The refugee industry is everywhere these days claiming that one of the most important reasons to import hundreds of thousands of refugees is that they revitalize crumbling cities.
In fact,. as I write this US refugee resettlement contractors, hoping to pressure Donald Trump to set a high ceiling for refugee admissions for FY2020 (which begins October 1 of this year), are hammering the big lie—refugees save dying cities.
Here is just one example, the Washington Post recently published an opinion piece by two leaders of World Relief (one of nine federally-funded refugee contractors) claiming just that and saying the Trump is hurting cities by reducing the numbers of impoverished refugees being admitted to the US.
But, get this, the New York Times ,in an extensive expose in August, tells us that yes, Bill Clinton’s Bosnians did bring some economic revitalization to St. Louis, but it didn’t last. The primary reason for the unfolding failure—Democrat-run cities are crime infested. (There has been no Republican mayor in St. Louis since 1949.)
The New York Times:
‘It’s Not the Same’: Why War Refugees Who Helped Revive St. Louis Are Leaving
[Article opens with some economic success stories. BTW, a large number of Bosnians are Muslims.]
For St. Louis, a city that had bled population for decades — it had about 400,000 residents in 1990, down from more than 800,000 in the 1950s — the influx of what was estimated to be the largest population of Bosnians outside Bosnia seemed to work magic. For the first time in generations, the urban narrative of abandoned houses, stagnant business and vanishing people appeared to be changing.
But it didn’t last.
Today, St. Louis, like some other Midwestern cities, is battling a new round of contraction, with a stagnant economy, challenged schools and one of the highest murder rates in the country. And over the past few years, the people who fled brutal violence and concentration camps in their homeland and created Little Bosnia have been fleeing again, to the suburbs.
The beginning of the end for the Bosnian community of St. Louis and the melting pot myth was the murder of a Bosnian young man by a gang of thugs. See my 2014 post about the murder.
A deadly hammer attack in Bevo Mill — in which Zemir Begic, a young Bosnian man out with his fiancée, was killed by four teenagers — shook the community in 2014. Bosnians marched in the streets, arguing that the police had not done enough to keep the neighborhood safe.
Similar stories have been playing out in American cities since the Baby Boom decades of the 20th century, and have proven hard to reverse. After mass flights to the suburbs, even heavy investment in urban centers, with shiny new business districts and rapidly changing downtowns, have often failed to help cities, particularly in the Midwest, replace the residents they had lost.
In St. Louis the process has been particularly painful, because the people who were fleeing were the very ones who had been seen as saviors.
At its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Bosnian population, including American-born Bosnians, reached about 70,000 in the city of St. Louis and the surrounding county, according to the International Institute of St. Louis, a charitable agency that sponsors many of the region’s refugees. Now, with some Bosnians having left the state entirely, the agency estimates that the figure is less than 50,000.
The International Institute of St. Louis is a subcontractor of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), but you can bet USCRI is still peddling the myth that refugees will save dying cities—maybe for a few years in the case of industrious Bosnians, but it won’t happen at all with extremely impoverished Africans.