Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

State Dept. refugee bureau head to visit Portland

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 17, 2012

Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard of the US Department of State’s refugee bureau will visit Portland, Oregon on Thursday. The head of the refugee bureau last visited Portland in September of 2010. A late notice of the visit is at the State Department’s refugee bureau website:

Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard will travel on July 19, 2012, to Portland, Oregon to participate in an event hosted by Mercy Corps to discuss the United States’ humanitarian aid and development strategy with the All China Youth Federation.

On July 20, Assistant Secretary Richard will meet with resettled refugees, local and state government officials, resettlement agencies and other community members involved in the resettlement of refugees.

Since 2009, Portland has welcomed nearly 2,700 refugees from 32 countries… Read more here

According to Assistant Secretary Richard’s account of that recent visit to Cleveland and Pittsburgh, this is what she learned from her travel:

…Local support is strong in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but gaps still exist in the program. 

Cleveland Dentist Hayat Ali told me how nearly every refugee she treats needs dental work. Very few refugees, however, are covered by dental insurance. Several people also told me about the need for interpreters to help those refugees who do not speak English to communicate with doctors, school officials and others. School officials in Cleveland told me how the No Child Left Behind Act did not exempt the test scores of recently-arrived refugee students from school statistics, which they feared was pulling down overall results for the schools. In both cities, limited bus service can prevent refugees from reaching English classes or jobs… Read more here

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