Kansas City update: profile of an African family’s continued troubles

We first reported problems with refugees in Kansas City, MO, here on January 6th.  Now, here is an update (I’m a little late since this incident was reported twelve days ago) about one African family featured in the earlier report at The Pitch.   This time they lost their heat and electricity.

I urge readers to read the entire article because it will give you a good idea of the insanity of the program whether you are a reader who wants more refugees to come to the US, or if you oppose the program altogether. 

Read the comments and note that one commenter defends Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and says they have no control over the number of refugees they resettle.  YES THEY DO!  They can say ‘no’ to their parent federal contractor, in this case the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (known as USCRI).

However, in light of the news from the Obama Administration we reported two days ago that the federal taxpayer is going to fork over double the amount agencies were paid per head to resettle refugees (while apparently not slowing the flow into the US), it is highly unlikely USCRI will slow the flow to JVS—consider it a kind of ponzi scheme.

Anyway, here is The Pitch on the Burundian family:

In late November, Foibe Nibitanga spoke clearly and calmly about the challenges her family faced since arriving in Kansas City. On Sunday, her assertive demeanor had disappeared. With a handful of her eight children pouncing on an old couch beside her, Nibitanga’s words were quiet and her eyes were wet.

The Burundian family is among the hundreds of refugees resettled by Jewish Vocational Service using government dollars. By JVS’ own admission, money is tight and the organization is challenged to make ends meet for the large number of newcomers. The first few weeks, Nibitanga told The Pitch, her family suffered food shortages, wasn’t taken for medical screenings and feared for their security after a relative was injured during an attempted burglary of their Prospect Avenue apartment. (Officials at JVS insist Nibitanga was given all necessary provisions and services.)

On Sunday, she was even more fearful. Last week, she says, the lights went dark and the heat petered out in their apartment. Making her even more anxious: JVS officials told her that, from here on out, she’s on her own when it comes to paying her bills.


Nibitanga receives food stamps and cash assistance from the state, but she doesn’t think it will be enough to sustain her family. She says she’s strong and willing to work, but has only been taken to one job interview since she arrived in October. Because she can’t speak even basic English yet, she can’t find employment on her own.

As I read this I’m thinking how on earth could a woman with 8 children be able to hold down a job to support the family, but note there is a father.  What is up with that?  Why isn’t he out job hunting?  What is this about him turning down a job?

The article ends with this:

Standing in the chilly apartment, Nibitanga is quick to consider whether her family would be better off in the refugee camp in Tanzania.

“Africa,” she says quickly, “is much better.”

Read it all!

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