Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Posts Tagged ‘Burmese refugees’

Nickel City Smiler docu. featured in Buffalo News

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 12, 2011

The Nickel City Smiler documentary is featured in a Buffalo News article.

A story of anguish and hope

Film tells a tale of Buffalo’s Burmese residents through the eyes of one refugee

It’s a documentary with a catchy title — “Nickel City Smiler” — about a proud Burmese refugee named Smiler and all the dreams and burdens he carries with him in his busy life on Buffalo’s West Side.

The story of the Burmese in Buffalo is told through the sometimes anguished thoughts and words of Smiler Greely, and the 103-minute film is a gritty look at the plight of Burmese refugees here…

…This is no sugar-coated version of the daily lives of refugees who escaped a climate of repression, rape and death in their homelands for an uncertain future in one of America’s poorest cities, mostly on the West Side.

The viewer sees boarded-up buildings, empty lots, burned-out buildings, rampant graffiti, rocks thrown through neighborhood windows and the anguish of new Americans fighting unsuccessful battles with local agencies…

…the challenges are great for these newest Americans.

Greely cites the limitations of the people resettling here, often after being traumatized for years in refugee camps…

…The film, through Greely, also questions how well-prepared some of the resettlement agencies are for bringing these refugees to Buffalo. He cites the case of two families, with a total of 16 members, being resettled in the same apartment, even though the two families speak different languages.

The co-star here may be Greely’s young son, Moe Joe, a bright, adorable preteen who learns all about his Grant-Hampshire-Arkansas streets neighborhood — finding a knife on the ground, spotting a white drug-like substance in his yard and hearing friends talk about a shooting they’ve witnessed.

Family members talk about threats from street gangs, and the viewer sees the aftermath of a brick thrown through the family’s front window.

“We are not here to fight with these street animals,” Moe Joe says. “You see, animals are in the forest, but this is an amazing animal … This is what I call a street animal.”… Read more here

Posted in Buffalo, Burma/Myanmar, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, children, dangerous neighborhoods, housing, International Institute of Buffalo, Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County, Journey's End Refugee Services, Journey's End Refugee Services, Karen, mental health, neglect, safety | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yet another TX resettlement agency neglected refugees – Alliance for Multicultural Community Services

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 3, 2011

There is a new State Department monitoring report that we acquired via a FOIA that documents neglect of refugees. The State Department cited the Houston-based refugee resettlement agency, Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, an ECDC affiliate, for “partial-compliance” with their State Department refugee resettlement contract. Findings include:

  • The Alliance had placed all three refugee families visited at home by monitors in housing with problems, including serious mold, roach infestation, and a serious plumbing problem that forced an Iraqi refugee family to move.
  • A Burundian refugee woman did not know how to use either the stove or a thermostat in her apartment.
  • The Burundian family’s second bedroom had no furniture, so the couple’s infant and 2-year-old toddler had to sleep in the parent’s room.
  • The Burundian refugee family and a Burmese refugee family reported that the Alliance failed to give them required living-room furnishings, so the families had to garbage-pick sofas and chairs from dumpsters.
  • The Alliance did not give refugees pocket-money, as required.
  • The Burundian refugee family — with the infant and toddler — reported that the Alliance did not give them food or supplies for their infant upon their arrival as required, and that the Alliance did not use child safety seats when transporting the family to appointments.
  • The Burmese refugee family reported that the Alliance did not have interpretation at the airport upon their arrival or during orientation. The Alliance finally hired someone who spoke their Karen dialect over four months after their arrival.
  • Orientation to health care services in the area appeared to be incomplete, as both the Burundian and Burmese families expressed anxiety over their children’s medical needs and uncertainty about how to handle emergencies.
  • The Burundian and Burmese families expressed anxiety over their prospects for self-sufficiency.
  • The Alliance did not provide any structured training plan to new employees, as required.
  • Refugee client case note logs contained minimal information, and often failed to record home visits. Monitors were often unable to verify that the Alliance provided refugee clients with the minimum-required services of the State Department refugee contracts (see contract documents – the Cooperative Agreement and Operational Guidance).
  • Monitors noted Insect infestation in one or more refugee apartments.
  • Monitors noted that the Alliance did not give some refugee(s) a ready-to eat meal upon arrival after long intercontinental flights, as required.

