Detroit: Despite high unemployment, Lutherans and feds still pouring refugees into the area

This starts out as the usual feel-good fluffy-puffy story about a happy Iraqi refugee landing in Detroit, Michigan, but there are some very interesting nuggets of information that appear mid-story.

From the National Journal:

Detroit’s suburbs have absorbed tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees in recent years after violence erupted in the wake of the war. The established Arab community in Detroit has made it the top destination for Iraqi refugees—and that, in turn, has made Michigan one of the states receiving the largest influx of refugees.

Protestors in Dearborn: A large number of Dearborn’s Muslims are on US Terror Watch List. From Jihad Watch

From 2010 to 2014, Michigan saw a 38 percent increase in the number of refugees moving to the state, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. The vast majority are fleeing Iraq, where they faced violence and retaliation for working with U.S. troops during the war, like Al Saady, or because they belong to a religious minority. The number of Iraqi refugees arriving in Michigan nearly doubled in the last four years, with 2,751 arriving in 2014.

The growing number of refugees exacerbated the economic strain on Detroit communities as it struggled during the Great Recession. Refugees had trouble finding work, and staff was stretched thin at the social service agencies that help families resettle in the area. In 2008, the State Department started limiting Iraqi resettlement to Detroit to those who had immediate family members there. But many of those Iraqi refugees who have been resettled elsewhere in the years since still end up moving to Detroit anyway, says Mihaela Mitrofan, refugee-resettlement program manager for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.  [Readers, it is called “secondary migration” in resettlement industry lingo. The Iraqis want to live with their own kind, as do the Somalis that flock to Minnesota, but God forbid you want to live with people you are culturally comfortable with!—ed]

“With everything that’s happening with ISIS, we anticipate another wave of refugees from Iraq and also Syria,” says Mitrofan.

Since the middle of 2007, Lutheran Social Services has resettled more than 8,000 Iraqi refugees in the Detroit area. Christian Iraqis are usually integrated into the large Chaldean community in the northern Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights. Chaldeans are a Catholic minority group in Iraq.  [Christians are only about 22-25% of the Iraqis we resettle.—ed]

Muslim Iraqis, like Al Saady, are usually sent to Dearborn, a suburb just southwest of Detroit that has provided a home for Arab-Americans of Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni, and other backgrounds for nearly 100 years. Lutheran Social Services runs a small office on the city’s main drag, above a hookah bar and across the street from a halal grocery store.

Getting them their welfare goodies as per the Obama colonizing plan!

One LSS staff member, Arjwan Khadoori, helped 13 Iraqis resettle in Dearborn this past January. Khadoori tracked down housing, took them to buy groceries, and guided them through the process of registering for Social Security cards, Medicaid, driver’s licenses, and food stamps. Each person also receives $925 in federal cash assistance to help tide them over until they find work.

Another staff member, Jawhar Altahesh, persuades employers to hire the refugees. This can be tough, he says, especially in an area with such high unemployment. Sometimes employers will accuse him of taking away jobs from Americans. Even Arab-American Muslims might not want to hire women or Shiite Muslims.  [By the way, we are bringing an almost equal number of Sunnis and Shiites out of Iraq.—ed]

“I tell them that’s against the law,” says Altahesh, “but it doesn’t matter.”

From November through January, the Dearborn office helped find full-time jobs for 30 of 50 refugees seeking employment in Wayne County.

Michigan received the 4th highest number of refugees in FY2014, here.

Iraqis want to live among their kind of people; Americans called racists for wishing the same

This may, or may not, still be the largest mosque in America, but since there are so many grandiose mosque-building projects on-going, I doubt it.

Update:  Could there be terrorists among them, ABC says so!

Every time I see a glowing story like this one about the growing Iraqi “community” in Dearborn, Michigan, I’m reminded that there would never be a story about Americans with Western European origins living in a community that shares its cultural values without it being a story about racism, hatred, xenophobia and “unwelcoming” rednecks.

Conversely, it is absolutely fine and understandable, even celebrated, that Iraqis want to live with their kind.

BTW, there is a mention in here about an Iraqi resettled by the US State Department in Montana who bailed-out of that backwater as fast as he could and beat a path to Dearborn!

