“We just want to go back!”

If you are thinking I’m writing (again!) about the many unhappy Iraqi refugees who want to go home (from the US) to the Middle East, you would be wrong.   We have been told repeatedly in the mainstream media that this phenomenon—refugees wanting to go home— is a new one caused by our present recession (the worst since the Great Depression).

However, this has happened before and in a very big way.  This is a story from the New York Times, TEN YEARS AGO NEXT MONTH!   This is about Kosovars brought to the US by the thousands in 1999, and returned to Kosovo by the thousands later that year—at taxpayer expense!

”The conditions that I live in here are much better than what I’ll find back home,” said Mr. Selmani, who was interviewed on Sunday through a translator at the Westway Motel in Queens. For seven weeks, after leaving a temporary refugee center at Fort Dix, N.J,, his family had stayed in spacious houses in Bridgeport and Waterbury, Conn. Last week, they moved to the motel to wait for a flight at Kennedy Airport. ”But simply, I love Kosovo more than anything else and more than any other country,” he explained.

Thousands of homesick and frustrated Kosovo refugees have received approval to return through a program financed by the Department of State. Flights from Kennedy Airport are being coordinated by the International Organization for Migration, a humanitarian group in Geneva.

Many families like the Selmanis say they want to go home to rebuild their lives in their own country — not someone else’s. And some families left behind mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters.

”We just want to go back,” said Merita Mita, 42….

Many loved their homeland so much  that they wanted to go back to where they were culturally comfortable.   I wonder that the do-gooders are so quick to yank people out of the place they call home and do it in the name of humanitarianism.  We’ve often wondered aloud here if this isn’t more about how the refugee resettlement people want to make themselves feel good about their “work,” then it is about what is best for the “refugees.”

Ho hum, no jobs even when we weren’t in a recession.

But still other refugees — especially those who cannot speak English — say the tiring struggle to find jobs and make ends meet in the United States finally made the decision for them to return to Kosovo.

”For 10 days, I was eating food on the floor because we didn’t have a place to sit,” said Agron Agushi, 45, who is taking his mother, wife and two young sons back to Pristina tomorrow after spending a month in the Bronx. ”We heard about the return program and we applied. We couldn’t take it anymore. I could not even get a job.”

What do you know—broken promises too!

In some cases, the refugees say that their frustration and disappointment with the harder-than-expected transition to everyday American life has made them want to return to Kosovo. Many say that Government officials promised them that they would move into their own homes, start English lessons and be placed in jobs and schools right away.

”Nobody kept their word about what they told us, and we’re very angry at what happened,” said Minire Xhakli, 40, who has lived in temporary housing in Elizabeth, N.J., for nearly two months with her husband and five children.

 In the end, home trumped America.   It is a lesson we all should heed—home matters, culture matters!   People want to live among those that share their same values!

….. for other refugees, even a successful life in America cannot replace the one they left behind.

So let’s see, we brought around 15,000 Kosovars here and the word is that 10,000 returned to Kosovo.  They came at taxpayers expense and they went home at taxpayers expense.   Inbetween the Top Ten government contractors were paid for their work (by the taxpayer).

I really wanted to see how the return airfares were paid, so I checked the 1999 ORR annual report to Congress.  I didn’t find the airfares but the contractors shared in over $3 million in Kosovar Refugee Emergency Grants (here) that year.

Reform needed!   Refugees should be made aware that they are free to return to their home countries and there should be a special fund established to help them return.  The annual report to Congress should inform the public about how many refugees choose to leave the US each year (and what volag resettled them in the first place).

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