Update: Check out how much federal cash Catholic Charities is getting in Kentucky to resettle refugees, here.
We’ve written a lot about Bowling Green, KY and problems there, most recently just last week, I posted a lengthy article on the Bowling Green International Center (aka Western Kentucky Mutual Assistance Association, there is something fishy about these name changes, but that’s another story) which I encourage you to read before proceeding below.
So according to BG Daily News, they are spreading out, opening a satellite office 72 miles up the road in Owensboro. I wonder did anyone bother to discuss the move with the local government and citizens of Owensboro? It reminds me of what happened where we live. The Virginia Council of Churches ran into some problems in Lancaster, PA and figured they would just move their next bunch of refugees down the road apiece to Hagerstown, MD.
The Bowling Green International Center has received approval from the federal government to expand its refugee services – including a ramped-up effort to combat human trafficking – into Owensboro with a satellite office that is expected to open there around the beginning of 2010.
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration gave final approval for the office this week, and the center expects to resettle some 75 refugees in Owensboro within the next 12 months, said International Center Director James Robinson. [What the heck? How does the US State Department have the authority to saddle a town with unfunded mandates—did anyone ask the town?]
“This will not jeopardize the Bowling Green office in any way,” he said. “We will maintain, and hopefully expand, the office here in Bowling Green.”
The Owensboro office will give the International Center greater opportunities to serve the refugees it resettles but ramp up its other services as well, according to Robinson.
The center participates with the federal government for cultural cross-training and assimilation programs as well as various statewide and local charities in providing other services, such as English classes and translation resources, employment sourcing, clothing, housing and food. Only refugees who have legal status in the U.S. can benefit from the services.
“We were at a point where we needed to make some major upgrade changes in our services to the public,” he said. “This will allow us that opportunity to build on the progress we have made in the past three years. We are a helping organization. So any vehicle or tool that comes our way to expand these services is a very welcoming opportunity.”
The Bowling Green International Center is also getting a federal grant to combat “human trafficking” which one of my correspondents calls a major scam. I’m told they get grants to “educate” but actually don’t help anyone who is trafficked.
So, as we have been pointing out ever since the Obama Administration announced there would be no reduction in refugees arriving in the US even though our jobless rate is so high, the reporter here at the BG Daily News confirms that point. By the way, Kentucky’s jobless rate dropped in September to 10.9%, but that still makes it higher than the national average.
The expansion in services comes on the heels of an announcement this month from President Barack Obama that a minimum [maximum!] of 80,000 refugees will enter the country over the next 12 months. That number is roughly 20,000 more people than two years ago and close to 50,000 more refugees than three to five years ago under the Bush administration, Robinson said. [Robinson thinks he is slamming Bush as being unwelcoming, but the real reason is that after 9/11 the numbers were dramatically reduced so that Homeland Security could figure out how to better screen refugees for terrorists that might sneak in among them!]
With the increasing number of refugees entering the U.S., the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement are looking to resettle refugees in locations where they have the greatest opportunities for success. [That is code for they need fresh territory, they have exhausted the goodwill of their original community]. Availability of low-cost housing, language diversity, employment and income potential, and public transportation are considered, according to the ORR.
I love the way this is always phrased— “with the increasing number of refugees entering”—as if the flow is out of anyone’s control. There are millions of refugees who want to get to the US, and we choose how many we can take. It is like a spigot that could be turned off in economic down times.
My question is, is there a meatpacking plant nearby that needs cheap labor?
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