How many of you have ever heard of this program—Youth Exchange and Study? I hadn’t until I saw this story from the The Star (Toronto) yesterday about Muslim high school students invited to the US to help bring about “improved understanding” between cultures and instead many just hopped on over to Canada and asked for asylum—so much for taking their new found understanding back to their Muslim homelands! And, so much for the US sending our brave soldiers to Afghanistan to secure THEIR country.
Indeed, so many students left for Canada that the US State Department has suspended the program.
Before I get into the story from St. Catherine’s that brought my attention to YES, check out the description of the Kennedy-Lugar YES program* for students from Muslim countries.
And for more, have a look at this US State Department AFS-USA Cluster Coordinator Manual (I kid you not that is the title of some d*** bureaucrat manual—no wonder we are sick of too much government!). Here is what the USDOS AFS-USA CCM tells us about YES (September 11th made them do it!):
The September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001 and the apparent negative view of Americans held in some regions, as well as the anti-Islamic or anti-Arab sentiment that gripped some places in the United States, brought renewed focus to the need for improved understanding across our cultures. Having long known that the benefits of high school exchange programs extend beyond the student into the community at large, the international education community responded to this call with an initiative to increase exchanges between the United States and countries with significant Muslim populations. 2003-2004 marked the inaugural year of the Youth Exchange Study (YES) Program. [emphasis is mine—ed]
Now here is the reality of what they created. From The Star (Last stop on the Afghan railway?):
ST. CATHARINES, ONT.—While everyone around him opted for Indian films, Ali Javan, a young Afghan from Mazar-e-Sharif, fell in love with Hollywood.
In the fall of 2009 he arrived in the United States for the year-long Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, an exclusive State Department initiative. Despite his fascination with American movies, the 15-year-old had every intention of returning to Afghanistan.
He felt that way even as more than a dozen of his fellow exchange students vanished that year, reappearing on the other side of the Peace Bridge as refugee claimants in Canada.
But Javan’s is not a Hollywood story. Too complicated for the big screen, his odyssey took him from Mazar-e-Sharif at the age of 15 to a school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he made few friends and never really settled.
Despite his longing to return to Afghanistan, he gave in to the pressure of his family to seek a better life and snuck into Canada like so many of the Afghan exchange students before him.
The defections since 2004 of scores of Afghans in the U.S. exchange program have now prompted the State Department to suspend the opportunity for a year.
The article goes on to tell us how Javan’s father in Afghanistan advised him to make a run for it and get to Canada. He follows his father’s advice, and then we are treated to a discussion about how hard his life is in Canada trying to make ends meet while sharing an apartment with another asylum seeker all paid for with Canadian welfare. Meanwhile, some young American is risking his or her life fighting for freedom for the Afghan people—maybe Ali Javan could go home and do the fighting himself!
Javan’s American sponsor is so disillusioned he has given up hosting the kids.
But before fleeing to Canada, Javan sat down to write a letter of explanation and thanks to his American host over the previous nine months, Terry Dougherty.
Dougherty, an IT administrator at Purdue University, had a soft spot for Afghanistan from the three years spent there in the 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer. Dougherty also had a soft spot for Javan, who he remembered as “extremely talented artistically and very bright.”
But Javan was the third Afghan exchange student in two years to leave Fort Wayne for an asylum bid in Canada. Dougherty had helped place the first two, who fled in 2009, with local host families. Their disappearance, he said, “kind of took the wind out of my sails.”
Javan’s decision to flee ended Dougherty’s participation in the YES program.
Glad to see someone wised up in this sorry mess.
Read it all.
* Kennedy is dead but Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana is still kicking around the US Senate. I plan to write to him and tell him it’s time to kill YES, keep Afghan young men in Afghanistan and save millions of tax payer dollars to boot.