Then there are these comments about the Alliance from 2010. Note that three years after this State Department monitoring the Alliance is still putting refugees in substandard housing, etc.

So, in other words, the State Department noticed all these problems and three years later many of the problems have not ceased. What does that tell us about the effectiveness of the State Department monitoring trips? The State Department does not use any penalties for resettlement agencies’ they find in “non-compliance” or “partial-compliance” with the so-called minimum requirements of the State Department refugee contracts. Resettlement agencies don’t have to give back any of the government contract money they received for agreeing to provide minimum services and then not providing them.

Posted in Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, beds, Burma/Myanmar, Burundian, children, Cooperative Agreement, cultural/community orientation, post arrival, ECDC, food, furnishings, lack of, health, home visits, housing, housing, substandard, Houston, Iraqi, Karen, language, language interpretation/translation, lack of, meeting refugees at the airport, Operational Guidance, pocket-money, rats and roaches, State Department, Texas, transportation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Charities Rockford put refugees in substandard housing, ignored minimum requirements

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 28, 2011

According to a U.S. State Department Office of Admissions’ monitoring report recently released Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockford is yet another refugee resettlement agency that didn’t bother to meet even the minimum requirements of its refugee contract.

The 2007 inspection report noted the following:

  • There were broken or missing fire detectors in three of the four homes monitors visited.
  • The stove was not working in an apartment occupied by three Burmese Chin refugee men.
  • The bathtubs in two Burundian refugee families’ apartment were not functioning properly, in one case resulting in serious – if not dangerous leakage.
  • A Burmese Karen refugee family reported that seepage after rainfall soaks three-quarters of the wall-to-wall living-room carpet.
  • Of the four families monitors visited only one understood orientation subjects required by the Cooperative Agreement (the government refugee contract).
  • A Burundian refugee family and a Burmese Chin refugee man said that no one from Catholic Charities Rockford greeted them upon arrival that spoke any language known to them.

Also see the Operational Guidance contract document which lists minimum requirements that resettlement agencies promise to give refugee clients.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, Burundian, Catholic, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockford, Chin, community/cultural orientation, Cooperative Agreement, cultural/community orientation, post arrival, faith-based, housing, housing, substandard, Illinois, Karen, language interpretation/translation, lack of, Operational Guidance, Rockford, State Department, USCCB | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New inspection report released on Catholic Community Services Seattle

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 24, 2011

We recently received a new batch of State Department refugee resettlement agency monitoring reports. According to a 2007 monitoring report monitors found that Catholic Community Services Seattle (CCS) was only in “partial compliance” with it’s resettlement contract. Problems included the following:

  • A Burmese refugee family of five lived in a two-bedroom apartment with their 19-year-old niece. The sleeping space did not seem adequate for this family, and two children did not have beds (note: the Operational Guidance contract document requires that agencies make sure housing has an appropriate number of bedrooms/sleeping areas and beds for refugee families). The 19-year-old and two children slept in one room with a six-year-old sleeping on the floor. The husband, wife, and a three-year-old child slept in another room, with the three-year old on the floor. The family said that they would like beds for the children, but there was not enough floor space. None of the beds had bed frames, as required. The family told monitors that car seats were not used for the children when the agency picked them up at the airport.
  • A single Burmese male refugee lived with four roommates in a two-bedroom apartment. He expressed concern that no one had talked to him about a job or about his finances. He walked one hour to class and back and said he was not shown how to take public transportation. He slept in a room with two others. He did not have a bed frame and he stored his clothing on his mattress and in a plastic basket on the floor.
  • A Burundian refugee family of six was living with a grown daughter in a two-bedroom apartment. There did not seem to be an appropriate number of bedrooms for the family. In one bedroom, a 19-year-old daughter, a four-year-old granddaughter, a seven-year-old son, and another grown daughter slept in three beds that they pushed together forming one bed due to lack of floor space. The husband, wife, and 11-year-old child slept in the second bedroom. The family also said that they needed cold-weather clothing for the children.
  • A Somali refugee mother with two minor children said that CCS did not give her much help, especially when she requested transportation help for health appointments for her children.
  • Case notes were so poor that monitors could not determine whether CCS had given refugees required services and/or material items.

