This is a comment from Ralph Parker who apparently works with refugees in the Atlanta area. This is what he says about the robbery of a Bhutanese refugee girl which I reported yesterday here.
Wanted to update your readers. I have been a volunteer with the family whose daughter was robbed at gunpoint.
Finally the resettlement agency is going to move the 4 families in the unsafe apartment and area they are in. There are 2 other families whose agency has not responded to a request to move their clients to a safer place.
All the Bhutanese families in this complex want to move. There was no excuse for 3 refugee agencies placing people in an apartment complex with almost a one mile walk to public transportation. The facts are that in urban America there are no safe areas, when apartments are concerned for low income folks. Even the place where they are moving has had problems but is better and there will be 30+ Bhutanese families there. We estimate a Bhutanese population of 1200-1500 in Atlanta and we will have the largest Bhutanese population in America. There is still about 50% unemployment and there have been evictions.
I agree the program is seriously flawed and we need to have a temporary stop to resettleemnt. As you can imagine the girl was quite shaken as were all the families. They knew we were having economic issues but assumed they would be safe in America. Given our large population, we haven’t suffered like Jacksonville as there have been only a few incidents but it will get worse.
As I have stated before, the Bhutanese are the most special group I have worked with in my 12 years as a volunteer. They are so humble and spiritual. I encourage your readers to actually meet and work with a family.
I understand concerns about other ethnic groups, but this one is so different as case workers can attest to.
Mr. Parker, some years back (I’m still tracking down the link) the Atlanta paper did an investigation about refugees being placed in apartment buildings that just happened to be owned by resettlement agency bigwigs. Is there any evidence of this practice still going on as a possible explanation for why agencies are placing refugees in certain buildings? The only other plausible explanation is that they are cheap and want to use as little of their own funds as possible.
The only plausible reason the resettlement agencies (well, the top ten contractors who hire the local resettlement agencies anyway) to continue to encourage as a big a stream of refugees to the US as they can get is because their funding (from the taxpayer) is linked to how many refugees they resettle—they are paid by the head. It is all about the quantity they bring in and not about the quality of life for refugees.
For quality of life and how it could be, readers, go here, and see what I said about how refugee resettlement could be done. And, here is the link to the group’s blog, Refugee Resettlment Support. These folks will bring a smile to your face.