This is one more story on how refugees are being harmed by the Chinese virus supposedly disproportionately to us white folks (that is the implicit suggestion anyway!).
When I saw this opinion piece, it reminded me to check the refugee camp virus crisis news. There is no new news—the media is poised to report that COVID-19 is running through refugee camps like wildfire. So far it isn’t, but, the warnings of pending doom are rampant. (And, we better damn well do something about it!)
Here in this Op-Ed from San Diego we are told there is no data on refugees who have Coronavirus, however the good doctors know that refugees there are being hit at a greater rate then who? Other migrants? Illegal aliens? African Americans? White people?
No, they really don’t know because on one thing opined, I agree—-there is no good data on refugees, on their health before arrival and the cost of their medical care here, their income, their rates of employment, the cost of educating the kids, their crime rates and the list goes on.
Yes, if you are willing to wait years for the Annual Report to Congress that the Office of Refugee Resettlement is supposed to be preparing (even during the Trump Administration ORR is dragging its feet) you might get some data.
However, much of the data there is based on phone interviews with refugees willing to be quizzed about their welfare use by a stranger on the phone, or based on inflated employment data from the contractors—great methods for getting at the truth.
Your local welfare agencies are not cataloging welfare use by immigration category, heck, I doubt they even pay any attention to broad categories like illegal status vs. legal refugee status when handing out government goodies.
How many times over the years have readers asked me—how much is all this refugee resettlement costing US taxpayers? You can’t even find out how many refugee kids are in your local school system, or how many refugees are using local health services! And, you know who is happy to keep it that way—the nine refugee contractors that monopolize all resettlement in America.
I do agree with the opinion writers on one thing!
“A national debate on the way we collect data on refugees is urgently needed.”
Here is a bit of what TALA AL-ROUSAN and CHERYL ANDERSON say in The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Commentary: Refugees must not be left behind in the U.S response to the coronavirus pandemic
Reopen the country or not? The answer may be complicated, but is surely “no” if we fail to control the novel coronavirus pandemic in certain communities.
Refugees are one community that is being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, yet data is not telling their story, threatening their survival once again.
Generations of refugees have been essential contributors to the economy, diversity and prosperity of San Diego.
More than 100,000 refugees have been resettled since the end of the Vietnam War, making it the second largest refugee resettlement city in the U.S. and home to half of California’s refugees.
The majority of refugees are clustered in El Cajon and City Heights, two of the top seven areas in San Diego with the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that refugees, although healthier than the general population when they first arrive, suffer “loneliness and social Isolation” resettlement as their health deteriorates over time. Researchers refer to this phenomenon as “intergenerational trauma,” which is passed on to children and persists over time. The pandemic is risking further alienation and social isolation of these communities.
So they were healthier BEFORE arriving in America? Then why not leave them where they were?
For example, despite the pandemic, many refugees are reluctant to access public assistance programs, including healthcare, because of the “public charge” rule, which is a White House policy that bars citizenship to immigrants and refugees who take advantage of public assistance programs.
Refugees are specifically exempt from the public charge rule! Facts please!
A report by the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., indicates that almost half of all refugees living in the U.S. have annual incomes that are less than half the federal poverty level, and that the majority work in the service industry. This could be as rideshare drivers or emergency responders or for other businesses deemed “essential” that make staying at home impossible.
When Ted Kennedy and his sidekick, Joe Biden, pushed through the Refugee Act of 1980, they promised the program was not importing poverty. Ho hum! I guess they lied.
In U.S. health systems, we rarely collect data on country of birth or refugee class. Population-based data is limited to data collected by the county health departments when the refugees first arrive in the U.S. and undergo health screening. In San Diego, mapping cases by ZIP code may be the only way to tell how the refugee community is being affected by the pandemic.
Observations of high rates of hospital admissions of Arab refugees with coronavirus was noticed by Arab American doctors…
Okay, so some Arab docs say they see a lot of Arabs with COVID? What are we supposed to do about that?
A national debate on the way we collect data on refugees is urgently needed.
It is almost impossible to get an accurate estimate of the number of refugees in the population carrying COVID-19….
But the authors are sure it is disproportionate and therefore unfair!
If it is so awful in America for refugees, it begs the question—maybe they should have been left in their own country or a safe one nearby?