If any of these issues seems small or petty, they are not. The State Department only requires refugee resettlement agencies to give refugees certain minimum-required services and material items, which are quite minimal (check out Operational Guidance). To not even meet these minimum requirements is 1) contract fraud, and 2) unethical (especially for a so-called faith-based agency, and 3) just wrong to do to these refugee people who have suffered so much already and need a few basic items and services to try to start a new life in America. Secondly, the taxpayers should be getting what they’re paying for.

Posted in beds, Burma/Myanmar, Burundian, Catholic, Catholic Community Services Seattle, children, clothes, community/cultural orientation, faith-based, furnishings, lack of, housing, overcrowding, Operational Guidance, Seattle, Somali, State Department, transportation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Upset Texas Pilgrim’s Pride employees complain about Burmese refugee workers

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 8, 2011

Employees of a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing plant in Nacogdoches, Texas (in east Texas between Dallas and Houston) are e-mailing and blogging media outlets to complain about new Burmese refugee workers. Officials at the plant with 4000 workers say there are another 3,500 jobs in meat processing plants within 30 miles of the company, so that the companies have depleted the local labor market, and after advertising for employees for two years they still couldn’t fill the spots. The company decided to hire more than two hundred Burmese refugees to fill the gap.

Locals contend, however, that the company is not offering a wage that is attractive to citizens, and that working conditions include 10-12 hours without a break, and if a worker doesn’t show up plant officials require other workers to work their shift. If they don’t, the company considers it leaving early even though the employee has already completed his/her shift. Also, if workers are sick the company does not give them time off even though the law requires companies with over 50 workers to give employees emergency leave. Others claim the company has placed the refugees in housing that consists of a run-down former nursing home. Counterarguments are found in comments and blogs, here, here and here An article at the KTRE ABC Channel 9 website tells more.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) – Inside Pilgrim’s Pride, ten Burmese refugees are learning how to process poultry. Yesterday was orientation. Today, training began.

At the end of the day, the workers came off their shift tired, but satisfied.

” Great first day because this is the first day in this company that I work. Very, very good,” said Ma Thi Yar, the group’s trainer.

“They have refugee status which is a special status under our laws that give them a right to work here,” said John Thomasson, human resources manager at Pilgrim’s Pride.

Yar guided the group of ten workers through their first day. They arrive from various Texas cities, but most have lived in Houston for six months to two years. Most are in their early 20’s. Like many young men their age, they’re wanting to start a new future…

…For now the group is living in a boarding home, a former alcohol treatment facility. Each week they’ll be joined by others with similar pasts and similar goals. Additional arrivals are expected each week. Pilgrim’s is hiring the workers to launch a new manual poultry deboning line.

The company says it offers jobs to anyone, but the local qualified job market is depleted. They call the Burma connection an innovative approach for economic development.

“We have great benefits here at Pilgrim’s,” Thomasson said. “We have very competitive kinds of packages and those are the kinds of things we offer to the refugees, just like we would offer them to anyone else.”

Already, upset Pilgrim’s Pride employees have begun e-mailing and blogging media outlets. One wrote temporary workers were sent home early yesterday and the Burmese stepped in their place. Thomasson said today no employee has been sent home in order to make room for the Burmese.

“We’re going to Houston and other places in the U.S. to bring in workers who have an absolute right to work here. So we’re just casting the net among other residents in the United States for potential employees.

The Burmese fill in the gap as they start a new life in a new city and a new country… Read more here

Once again we seem to have refugees stuck between a company and its disgruntled workers.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, employment/jobs for refugees, housing, meatpacking industry, secondary migration, refugee, Texas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Useless basic essentials for refugees?