From Al Arabiya (emphasis mine):

Driving through the streets of Dearborn, Michigan, one may easily confuse their surroundings with that of the Middle East. The city of Dearborn, which is surrounded on three sides by the economically embattled Detroit, Michigan, is often referred to as “little Iraq,” for its large Iraqi contingency. The Iraqi community in Dearborn has grown significantly since the onset of the Iraq war in 2003. While the new Iraqi diaspora in the United States is undoubtedly in a safer environment than their native country, it seems these communities have left a war-ravaged country, only to begin fighting a different battle: One of acclimation to a foreign country.

The Iraqi diaspora is now dispersed throughout the world – with the United States accepting well over 90,000 Iraqi refugees since 2003. Many refugees sent to the United States are moving to Dearborn, largely due to the fact that there is a large Lebanese community establishment there, as well as a “newer” Iraqi immigrant base that came to the United States in the early 1990s after the first Gulf War.

“It is no accident that many are finding their way to Michigan and carving a niche for themselves. I think there is a comfort in being in the vicinity of a large concentration of mostly Lebanese coreligionists,” said Dr. Hani Bawardi, a professor of History and Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan. However, “there is no evidence that, save entry level jobs in Lebanese-owned grocery stores and restaurants, that the two communities are coordinating some form of safety nets for newcomers,” Bawardi said. But, “being part of an Arab American population may have softened the blow, at least psychologically,” he added.


Flooding in

Since 2003, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 Iraqi refugees a year come to the Dearborn, Michigan area in search of social, economic and professional stability. Refugees are not given the choice of where to live, but, the U.S. State Department gives strong consideration to placing refugees into communities where some sort of support system is in place.

On this last point, a few years back the US State Department actually stopped overloading the Dearborn area with Iraqis (there are no jobs! as this article mentions), but it would seem that even the State Department social planners can’t engineer the human desire to want to live among people one is culturally compatible with.

Iraqis “community cushion” is a good thing they say, what about a “community cushion” for struggling white Americans?  The hypocrisy is maddening.

Over 30 percent of the Detroit area’s residents are of Arab descent, which brings with it a strong sense of social, cultural and religious understanding. The streets of the Detroit area are lined with mosques, Arab restaurants, and businesses run by Arab-Americans. The community “cushion” eases the anxiety that most refugees feel, as they are expected to start working within 12 months of arriving to the U.S.. Particularly in areas like Detroit, which were hit hard by the collapse of the auto industry, the challenges of being a foreigner seeking employment are only amplified within the context of an embattled economy.

Iraqis have “not lost their unity in identity!” 

Despite these years of tumult, Faily said that the Iraqi people have not lost their unity in identity. “The Iraqi identity is very clear,” he said, “they share the same culture, food, and history,” among other things. When you speak to an Iraqi, Faily said, “you ask them are you Iraqi?

They share the same culture, food, and history and wish to live among their kind, but if you are an American with a Western European background, no such wish is permitted to you!

For new and ambitious readers, we have 594 previous posts on Iraqi Refugees!

No jobs, mental illness plague Iraqi refugees in Dearborn, MI

Since we are on the subject of immigrants with untreated mental illness (see yesterday’s horrifying story from the Boston Globe), this story from Newsweek about Iraqi refugees struggling in Michigan fits right in.

Although Iraq is now governed by a democratically elected government that we gave them at a very high cost to America in blood and treasure, we are still pouring Iraqi refugees into the US for myriad reasons, but like the first sad tale this article tells, some are hankering for the good old days when Saddam Hussein ran the place.

Here is Mohasen wishing she could return to the days of being a ballet instructor in Iraq.  She says she can’t find a ballet job here in the US and must work menial jobs to make ends meet.  But, the reality is that there isn’t ballet in Iraq now either since the Islamists are running the show (no little girls in skimpy costumes).  Mohasen lamenting the loss of her good life in Iraq:

Mohasen flips through an album full of photographs and looks at pictures of young children in delicate yellow ballerina costumes, leaping around a stage. She recites all 20 of their names—students from years ago—calling them her “butterflies,” which was also the name of their ballet troupe. The pictures are reminders of Mohasen’s former life in Baghdad—a life that she knows she will never have again, so long as she is a refugee in the United States.

Newsweek then tells us that 59,000 Iraqis have arrived in the US since 2007. Actually that is wrong, if you go to WRAPS they have a special category just for Iraqis and Iraqi SIVsThe numbers are 77,534 refugees plus an additional 8,119 SIVs.

