Iraqi refugees in America have shattered expectations

I’m beginning to think there is some boilerplate outline for stories on Iraqi refugees in America being passed around by mainstream media reporters.  Although we haven’t had as many such stories lately, here is one that was published in the Washington Post on the day before Thanksgiving (probably to make you feel bad before the holiday).  The stories are all the same—shattered expectations.

The articles about Iraqis (actually most refugee stories) begin with a few opening paragraphs, as this one does, about an Iraqi family with a very sad story to tell.

Then come a few facts like these:

Like 3 million or more Iraqis in recent years, she [Mrs. Jafer of the opening paragraphs–ed] and her three children fled across the border. They went first to Jordan and then to the United States, where the number of Iraqi refugees has swelled dramatically in the past three years after the Bush administration was criticized for accepting only a trickle.

Since 2007, more than 54,000 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the United States, and an additional 6,651 Iraqis and their families have received “special immigrant visas” for people who have worked for the U.S. government and U.S.-affiliated agencies.

Then comes the “but.”

About 1,000 Iraqis have been resettled in Northern Virginia. But some now say they would hesitate before advising others to follow.

“We came here looking for a better life,” said Jafer, who arrived in 2008. “But . . .”


For refugees from anywhere, America comes with a lot of “buts” – the harsh realization that life here is not the Shangri-La they imagined, the discovery that it can be costly and lonely.

Then the shocked-by-reality segment.

“We had heard so much about America,” she said. “We thought that the life would be easy, easy, easy. But when we came here and faced the reality, we were shocked.”

The Washington Post does not disappoint, the story is just like dozens ( maybe a hundred!) we have written before.  All the elements are here:

* Iraqis are highly educated, thus more disappointed than other refugees in America.

* Iraqis had wonderful lives in Iraq before the US came and took out Saddam.

* USA is bad.

* There are no jobs here other than menial work.

* Iraqis feel they are owed more ‘stuff’ than other refugees.

* They are tempted to go back to Iraq or the Middle East.

* Some did go back.

* USA is bad.

* Refugee agencies make excuses.

* Iraqis here are getting financial help from family in Iraq.

* They go to food banks and get welfare.

* But they suffer now so their kids have a better life (in the bad US?).

Visit our previous 482 posts on Iraqi refugees here.


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