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 28, 2011

According to an article in the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette refugees sometimes have little use for the basic and essential items given to them by refugee resettlement agencies, and required by State Department refugee contracts. Strangely, useless items are said to include such things as cooking utensils and beds.

…Fort Wayne very likely has one of the largest populations of Burmese living outside Myanmar. There is no precise count, but the estimate is more than 6,000. An average of 125 Burmese were sent by the federal government to settle in Fort Wayne each year between 1993 and 2006. In 2007 that number increased to 700 and to 800 in 2008. But those numbers don’t include what is referred to as secondary migration, the many people who were initially settled elsewhere but who moved to Fort Wayne to be closer to family, friends and the city’s growing Burmese community.

When refugees are sent to Fort Wayne, they are given a small sum of money to buy essentials. The refugees are told they need to use the money to buy cooking utensils and beds, for example. But sometimes the items they are supposed to buy are of little use to Burmese… Read more here

I guess I’m not understanding how simple cooking utensils and beds could be of little use to any refugee no matter what their ethnicity is. In fact, looking through the State Department’s Operational Guidance contract document listing of basic necessities that resettlement agencies must give to refugees I can’t find any useless items, e.g. towels, can openers, an alarm clock, etc.

We’ve actually been lobbying the State Department for years, to no avail, to add a few basic essentials to the list, e.g. dictionaries, umbrellas, curtains, hangers, phones and phone service, stamps & envelopes, etc.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, Fort Wayne, Operational Guidance, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Bronx Tale

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 1, 2011

Some of the last of the Nepali-Bhutanese refugees resettled to the Bronx by the IRC are now out-migrating. An article in the New York Times in September 2009 reported that the IRC had placed the Nepali-Bhutanese refugees in a Bronx apartment building with a weed-choked front courtyard and grimy staircases (here). The refugees’ apartments were only furnished with a couple of bureaus and several beds that doubled as couches, and little else The IRC declined an interview for the documentary The Refugee Syndrome about these refugees. The current New York Times article tells more.

For two years, a five-story walk-up apartment building in the Bronx has served as a small beachhead for a new immigrant community: refugee families from the South Asian nation of Bhutan. From this new home on University Avenue, where they were placed by a resettlement agency, the families have made their first, tentative steps in an unfamiliar culture and language.

But now they are on the move again. In the year since The New York Times profiled the building and the eight Bhutanese families who were living there, four of the families have left for other states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont and North Carolina — and most members of a fifth have moved to Albany…

…Yet the experiences of the families on University Avenue also say something about New York. Often portrayed as an ideal spot for new immigrants, with its array of public services and advocacy groups and its fertile mix of ethnicities, the city may not necessarily have all that a newcomer needs to build a future. Indeed, a trove of census data released in December shows how immigrants to America in the last decade have spread out from the big cities where they have traditionally clustered, or bypassed them altogether.

This is especially true for new immigrant populations like the Bhutanese, who, numbering more than 250 since 2008, have arrived in New York in small numbers and lack established social networks to turn to for support. Some are improvising, creating those communities elsewhere — in smaller, less expensive cities where relatives have already been resettled.

Those who have left the Bronx building said they were driven out of the city mainly by the high cost of living, particularly rent.

During his year in New York City, in the throes of the economic downturn, Mr. Mishra and his two sisters struggled to find jobs and were barely able to cover basic expenses, including the $975 monthly rent for their one-bedroom apartment. While new refugees have immediate access to financial support and other services from government and private sources, that aid often begins to dissipate after several months…

…Officials at the International Rescue Committee, the resettlement program based in New York that brought the Bhutanese to University Avenue, acknowledged the difficulties that the city posed for many refugees. While New York offers extraordinary advantages, they said, including an extensive public transportation system and a network of organizations accustomed to working with immigrants, it could also be costly and, for some, emotionally overwhelming…

…Abhi Siwakoti, another Bhutanese refugee, decided to leave New York City after trying for months to cover his family’s expenses, including the $1,200 rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the University Avenue building… Read more here

