Refugee horrors in Houston!

Here is a long investigative story that completely blew me away for a couple of reasons.   First, the horrors these Burmese refugees are facing in Houston are beyond anything this critic of the program ever thought possible, and secondly, I am completely stunned to learn that a real investigative reporter still exists!  Thank God for Mike Giglio of the Houston Press.

Early on reporter Giglio tells us that refugee workers say the program is entering a “perfect storm.”    No kidding.  

They are entering what refugee workers describe as a “perfect storm” in the U.S. resettlement program. It is outdated and drastically underfunded, and the economy that for so long propped it up has sunk into a recession. At the same time, refugees are arriving in ever greater numbers — especially in Houston.

There is the usual litany of complaints by refugee personel who say they don’t have enough money to take good care of the large number of refugees.  Of course NO ONE ever suggests slowing the flow of refugees into the US.

For years, agencies across the country have used private funds, unpaid overtime and volunteers to patch together a system that before the recession was typically able to find jobs for more than 80 percent of refugees after six months. Those numbers are plummeting — to as low as 20 percent at one national agency, the  International Rescue Committee, which Bob Carey, its vice president of resettlement and migration policy, expects is more or less the situation at most. In some states, refugees are becoming homeless.

Regular readers know I have no patience for these complaints.  Slow the flow of refugees or the agencies need to work harder and dig deeper in their own pockets to help the refugees in their charge.  It is that simple—raise more private money, find more volunteers, or tell the State Department to turn off the spigot.  By the way, there is no law that says an agency can’t help refugees after the federal money runs out!

There are 4 agencies with contracts to resettle refugees in Houston as this article points out.

To navigate this complex process, they depend on one of four major resettlement agencies in Houston to which refugees are assigned (the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Catholic Charities, Interfaith Ministries and YMCA International).

When you read the whole article, and you must! ask yourself if some agencies are driven by humanitarian concerns or are serving as facilitators of virtual slave labor.   Here is a portion of one story involving Alliance  Naing in this story is an Alliance caseworker.  Refugee Phe Bu saw a sign advertising jobs at a Louisiana chicken plant and that is where this story begins.  Gosh, what a coincidence another meat packing plant!

On a Tuesday afternoon, the Reh clan boarded a white van with a driver sent from the plant. Six hours passed, and Phe Bu says he asked if they were close. He was told there was still a ways to go. The men spent the night in a small town along the way and finally arrived the next day. Only they were in Alabama. A translator was waiting for them.

The men say they were told that since they didn’t yet have all their documents they were illegal (this was untrue), but the manager would allow them to work all the same. For Phe Bu, who had heard on the radio about illegal immigration and who comes from a place where police are dangerous and corrupt, this was a terrifying idea. The men say they were also advised not to go anywhere without their translator. He was their transportation to and from the two apartments the employer — East Coast Labor, which provides and manages the workers at plants like the one in Alabama — had arranged. As far as visits to Houston, the men say they were told one might be possible in a few months.

Naing insists the men knew where they were going. Alliance has placed 17 clients at a Louisiana plant run by East Coast Labor that Naing and Alliance’s job developer visited first. According to Alliance, those clients are treated well and return home every two weeks. Naing says the men chose the Alabama job for its slightly higher pay. Both the translator, Kevin So, and driver, Henry Naw Seng, say the men did not mention any confusion about their destination. The Houston Press interviewed seven of the men. All say they believed they were on a six-hour trip to Louisiana

It was Sunday night when the men found a small dead turtle on the side of the road and split it five ways with some rice at their apartment. Only some had brought food, and they wanted to save what little cash they had for emergencies. The next day they started work. According to So, the men were ill-equipped for the job, which involves rapid-fire labor on an assembly line. The oldest of the group, Shaw Reh, is 60.

Who sent these people here?” So remembers thinking.

The next morning, two of the men couldn’t get out of bed. All refused to return to work. So called Naing, who asked the men to stay at least a month. The men demanded to go home. So then called a manager, whom he claims told him to kick the men out of the apartment and tell them the police had been called.

“They were just trying to threaten them, trying to scare them a little, so they’d go back to work. The manager didn’t really call the police,” So says. “They were losing a lot of money.”

Ray Wiley, the owner of East Coast Labor, says his managers would never threaten workers and blames So, whom he says has been suspended, for trying to manipulate the men. Alliance staffers spoke several times with Wiley and So during the standoff and say only So mentioned anything about police. Wiley also says he employs refugees from around the country and that men of all ages work in the plants without issue.

The men ran into the nearby woods and hid under a tree while So waited in his car across the street. Nobody spoke. Phe Bu shivered with fear, and he tried to figure out a way home. He remembers thinking, “If he comes back, I will ask him to draw me a map.”

You will have to go read the whole thing and learn how these men got back to their families in Houston.

