Update August 11th: I’m late on this, just discovered it at Bhutan News Service, the suspect was caught, here.
Update August 7th: More on the Jacksonville Bhutanese refugees here.
Update July 30th: I’ve posted on one of the comments to this post here.
A young and promising Bhutanese refugee who had spent most of his life in a camp in Nepal was murdered yesterday in a Jacksonville robbery. He had been in the US for only 5 months. It is one more case of refugees being placed in crime-ridden neighborhoods by a government resettlement contractor—a church-related agency at that. From Jacksonville’s Times Union:
Tika Adhikari stared in disbelief Monday morning at a large circle of dried blood in the parking lot only feet from his Jacksonville apartment.
It was the blood of his 21-year-old son, Hari, who only a few hours earlier took a robber’s bullet point blank. It was the blood of the family’s rock, an immigrant determined to help his Bhutanese parents overcome a language barrier and support them through hard work.
Adhikari, 65, was resettled in Jacksonville with his wife and son five months ago from a Nepalese refugee camp. They once hoped for a safe and happy life. His simple request now: To see his son’s face one last time.
Adhikari is at least the 19th immigrant slain in the Jacksonville area in the past five years, most in robberies. His killer remains free.
Honestly, what is up with this? We know that the State Department’s Office of Population, Refugees and Migration was warned in 2005 about crime against refugees in Jacksonville yet apparently continued to approve resettlements there. I swear it is all about getting cheap housing! These contractors don’t want to dig too deeply into their own funds to supplement the taxpayer funding they receive, so the refugees suffer.
Karen Croke works in the office of World Relief, the refugee resettlement group that brought the Adhikaris to Jacksonville from South Asia. Croke said she is disheartened to see immigrants freed from oppression meet with such violence.
Adhikari was robbed of his wallet and a cell phone during the attack shortly before midnight Sunday. The slaying occurred at the Stonemont Village Apartments off Belair Road, just east of Philips Highway in a crime-ridden area of South Metro.
Heartbroken community members say more refugees will be reluctant to come to the US. We have written many times about how reluctant the Bhutanese have been to resettle here anyway because they were holding out hope of going back to Bhutan someday. We have committed to take 60,000 over 5 years! You can bet this story will be flying through the camps with some ‘I told you so’s.’
Adhikari began working at a nearby Wal-Mart about two weeks ago and was attending Florida Community College at Jacksonville to better his English. He dreamed of continuing his education, though unsure of what he ultimately wanted to do, his family and friends said.
Dozens of subdued people from the Bhutanese community gathered outside in the complex and the family’s apartment to offer their condolences Monday. Some expressed outrage at the slaying of another immigrant in Jacksonville.
“It’s unimaginable how this could happen,” said Dilli Mishra, a friend of the victim.
Yagya Dahal, 23, was neighbors with Adhikari at their refugee camp and reunited with his friend when they moved to Jacksonville. Dahal said he suspects some refugees may be reluctant to resettle in the United States after learning about such attacks.
As I have said previously, we need a national debate about refugee resettlement—who should come and how many—but once they are here these agencies contracted by us, the taxpayer, are expected to take care of the refugees in their charge.