Update on unhappy Iraqis in Sacramento

My previous post about the Overseas Processing Entities that are responsible for among other things, cultural orientation, reminded me that I needed to update readers on those Iraqis (with special immigrant visas) who wrote to us in January about their unhappy experiences in the US.   See their comments here to refresh your memory about their situation in Sacramento.

Then visit Friends of Refugees here, for an update on their cases—still no happy conclusion.

No jobs, not much of a life and yet we keep bringing them in.  In the first 5 months of this fiscal year we have resettled 6,959 Iraqis in the US.  I doubt most are doing any better than the two in Sacramento.

Where to complain!

As a follow-up to my post on the two Iraqis, I prepared this post listing all the places where Iraqis could complain about their situation in the US.

State Department handing out new contracts for Overseas Processing

In my previous post I told you about a Bhutanese prospective refugee who asked us to help figure out how he/she could bet signed up to be resettled. 

We have some vague notion that the UN is out scouting for refugees to come to the US which is partially true, but the US State Department has what I can only call LARGE processing centers scattered around the world.  Recently it came to my attention that bidding is open for anyone (LOL!) wishing to apply to run one of three big processing centers.

Nepal presently run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Istanbul run presently by International Catholic Migration Ministries (ICMM)

Nairobi run now by Church World Service (CWS)

These are large contracting jobs often employing 100-200 employees.  They do all the initial processing and paperwork for the refugees.  They also coordinate the cultural orientation, so come to think of it, when refugees come to the US and are shocked at their living conditions, I guess it would be these contractors that didn’t give them the complete picture.   Frankly, since two of the three are also affiliated with resettlement agencies in the US who need warm bodies to get their government payments to resettle refugees, I can see where there might be a tendency to gloss over the difficulties refugees are having in the US, and encourage as many as possible to sign-up!

How about the State Department establish a new restriction—no connection to a US resettlement agency.  Take away any appearance of conflict of interest!   Also, it gives me the creeps that these are “church” related groups doing the processing.  What happened to the separation of church and state? 

Good luck applying, I’m betting these contractors have a lock on the contract.

Comment worth noting: Help me get resettled

I’m posting this comment just to once again make the point that we are not a resettlement agency and we are not a part of the government.  We are simply a clearinghouse of news (news that hasn’t been glossed over) about the refugee program.  We are increasingly hearing from refugees from around the world, often with very personal information asking us to help them get to the US. (We just trash those appeals.)

Twice on our home page we have stated that we have no official role and have asked that we not be contacted to help with a prospective refugee’s appeal. 

I’m posting this just to let you know the types of things we hear—this one because he/she hasn’t given out a case number or other private information.  I won’t post his/her name.   But, I am struck by the fact that the writer has a pretty good command of English and has an e-mail account, so am thinking he/she is not some poor poverty stricken camp dweller.

I would like to know some information regarding the left out Bhutanese People in Nepal. What would be there future, I mean those people who could not get registered because left camp for the living as it was taking time to follow up the procedure.

Also to those people who do not have lost parents after reaching Nepal from Bhutan….
I am also one of them, I do not have father and I was brought by my mother from Bhutan when I was small. And She had to struggled lot for our survival and there was no one to guide her for the registration because she did not know the procedure… She was unsuccessful thought she had tried and had finally given up for the same. My mother passed away few years back living us behind and we do not know anything about our family and our origin… still wondering in Nepal…. Moreover we do not have supporting documents apart from few document from Bhutan related to our school certificates and few other documents which mother happened to preserved.

Please advice on this…..

Thank you

Readers, the “Bhutanese” are really Nepalese who had lived for a long time in Bhutan.  Many were expelled from Bhutan and have lived in camps in Nepal where Nepal won’t repatriate them.  So now we are in the process of taking 60,000 over 5 years.

Go here to see the latest numbers.   For FY2010 (October 1, 09 to end of Feb. 10) we have taken 5,373 Bhutanese.  In FY09 we took 13,452 and in FY08 we took 5,320.   It is very likely that most of those refugees now resettled in the US are not working.

I’ve asked this question before, how come these people don’t seem to have a clue about where to apply for refugee status?

Which reminds me!   It is the International Organization for Migration that runs the Bhutanese project, here.