The question that remains however is why the IRC placed these refugees in the Bronx to begin with. The rents were sky-high before the refugees arrived. Crime was rampant. Although the IRC refers to the area’s extensive public transportation system, refugees report never having been to Manhattan. Burmese refugee clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York reported that they had never been to the Statue of Liberty.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, Catholic, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, dangerous neighborhoods, furnishings, lack of, IRC, Nepali Bhutanese, NYC, safety, secondary migration, refugee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cultural acclimation via rat bites

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 21, 2010

In the black and white thinking of refugee officials even a rat biting a baby can’t be as bad as the circumstances from which refugees have escaped. Would you rather have the refugee family die back in a refugee camp? An article in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette tells how a rat bit a Burmese refugee baby in an apartment. If only the refugees had complained about the rats, but its an acclimation problem you see. But isn’t that why we have refugee resettlement agencies to help refugees with these tasks?

…A report that a toddler had been bitten by a mouse or rat would cause most Americans fear and outrage.

When Dr. Charles Coats – who treated 19-month-old Sage Dar for the bite – learned what had caused it, he was incensed.

You just don’t hear about rats or mice in the United States attacking babies,” Coats said. “You should never have to worry about your baby being bitten in your own home.”…

…Be Ki, Sage Dar’s mother, lives in Autumn Woods Apartments on the city’s far southeast side with her three children, while her husband works in Illinois. She speaks no English.

…She said that as the complex’s clientele became largely Burmese three years ago, it has been an educational experience for everyone. Recent immigrants have had to learn how to make their way in a bewildering new society, and management has had to learn about which issues it needs to watch because of tenants’ lack of familiarity. For example, plumbing that you cannot pour cooking grease into…

…“You don’t want to take their culture away from (immigrants), but we do try to help acclimate them,” she said. “There’s a lot behind the scenes we try to do. We’re like social workers and landlords here.”…

…Washington said it’s important to remember that issues that arise are not a “Burmese problem,” but simply an acclimation problem. Anyone would have difficulty fitting in to a new culture, and everyone involved needs to learn as they go. Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, children, cultural adjustment, Fort Wayne, housing, housing, substandard, rats and roaches, safety | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Burmese refugee family resettled to a one-bedroom Bronx apartment, earn $7.25/hr

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 11, 2010

An article in the New York Times details the case of a Burmese refugee family resettled to the Bronx by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. Despite being sponsored by the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, Catholic Charities can’t see to find a few extra nickles to take the family to the Statue of Liberty, or even to Manhattan.

…Mr. Bae Reh and Ms. Moo Pro, both 27…are refugees from Myanmar whose parents fled to a camp in Thailand to escape a government that drafted citizens at random and forced them to commit atrocities against their own ethnic tribes…

In 2007, the American government began admitting some of the refugees. After a two-year investigation ensured that Mr. Bae Reh and Ms. Moo Pro had no health problems or messy political entanglements, they arrived in New York in March…

They didn’t even know where to put stuff,” said Onita Misa , the family’s case manager at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, one of the seven beneficiaries of The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. “They put food in the cabinet with detergent,” she said. “I had to start with the A B C’s: ‘Here is the toothbrush, here is the toothpaste.’ ”

The organization was enlisted to help after being alerted to the family’s plight by the State Department’s Reception and Placement Program. Ms. Misa found an apartment for them in the West Farms section of the Bronx; it is below street level at the end of a dank outdoor hallway. The Neediest Cases Fund provided $900, which paid for their first month’s rent. Ms. Misa filled out the rental paperwork and bought the essentials.

It was amazing for them, compared to the camps,” she said of the modest apartment, where the two children sleep in the only bedroom and their parents sleep on the couch. The couple’s wedding photo dominates a wall in the living room: In it, Mr. Bae Reh is wearing blue jeans and a sports jacket over an untucked shirt, and Ms. Moo Pro has a youthful smile.

The only clothes they wear now are donated or bought for them from thrift stores. They have never been to Manhattan.

Ms. Moo Pro said she wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. “But how can I go there?” she said through an interpreter. “I don’t even know how to get there.”

