“Benefits” vs. “Challenges” of Refugee Resettlement Program

There is a little chart (Table 3, P. 20) in the GAO Report I mentioned in my previous post worth talking about.

You will note that at the top of the list of Benefits it says “refugees add diversity” to a town or city.  Would someone please tell me why adding diversity to a community is a good thing?  Who said so?  Why do so many fall for this myth? Why did the GAO simply parrot that old canard promoted by the resettlement contractors?

Check out our “Diversity” link at the top of this page  (LOL!  We have a lot of stuff here at RRW that even I forget we have!).  I’ll remind readers that Robert Putnam, a Harvard researcher and author, found just the opposite.

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.  [In other words, they get used to it over time, but it doesn’t mean that diversity has brought some over all good—ed]

Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”

So here are the wizards of smart at the GAO with their list of  “benefits” and “challenges” (couldn’t they come up with a better word than challenges?):

Benefits:

*Refugees add diversity to their communities [who says that is a good thing?—ed]

*The presence of refugees in a community teaches tolerance for others [in fact, I have noted the opposite–ed]

*Refugees take jobs that are difficult to fill [you mean when they can find a job—ed]

*Refugees are reliable, dedicated employees [as long as they can pray on the job—ed]

*Refugee-owned businesses create jobs [subsidized by the federal taxpayer—ed]

*Public services developed to assist refugees, such as transit programs, also benefit other vulnerable populations  [what!  we are putting in new transportation systems for refugees—ed]

Challenges:

*Communication can be difficult due to language and cultural barriers

*Mental health resources are limited for refugees who have experienced trauma

*The cost of interpreter services can strain service providers’ budgets, and some health care providers have chosen to stop serving refugees

*Refugee students with limited English proficiency can affect school districts’ performance outcomes

*Some refugees live in poverty due to unemployment

*Some refugees are unfamiliar with social norms and laws in the United States

So, in conclusion, we have a few weak benefits and some very significant “challenges” in the cost side when analyzing the refugee resettlement program.

An afterthought:  This is a little thought experiment.  Let’s pretend that a bunch of white or black Minnesotans wanted to add diversity to the little Mogadishu section of Minneapolis.    Let’s say those Americans want to bring a little American culture to the neighborhood—maybe open a lingerie store with mannequins in the window, and let’s say a bar and a liquor store.   The bar might be blaring hard rock music through its open door.  Are they bringing diversity to the Somali neighborhood?  Yes!  Would they be welcome?  NO!   Why don’t we say (anywhere in the world) that Muslims need to be taught tolerance (the GAO says we need to be taught tolerance)?  So, why does that diversity c*** only go one way?

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