So much for humanitarians, sounds more like headhunters to me! 

It’s not uncommon for refugees to begin questioning why they came here. Some feel trapped. And there are few resources available for counseling and mental help. 

More on Texas meatpackers here and their refugee agency headhunters.   I more fully understand George Bush’s pro-open borders stance.   I suspect the bigwigs in the Meat industry and the  ‘humanitarian headhunters’ were all hounding him at once.

Minneapolis Somalis: give us a $48 million youth center and we will stay out of trouble

A Minneapolis youth “communty organization” is proposing a Muslim’s only recreation center claiming it will keep restless youths from seeking gangs or dashing off to Africa for Jihad.  How many times in every city and small town in America have you heard this lament (well the first part anyway, not the Jihad part) as groups pressure local goverments to spend money on them.   Of course in this case, this facility could not be built with taxpayer dollars as it will be only for the use of one religious group.

From the Star-Tribune:

A plan to create what could become the first recreation center in the country designed to comply with Muslim religious beliefs is gaining steam in the Twin Cities.

The proposal for a $48 million Muslim Youth and Recreation Center comes from Somali Youth Action of Minnesota, a new nonprofit organization working to reduce youth violence.

Early sketches of the project reveal separate swimming pools for men and women, separate exercise rooms, an indoor soccer field and a large multi-purpose room for weddings and other events.

By the way, Somali Youth Action(SYA) of MN was one of the Somali groups to back CAIR when CAIR-MN came under fire from Somali family members of some of the missing youths.  CAIR had been accused of blocking an FBI investigation into the case.

SYA representatives say they will serve 150,000 Muslims living in the Minneapolis area and might have to go outside the country to find funding.  Saudi Arabia maybe?

“We’re going to go after it … and we’re going to hope that the local community and donors and foundations respond,” said Matthew Palombo, secretary of Somali Youth Action (SYA). “If they do, then it will move forward.”

Creating a safe place for Somali youth to meet has been at the forefront of community discussions on preventing youth violence.

This is just more of the on-going Somali effort to set themselves off from Americans of other ethnic backgrounds and faiths.   This is the stealth jihad before your very eyes.

LOL!  Can you imagine the uproar if a group of ethnic Swedes in Minnesota wanted to have a recreation facility for Swedes only claiming they needed to be separate because they wanted to worship their Norse gods of old.

Update September 6th:   I just received documents from the Minnesota Secretary of States office.   The Somali Youth Action of Minnesota was incorporated on October 28, 2008 by Abdifatah M. Abdi (also the agent) and Sacudo F. Shaie at the same address, 2101 Washington St., Apt. 313, Minneapolis, MN 55418.    Although above note that they claim a Matthew Palombo as Secretary of the organization there is only a simple one page Articles of Incorporation for SYA and no board of directors listed.

Only in America can a couple of immigrants create a non-profit group from someone’s apartment and then be out trying to raise $48 million the following year.  This incorporation follows the pattern of other Ethnic Community Based Organizations (ECBO) I have been following in our special category on the subject.

Australian report: 13,507 refugees to Australia this past year, 100 are Rohingya

This is a report from the Australian government about its refugee resettlement record this just-ending fiscal year.

Refugees from Iraq and Burma comprised about 40 per cent of the 13 507 refugees and other people in greatest humanitarian need who were granted visas to start a new life in Australia in 2008-09, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.


Iraqis were the largest group in the 2008-09 humanitarian program with 2874 visas granted – including 500 additional refugee places that were reserved for this group last program year in recognition of their critical resettlement needs,’ Senator Evans said.

Australia now joins Canada and some European countries (including Ireland) in resettling Rohingya Muslims.  So far the US has officially not resettled Rohingya, but I bet that will soon change.  And, as a matter of fact, some may have already come in with the Burmese Karen Christians.

The second-largest group resettled were Burmese, most of whom had been living in camps along the Thai-Burma border for more than 20 years. This group also included more than 100 Burmese Rohingya who have been living in the Cox’s Bazaar region of Bangladesh since 1992.

See my first post on Rohingya and Cox’s Bazaar here.  Our whole Rohingya category is here (this is the 80th post on the subject!).

Wanting to be sure to be good humanitarians, the Australian government says they will take even more refugees this coming fiscal year.

The minister said Australia remained a world leader in humanitarian resettlement, both in terms of numbers resettled and the services provided to help them rebuild their lives.

‘The program will continue to grow in the year ahead, with an increase of 250 places building on the 2008-09 increase, to bring the total program to 13 750 for 2009-10,’ Senator Evans said. ‘Our ongoing efforts to help vulnerable populations are a clear demonstration of our nation’s compassion for those in need.’

For information on Australia’s problems with refugees, visit our category for that country, here.