Michigan got 12,000 plus Iraqis since 2007, second only to California with over 19,000 between Iraqi refugees and SIVs in the same time period.  How many of those do you think are on some type of welfare?  I bet it’s nearly 100%.

No jobs, mental problems and prejudice.  Prejudice from fellow Arabs (Newsweek doesn’t say it, but it’s Muslim v. Chaldean Christian prejudice most likely)!    How can that be, only white Americans are supposed to be prejudiced?  Right?

When the last envoy of U.S. troops crossed the border into Kuwait, it marked the end of America’s war in Iraq. Billions of dollars had been spent and thousands of lives lost. But while the U.S. celebrated and welcomed its troops home, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were left with a far different reality—redefining their lives as refugees in unfamiliar countries. Now they’re facing a battle of a different sort: assimilating into mainstream America. The challenges range from job woes and the prejudice of earlier immigrants to serious psychological wounds sustained in war.

“Unwelcoming ” Dearborn makes finding a job harder.  Really?  I thought it was the US job market and Michigan’s job market, mental health problems, and lack of English, etc.   Readers we haven’t had so many stories lately, but for awhile we had almost weekly reports of Iraqi refugees somewhere in the US being unhappy with their new lives in America, some even returned to the Middle East in disgust.  LOL! Type ‘Iraqi refugees unhappy‘ into our search function and see what I mean.   Also, click on our Iraqi Refugee category for literally hundreds of posts (551 to be exact!) on problems with Iraqi refugees.  Somebody should write a book!

Many of the refugees headed to Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest concentration of Arabs, as well as Iraqi expats, in the U.S. According to Hassam Abdulkhaleq, program manager of the psychosocial rehabilitation center at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)—one of the largest Arab activist organizations in the country—the first wave of Iraqis arrived in Michigan during the first Gulf War, with a second influx coming at the start of the occupation of Iraq in 2003. Many of the second-wave refugees are Chaldean Christians, who were persecuted along with other religious minorities after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

With the beginning of the war in 2003, resources for the Detroit-area refugee population focused on Iraqis who were particularly vulnerable because of their religious beliefs. Refugees who had settled in the area in years past were not always so welcoming. “There is a blending-in problem,” says Manuel Tancer, a professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University. “And I think it’s a problem with any immigrant.” Tancer counsels victims of torture in the Detroit metropolitan area. “This is an issue when you have people coming to a particular area because they have relatives there. [They are] not always accepted happily and gladly by the people that have been there for a while.”

The unwelcoming environment only made it more difficult for Iraqis to integrate into their new homes. They were seeking acceptance not only from Americans but from the established refugee community as well. The lack of support they received made it that much more difficult for them to find quality work—even if they’d had prosperous careers back in Iraq.

Untreated mental illness is prevalent:

 Like many other Iraqi refugees in the U.S., Mohasen and Fatima’s struggles are exacerbated by past traumas. For most, the war they fled is an ever-present reality. Muntaha Fleful left Iraq after being attacked by a Baghdad militia in 2004. She was resettled in the U.S. in 2008, after being treated for her injuries in Jordan. Now, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and receives treatment from ACCESS’s psychosocial rehab center.

According to Abdulkhaleq, the center’s program manager, PTSD tends to cause nightmares, poor concentration, and extreme anger. He thinks that thousands of refugees are suffering from mental illnesses associated with war, but that only a small percentage receive treatment due to limited resources in the area.

Oh, geez, will Syrians be coming next?   Dearborn residents worry that the diversity-is-beautiful gang in the State Department will soon throw Syrians into the Michigan melting pot!  (that is not how Newsweek says it!):

The Iraqi population in Dearborn has been the focal point for refugee aid over the past 10 years. But now that the Iraq War has ended, that focus seems to be dropping off in favor of newer conflicts, such as the one in Syria. Although the civil war there continues to spiral, the U.S. has yet to aid Syrian refugees. But officials in Dearborn think it is only a matter of time before they see an influx of Syrians in the area, and worry that the spike may overwhelm already strained resources.

Read it all.

Note:  We have already taken the first step in that direction and Obama has granted Temporary Protected Status to Syrians, here.  That means any Syrians who are in the US already for whatever reason (even illegally) are temporary refugees and are given permission to stay and work indefinitely.  (It is supposed to be temporary, but never is!)