Bowling Green again: Burmese can’t get drivers licenses

Why?  Because they can’t speak or read enough English!  So, they travel to Arizona or Colorado where it’s easier to obtain a license.

A couple of years ago we posted a whole series of stories about the trouble Burmese refugees were having in Bowling Green, KY—mostly because there were too many being resettled there.   Here is our Bowling Green archive (those Iraqi refugee terrorists were from Bowling Green too).

Now here is the drivers license story from Jenna Mink writing at the Bowling Green Daily News:

When Bu Reh came to Bowling Green from the jungle of Myanmar, he wanted a quality life for his family – a home, education, jobs and a car.

He didn’t know how difficult that would be.

While many encounter problems when adjusting to life in America, more than 50 refugees from the country, also called Burma, gathered last weekend at Holy Spirit Catholic Church to voice problems getting their driver’s licenses – issues that seriously affect their quality of life, they say. An estimated 1,600 Burmese refugees live in Bowling Green, according to the International Center, and more than 200 attend Holy Spirit.

After failing his driver’s permit test multiple times because he couldn’t understand the badly translated questions, Bu Reh invested about $1,000 to take his test in Arizona, which has better Burmese translation.

He got his driver’s license in Arizona, giving authorities the address of relatives who live there. After returning to Bowling Green and using it for awhile, the license was suspended and taken away.

His story is one example of how language barriers hinder communication and cause problems for international residents. Because of a lack of good translation, many refugees are unaware that it’s against the law to provide a fake address to get a license in another state. [Where was their resettlement agency?  Isn’t this part of their orientation to America (understanding our laws)?—ed] It’s also difficult to understand driving rules and pass the written and driving tests. Many refugees walk and ride bicycles, and they often rely on others to shuttle them, they say.

When the Rev. Steve Hohman asked the refugees how many had a valid Kentucky driver’s license, three out of about 50 raised their hands.

When he asked how many had traveled to Arizona or Colorado to get a license, nearly half raised their hands.

Other complaints?  (We are familiar with many others, here)

During the meeting, refugees spoke about housing problems, particularly broken items they claim their landlords will not repair. They also highlighted problems with discrimination on the bus system – one refugee said he often sits on the floor because no one will move over for him to sit down. Others complained about a lack of medical care because some doctors will not see them due to language barriers.

But, the majority of complaints focused on the driver’s license issue.

Waahhhh!  And, we have to shuttle them!

“The number one biggest need is transportation … it affects Americans, too, because a lot of us are shuttling them,” Bell said. “That’s the absolute biggest issue.”

What!  If you bring refugees to the US—you need to take care of them.  I’ve seen this lots of other places and it reminds me of the child who wanted a puppy, but then mommy and daddy had to take care of it!

It is simple!  Get enough volunteers to teach them English, and drive them until they are safe legal drivers!  Not enough volunteers?  Then you’ve resettled too many refugees.