Muslim refugee population booming in Charlottesville, VA thanks to the IRC

I’m not actively looking for articles about the International Rescue Committee (IRC), it’s just that the IRC are busy little beavers and seem to be all over the news.  Earlier today I told you about Iraqi refugees demonstrating at the State Capital in Phoenix, AZ and complaining that the IRC wasn’t taking care of them.  Now, comes news that Muslims in Charlottesville, VA are working hard to build a new big mosque partly because the IRC is resettling so many Muslims in that city.

From the Daily Progress:

The economy has caused many construction projects to slow and others to halt altogether. Not so for the Islamic Society of Central Virginia’s future mosque, even though the long-awaited prayer facility has for years done a complicated money-raising dance that is unlikely to be seen anywhere else in Charlottesville.

A facility large enough to hold hundreds of people, the project is a stark contrast to the organization’s current prayer site — an aging house on 10 1/2 Street near the University of Virginia. Yet it has progressed slowly, with bit by bit being paid to the mosque’s contractor as money is brought in from one fundraiser after another. For that is the only way money can be raised, society members say — the Quran forbids borrowing money at interest, whether it be for a house, a car, or for Charlottesville’s first constructed mosque.

“We Muslims are not allowed to pay or receive interest,” said Khan Hassan, treasurer of the Islamic Society of Central Virginia. “We have to follow those rules.”

That is the background and now here is the interesting part from our perspective:

The necessity has been pushed along by the city’s burgeoning Muslim population, a result of more second-generation Muslims enrolling at UVa and from more refugees resettling from countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Bosnia.*


On Friday, Aisha Mohammed, a UVa second year student, said the 10 1/2 Street house was not exceptionally crowded, as she has seen it that way in the past. But the new mosque would free up room, and Mohammed said it would also be useful in providing a gathering space for Muslim refugees who have flowed into the area during the last several years from the resettlement programs of the International Rescue Committee, which has an office in Charlottesville.

Just a reminder to new readers that the IRC is largely funded by you, the taxpayer.  I wonder if they are providing better services to their Charlottesville refugees than to their Phoenix ones.

* The three largest Muslim refugee sending countries are Bosnia, Somalia and Iraq.  Many Muslims will end up in radical mosques.

Phoenix: Iraqi refugees protest against the International Rescue Committee and the UN

Here’s a story I didn’t see in the nightly news.   A dozen Iraqi refugees resettled by the International Rescue Committee (IRC)  in Arizona protested outside State government offices saying they have been left in the lurch by the IRC—gosh where have we heard this story before!

Demonstrating Tuesday outside the State Capitol, Marwan Eldosari said the United Nations promised him decent housing, a job and the American dream when he decided to leave Iraq following the U.S. invasion.

Instead, Eldosari said he is unemployed and unhappy with the central Phoenix apartment complex where he and other Iraqi refugees live. He said a group responsible for helping refugees hasn’t come through on its promise of help.

b Many people will be homeless because there is no support for them, b he said. [Edit:  I don’t know what this lone letter ‘b’ is throughout the text] 

Eldosari and 12 others carried signs including “Real hell in Iraq better than false paradise of America.” When they tried to enter the lobby of the Executive Tower, a police officer told them they could march outside the House and Senate buildings.

For new readers, the IRC has been lobbying for months saying they need more taxpayer money for refugees.  But, as I have pointed out on many many occasions the president of this organization, former president of Columbia University. receives an an annual salary  and benefits package of over $400,000 and has at least a half a dozen VPs and staffers in the 6-figure salary range.   That would be o.k. if it were a truly private business, but since a large portion of their funds are from the taxpayer, those salaries are outrageous.  How about if they redistribute a little of their wealth to the people they say they care for instead of lobbying to take your wealth, through taxation, to redistribute.  Oops!  Their salaries are your wealth too!

Back to the protest story:

The refugees said they are supported by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a refugee-resettlement organization that according to its Web site is calling for an overhaul of the U.S. system for admitting Iraqi refugees because many are in poverty here. 

The IRC’s telephone number in New York rang through to a voice message saying the office was closed.


But Eldosari and other demonstrators said the group hasn’t lived up to its mission.

b When you go there, ask them many times for to find job, they didn b t find any jobs for us,” he said.

Why are only Iraqis protesting when we hear similar problems with other ethnic groups admitted to the US under the US State Department’s Refugee Resettlement Program?  This is my theory.  The Iraqis are better educated and had pretty good lives in Iraq and know how to speak up.  The Burmese and the Bhutanese aren’t speaking up (yet) because they come from a camp life where they didn’t have a culture that encourages speaking up.  The Somalis, on the other hand, have learned how to work the system, set up community organizing groups (ECBOs) and protest for Islamic accommodation—more important to them then how they are living. 

See our Iraqi refugee category with more than 400 posts at this point.  We have so many posts on unhappy Iraqi refugees that I have lost track.   At one point I had identified 20 states where Iraqis had protested their plight.