Update January 17th: For unhappy Iraqi refugees, here is where you can send your complaints. Start with the Iraqi Embassy!
State Department! What are you thinking! The system is crashing. Whether in Pittsburgh, PA, or Bowling Green, KY or Greensboro, NC or Ft. Wayne, IN and now Houston, TX, it cannot be sustained in its present form. And, although they are contributing factors, it isn’t just about a lack of funds and scarce jobs—these volags appear to be completely unsupervised! They surely aren’t following any Operational Guidance from the State Department.
Here is a comment we received today (to this older post) and the comment needs to be brought front and center; it is that important. From Nicolinahawaii:
I work with Iraqi refugees in Houston, and one of our Houston refugees just had this awful experience.
The agency apparently didn’t have the money to pay his full rent, so they just kept telling him they were taking care of it, not to worry, until last Wednesday when they made it known that they hadn’t been and couldn’t pay the rent, so he was given a surprise eviction notice, three days to move out, and no leads on what to do next. All the agency would tell him is, “I’m sorry. We can’t help you.” Not, I’m sorry–we should have prepared you–or chosen for you an apartment that we could afford.
The Iraqi refugee in question told me that when he was in the agency office (Multicultural Alliance for Community Affairs), another refugee was in there. She arrived in the USA, and 16 days later, her husband died. The agency couldn’t pay her rent either, so now she is facing eviction.
And since the agency is not responsible for the refugees after 4 months, it’s not their problem if these refugees now have ruined credit histories because of these evictions, if they become homeless now, or if they succeed or return back to their war-torn countries.
It is truly appalling.
The same agency also apparently didn’t have the money to pay for the taxi ride from the airport to the apartments for one of our other new families, and so, in their first hour in America, the Iraqi family was asked to pay out of their meager personal cash supply just so they could get to their apartments. [Readers should know that this is a basic requirement of the volag—the refugees are to be met at the airport and taken to their apartment where food must be available.]
Something is wrong if the agency can’t even afford to get refugees from the airport to their housing.
Out of the 40 Iraqi families at just our apartment complex, probably half are unemployed and the agencies (except YMCA and Interfaith) seem to not be able to find employment for their refugees.
The refugees have told me, “We are destroyed.”
Note to readers: I know we have readers with wildly varying views on the refugee program in general, but I am sure everyone reading this agrees, or I hope you all do! We should have an open and vigorous debate about this program, how many refugees are admitted and from what cultures, but once they are here it is imperative that they be cared for until they get on their feet. Afterall, they were encouraged to come to the US, and we can’t blame them for believing the promises.
I simply don’t get it! How can this be happening everywhere (at least it seems like everywhere!)? It is unconscionable!
Where is Matthew Lee—that is what I want to know! For new readers Lee is (was?) an Associated Press reporter who reported every month during the end of the Bush Administration—bashing Bush clearly at the behest of his buddies in the refugee industry and bemoaning the small numbers of Iraqis being admitted to the US. Well, the Iraqis are here and some of the same agencies that lobbied hard to get them here are now letting them down!
I’m reminded of the Iraqi boy wise beyond his years! I told you about him in September of 2008, here. He summed up his observations about the unhappy situation with Iraqi refugees in a letter to the editor to the Tucson Citizen with this line:
It is better to have 10 Iraqi refugees who are satisfied with their lives than having 100 angry ones with no life at all.
Frankly, the State Department should be readying airlifts home for any refugee profoundly angry or unhappy (paid for out of the funds of the volag that didn’t do its job)!