children worry about it,” he said. “We thought before coming to the U.S. that our life would be better here – and the living condition is good, clean. The problem is that we have been homeless for 17 years, and we are afraid we will be homeless here as well.”

In Idaho, refugees are eligible for cash assistance for 8 months, said Wendy Morgan, spokeswoman for the Idaho Office of Refugees.

In fiscal year 2007, 92 percent of all refugee families in the state were employed before those benefits ran out, Morgan said. In 2008, that number dropped to 72 percent.

And in the first half of 2009, just 25 percent were able to find employment before their benefits ran out, Morgan said.

Note that the International Rescue Committee that closed a financially-strapped and decades-old office in Boston just this week, has opened an office in Boise recently.

The International Rescue Committee opened its Boise office three years ago.

I wish I better understood this territorial competition among the Top Ten federal refugee resettlement contractors*.  Do they search out cities that appear “welcoming” and open offices even though there are already competitors resettling refugees in the same locale?   We observed this very blatantly happening in Ft. Wayne, IN , so I’ve been wondering about the turf wars ever since.

Oh well, no matter, even if there are no jobs and refugees are worried about being homeless the US State Department is going to keep them flowing to your town or city.

Since October 2008, more than 600 refugees have arrived in Idaho, Morgan said. The Idaho Office of Refugees expects that number to reach 1,100 by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, and predicts that another 1,100 refugees could arrive in the state in 2010.

I’ve written often about Boise, here is a post from back in February where officials there were worried there might soon be tent cities in Idaho.

* It is such a misnomer to call these groups volags, short for voluntary organization, because they are not voluntary when they are being paid by the taxpayer for their services.

Phyliss Chesler to speak about radical Islam at NYC demonstration today

Phyllis Chesler wants you all to come out and join those fighting to defeat radical Islam.

On Sunday, May 3rd, at noon, in Times Square, in New York City, a gathering of eagles and of angels will take place. Come rain or come shine, the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam is holding a rally. Please join us. The coalition is composed of Muslim, ex-Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, atheist, and human rights leaders who are “calling for the defeat of radical Islam.”

As fundamentalist Islam continues to expand around the world among the most persecuted are the women, says Chesler whose experience in Afghanistan makes hers an important voice in the movement.

Radical Islam’s greatest crimes are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes and include the cruel subordination and persecution of Muslim women, Muslim apostates, and Muslim independent thinkers. Islam is the world’s largest and only practitioner of both gender and religious apartheid. Such apartheid and barbarism is indigenous to Islam. It was not imported by western colonial powers. Now, Islamic gender and religious apartheid have penetrated the West and have grown even harsher, more barbaric in Muslim lands. Children, as young as five years-old are used to blowing themselves and others up. Women are raped, then forced into becoming human bombs to “cleanse” their shame. Both Palestinians and Al-Qaeda are doing this.

Radical Islam is an obvious threat to human rights all over the world.

Chesler feels a special kinship with women in Afghanistan who are standing up to the most stifling and oppressive form of Shariah Law.

Here’s one reason, among many, that I will be speaking on Sunday.

Today in Kabul, when women march for women’s rights and for women’s lives, they risk being beaten, arrested, and murdered—by the mob that stalks them, by the police, by the Taliban. Still, they have marched twice now in the last month.

They could not be here to join us today. Although I lack their bravery, I am here to speak for them.

For those of you who do not know this:

In December of 1961, I escaped from captivity in Afghanistan.

Read her story.

So why is this important to us?  As refugees/asylees and immigrants from Muslim countries pour into the US we must guard against this radical and fundamentalist form of Islam creeping in with them.    I always thought it would be women like Phyliss Chesler (not that men aren’t in this war too), those who have fought so hard for the rights that women have in the West. who aren’t going to let those rights go easily to men who want to see them covered head to toe, want to marry little girls, or murder sisters and daughters for disobeying them.