I’m speechless! After years of reading one fluffy-puffy piece after another about refugees seeing their first snow, we are beginning to see major mainstream publications (Christian Science Monitor in this case) reporting on the struggle small towns are having with the huge numbers of refugees the US State Department and its contractors*** are dispersing across America.
Pay attention Spartanburg, SC and any other town contemplating “welcoming” refugees!
The NYT might still be hiding the source of the influx by not reporting on the refugee program, but other media is not so deceptive. By the way, I expect every person who read the NYT story yesterday, scratched their heads and wondered how so many Somalis got here!
From the Christian Science Monitor entitled, ‘For small-town America, new immigrants pose linguistic, cultural challenges:’
Marshalltown, Iowa — The voice was frantic – and unintelligible to the 911 dispatcher. “Ma’am, I cannot understand you,” she said. After 80 seconds, one word leapt out: “Riverview.”
On a warm July evening in 2012, while Marshalltown, Iowa, celebrated Independence Day, three refugee children from Myanmar (Burma) drowned in the Iowa River. The drownings at Riverview Park cast a grim light on the challenges facing both the city and its newest immigrants, most of whom spoke little English and had scant understanding of life in their new home – including the perils, known to more established residents, of the river’s treacherous currents. [Where was their resettlement contractor which should have been assimilating the refugees to their new home?–ed]
“Many towns are struggling to cope!”
For two decades, rural communities across the Midwest have been finding ways to absorb Latino immigrants. Now, a new generation of immigrants arriving from far-flung places such as Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, and West Africa has brought a bewildering variety of cultures and languages. Many towns are struggling to cope.
Again, speechless, a reference to the meatpackers wanting refugee labor (see our 2008 post about Clinton bring Bosnians to Iowa for the meatpackers):
Experts say the changing face of immigration in the rural Midwest reflects stricter federal enforcement. Tighter border security has slowed the influx of immigrants from Latin America entering the United States illegally. Meanwhile, the meatpacking industry has looked to refugees, who enjoy legal status, as a way of avoiding problems with undocumented Hispanic workers.
By the way, they don’t say it here, but due to a Clinton Executive Order that Bush did not rescind, local governments (you the taxpayers!) or any agency getting any federal funding is required to supply interpreters for the myriad languages and dialects the refugees bring to your town!
Much of the difficulty surrounding the new immigration is linguistic. Language barriers complicate services from law enforcement to health care. Ms. Beach recalls a school expulsion hearing that required two interpreters – the first to translate from one dialect of Myanmar to another, the second to translate into English.
See Ten Things your town needs to know before ‘welcoming’ refugees. See also our archive on ‘Meatpackers changing the face of small town America’ with their insatiable appetite for cheap labor.
*** Nine major federal contractors. Go here for a list of all the State Department subcontractors working in a town near you!
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)