Until she learns English, she is essentially unemployable. Mr. Bae Reh travels only to his job in Brooklyn — he makes $7.25 an hour as a packer at the 4C Foods Corporation in East New York. Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, Catholic, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, employment/jobs for refugees, faith-based, housing, housing, overcrowding, NYC | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio, Inc. continues to neglect refugee clients

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 22, 2010

Nothing seems to have changed at Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio, Inc. Last March we reported about the severe problems that Burmese refugee clients were having with the agency. Now Somali and Ethiopian refugee clients of the agency are coming forward to express their distress and frustrations. Refugees report that Catholic Charities placed them in small, roach-infested apartments without any home-safety orientation. When refugees call the agency they don’t hear anything back for days at a time, or case workers tell them they will be out to see them and then don’t show up. The agency has made late rent payments to landlords resulting in landlord warning letters to the refugees. Some refugees are also receiving electrical disconnect notices. Refugees lack transportation and report that overall communication with the agency is extremely poor. They asked to meet with the agency’s director of refugee programs, Paula Walker, but so far she will only speak to them by phone. Some refugees have been so desperate for help that they have resorted to calling 911.

An American volunteer said that some of the refugees asked him a couple of times to come and meet a group of new refugees “that nobody is helping”. He said he went and the small apartment soon filled with over 30 people. Most of the refugees were Somali and they were desperate. They shared some
of their stories. One said that his family was picked up at the airport and left for three days and two nights without enough food. Another refugee said that instead of the traditional rental assistance for six months, it was being cut to three months because of the huge influx of refugees into San Antonio. Yet another refugee said that they were a family with eight kids and had a two room apartment. None of the refugees had a job and no one was helping them look. The volunteer said he came out of the meeting and saw a refugee woman with a young child with hydrocephalus—the child’s head twice the normal size. The woman said the family had been in the country for a month and still had not seen a doctor, nor did they yet have a doctor’s appointment. The child clearly needed a shunt inserted into his head to relieve fluid buildup.

The volunteer said he went back the next day and started on the myriad problems of one family – because the Catholic Charities’ caseworkers were refusing to help. While he was there, one refugee man called his Catholic Charities caseworker about an appointment to get scheduled inoculations for his family. The caseworker said that he couldn’t take the family because it wasn’t “in the budget”. Another refugee had an 85-year-old mother with hepatitis-C and a wife with a uterine infection – and again, no scheduled appointments. The volunteer reports that the number of serious complaints went on and on. Some refugees complained of verbal abuse from Catholic Charities staff, with an assistant director named Hisham telling one man that he “didn’t care about his problems!” All of this added to the volunteer’s experiences from earlier this year with the abandoned Catholic Charities Burmese refugee families. One Burmese refugee man hung himself and his body was found by children. The volunteer said that his conclusion is that there are hundreds of abandoned refugees in the Wurzbach-Gardendale-Datapoint streets area – and another 80 families are expected within weeks.

After the crisis with the recently arrived Somali refugees, a couple of days later the refugees called the police on Catholic Charities. Four police cars pulled up to the apartments. The police then called Catholic Charities to find out why they weren’t helping the refugees. Then two Catholic Charities administrators arrived and passed out $100 gift cards and told the refugees to go back into their apartments. A couple of days later, four blocks away, Catholic Charities held their annual “International Gala” at the Omni Hotel. The volunteer reports that San Antonio has been completely overwhelmed by vast numbers of refugees that continue to be mindlessly pumped in. The apartment complexes in the Wurzbach, Gardendale, and Datapoint streets area have basically become “refugee camps” of confused, frustrated, un-served, and under-served refugees.

Catholic Charities’ refugee program director Paula Walker was quoted last year in a news article about the agency saying, “In the past two years, the local program grew from helping 600 refugees settle into new lives to more than 1,000.” Perhaps this is the result of raising the number of refugees an agency receives so quickly in such a short period. That, of course, would be the State Department’s doing.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, capacity, Catholic, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio Inc., children, Ethiopian, faith-based, food, health, housing, housing, overcrowding, insufficient assistance with daily tasks, late health screenings, police, San Antonio, Somali, Somali Bantu, State Department, transportation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »