They must be having problems in Boise with refugee numbers…

…or this news story wouldn’t be out there.

From State Impact (NPR):

Idaho residents know well the reversal of fortune the state has seen since the start of the recession.  The state, which not so long ago had the fastest growing economy in the nation, has been hit hard.  In a broadcast story tomorrow, we’ll look at how Idaho’s economic troubles have affected the state’s refugee population, focusing in on a particular family.

First, a little background.  How many refugees are resettled in Idaho each year?  Here are the numbers, according the the Idaho Office for Refugees, which has statewide responsibility for providing assistance and services for refugees.  [visit the article for the numbers]

Beware employment numbers put out by biased resettlement agencies—their future contracts depend on their ability to find work for the refugees they bring to your town.  The real unemployment numbers are  much worse then this article tells us.

Below are the available employment statistics.  In 2005, 95 percent of the Idaho Office for Refugees’ employable caseload found work, a rate IOR Director Jan Reeves calls “the high-end baseline” for the years preceding the recession.  By 2007, the employment rate had dipped. [but refugees kept coming—ed]


Looking at the top table, it’s easy to see that 2008, 2009 and 2010 stand out for the relatively large numbers of refugees coming to Idaho.  Reeves says those numbers were based on assessments of the state’s capacity [there is no formal assessment of capacity that I am aware of—ed] to resettle refugees.  Why did the numbers go up even as employment opportunities became scarcer?  “The projections come out in advance of the year,” he says, “so the numbers were determined, really, before the full extent of the recession was known.”

Resettlement contractors like the International Rescue Committee in Boise find any sort of job, part-time job, anything! just to say the refugee is employed.  There is no follow-up statistical study available to the public to show how many kept the job for any length of time.

A little known racket for some businesses (something I learned about here in Maryland) is that certain companies get federal subsidies (payroll tax breaks) to hire immigrants.  But those only last so long.  So businesses do what businesses do and let those workers go and get a fresh batch of immigrant workers (with federally subsidized pay) and the beat goes on!

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reveals in this piece as well that once you get the refugee flow going to a certain city, it is hard to stop because the first refugees bring their extended families. Not reported in this article is that the IRC helps with the paperwork for the family members and gets paid for that too—by you, the taxpayer.

Defending high unemployment among refugees, the IRC spokesman goes on to say that the refugees are here for protection, not necessarily to supply employment.  However, it was explicitly clear when the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 passed Congress that the refugees were not to come here to be on welfare—this was not about importing poverty—but that is exactly what is happening now.

Here this same IRC spokesman, Bob Carey, is wailing to Congress to give them more welfare money because refugees can’t find work.

Someone must be making waves in Idaho about refugee resettlement or we wouldn’t be seeing this twisted defense of the program by NPR.