Refugees organizing for what?

Here is a story from Garden City, Kansas (one of many we receive from that refugee resettlement city) about Burmese refugees resettled there and arriving as secondary migrants (Tysons meat is probably enticing them).   There is nothing earth shattering in the story, but it made me think about ethnic organizing.  We have the Spring Institute sending someone to Garden City to talk to refugees about “organizing” which seems to be the news-hook for the story.

We’ve reported on the Spring Institute before (here and here where they participated in a pro-amnesty March on America).  They are one of those quasi-government agencies that everyone pretends is a non-profit.  You know a “charitable” organization living off the taxpayer’s forced charity.   If you check out their most recent available Form 990 (here) you will see that out of a total income of $1,873,526, 70% ($1,131,921) comes from you, the taxpayer, as “government grants.”  I wonder if they used taxpayer money to support the March on America?

So, here they are in Garden City encouraging Burmese to “organize.”   Community organize, like ACORN?  Are we going to have different organizations for different ethnic groups of Burmese?  Are we organizing to get stuff?  Organizing for political purposes?  Organizing to demand their ethnic groups’ rights?  What?   You know this is an example of the difference between today’s immigrants and those of fifty years ago.  Where I grew up we had German immigrants in our town and they got together over coffee and shared German language magazines and strudel recipes, but they were in a hurry to learn English and never dreamed of forming political organizations to demand their rights as Germans to stuff— to taxpayer-funded goodies.

Bathin [Drucie Bathin of the Spring Institute], who visited with community leaders from the Karen people from Burma and some local refugee and law enforcement officials during an informal gathering Friday at Grace Bible Church, 2595 N. Jennie Barker Road, said she would like to see the few hundred estimated members of Garden City’s Karen community organize. Many still need assistance to communicate with various social service agencies, and many others do not speak English, she said.

“You have a ticket to come to the U.S., but you don’t have a ticket to go back,” Bathin said. “We should come together because we have the freedom to do so, and something we did not have back in Burma.”

Organizing as the “Burmese people” is a misnomer, Bathin said, because many of the ethnic tribes in Burma are linguistically and culturally different; each typically have their own languages, states and flags. For the Karen people, the national Burmese language is typically second to their native Tibeto-Burman language, as well.

And, why is an employee of Tysons meats encouraging “organizing?”  Makes me think he is a union guy.

For nearly four years now, some representatives from ethnic Burmese tribes have been organizing at an annul picnic, an initiative spearheaded by Jonathan Galia, a chaplain at the Finney County Tyson Fresh Meats beef packing plant.


“They may sit together in a meeting but may not work together. It’s been quite a struggle because the loyalty to their own (ethnic) groups is so strong,” Galia said. “I think they will eventually be moving towards organizing their own groups, and if they see value in that, maybe they will. But where they want to take it is up to them.”

So, again, are we encouraging organizing around ethnicity?  Even around tribes?  Wouldn’t everyone be better off if refugees and immigrants are encouraged to hop into our vaunted melting pot and become Americans?

South Africa: Huntley will come back in shame

For new readers, Brandon Huntley, a white South African, had been granted asylum in Canada on grounds that he was being persecuted for his skin color in the Rainbow Nation.  A couple of weeks ago a judge threw out his claimThis article from IOL (Independent On Line), a South African publication, sounds a bit ominous to me about whether Huntley will be safe if deported to his home country.

Once he returns to South Africa, Brandon Huntley, the man who has just lost his refugee status in Canada, will “forever suffer the indignity of his false claims”.

This is the view of Home Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, who said Huntley should never have been granted refugee status.

Huntley now faces deportation and a return to South Africa.

“We welcome the decision of the Canadian federal court,” said Mamoepa. “From the outset, our view has always been that his claims are based on falsehood that tarnishes our image and the people of South Africa in the eyes of the world.”

He said the ruling vindicated South Africa and any negative perceptions Huntley’s claims may have caused. “We are looking forward to his deportation to South Africa, where he will forever suffer the indignity of his false claims,” he said.  [And, IOL has prominently posted his photograph.]

Heck, we have so much crime going every which way in S. Africa we should all be refugees! Astounding comment from a government official.

John Kane-Berman, chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations, said Huntley did not have any grounds on which to argue that he, or any one race group, was at a greater risk of being a victim of crime than any other in South Africa. “South Africa has a very high level of crime, particularly violent crime,” he said. “If South Africans were entitled to refugee status based on the level of crime in the country, we should all be given refugee status.”

No where do these government officials say they will protect Huntley.   Huntley’s attorney should use these remarks to argue his client will not be safe if deported to S.Africa.

Israel: New detention facility proposed and a process for seeking asylum

We have written on many previous occasions about Israel and refugees, indeed we have an entire category on the subject.  As we reported previously, Israel has not had a very good system for dealing with the tens of thousands of asylum seekers coming across its borders.  Here is a story from Haaretz that says that Sunday (today? maybe last Sunday?) there will be a discussion of the subject in the Netanyahu government.  I wonder though if the terrible fire in Israel will cause postponement of this project.

A proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to establish an installation in the south for infiltrators who mean no harm will be brought before the cabinet for approval on Sunday.

Also Sunday, the government is expected to vote on new regulations to make determining refugee status more efficient. These rules will be applied when the non-security-related infiltrators seek asylum in Israel.

Meanwhile, in an unexpected turn of events, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said late last week he doesn’t want the Prison Service managing the installation.

Determining refugee status

According to the Population and Immigration Authority, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people crossing into Israel along the border. That number is currently estimated at 34,566.

One of the government’s plans is to establish procedures for determining refugee status.

Someone who entered Israel illegally will have a year to file a request for asylum. The head of the authorities for determining refugee status will then be able to reject the application if the person’s identity is not proved or the applicant does not meet the criteria for being recognized as a refugee. The current practice is that every request for asylum involves an in-depth interview.