Various news outlets are running a story about how bad things are for Somalian refugees in Phoenix Arizona. The refugees are complaining that after waiting for six years in a refugee camp, they arrive in the United States only to find chaos surrounding the Trump administration’s attempt to block Somali immigrants like them from entering the country.
One particular family even explained that they stopped in Houston only to be transferred to Phoenix. Now they are stranded in the urban sprawl without a car. They go on to claim that they have no way to get groceries or go to a doctor. But what they complain about the most is that they don’t know how they will pay the rent after their initial U.S. taxpayer handout comes to an end.
Here is more on this via The Phoenix New Times:
“Contrary to popular belief, refugees who are resettled in Arizona receive relatively little financial assistance from the state. In fact, their main source of cash assistance is the federal government.
Like all refugees arriving in the country, every individual who’s resettled in Arizona receives a one-time payment of $925 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That typically covers their rent in Phoenix for three months, Sheikh says. Larger families receive more money, since the payments are per-person, and sometimes are able to stretch it out to last for six months.
“If that money runs out and they don’t have a job, then there starts to be pressure for them to find a way to survive,” Sheikh says. “There’s not a lot of programs to help them with employment here.”
Meanwhile, assistance from the state is restricted to what Sheikh describes as “limited medical services” and food stamps.
“The one thing that Arizona does very well is making sure that at least these families will not go hungry,” he says. “But sometimes these families don’t get enough help — they come in saying, “Oh, my food stamps have stopped,’ so we have to call DES and ask them why.”
Refugees have to complete a monthly report proving that they are taking English classes and looking for jobs in order to keep receiving food stamps. But language and literacy barriers often get in the way.
Sometimes, Sheikh says, refugees will receive a letter from DES letting them know that they need to take specific steps in order to keep on receiving their food stamps. But because they aren’t able to read the letter, they aren’t able to act on it.
Caseworkers for the nonprofit agencies that work to resettle new refugees are often overwhelmed, he adds. “They’re limited in the amount of aid that they can provide.”
But the biggest challenge is finding a job, he says. When he first arrived in Phoenix, he was able to find a job at Sky Harbor International Airport and work his way through ASU. Other Somalis have followed a similar path and found jobs at the airport. But many others have found that even jobs cleaning hotel rooms or washing dishes in a restaurant come with a requirement that applicants speak English — or, unofficially, Spanish.
That means that the refugees who were already relatively well-off back in Somalia and had the opportunity to study English there end up having an easier time getting hired in the United States.
“The people that struggle the most are people who have no educational background,” Sheikh says. “They’re the people most in need, and they face the biggest hardships when coming here and trying to find opportunities here.”
Recently, he’s gotten calls from recruiters working on behalf of Amazon warehouses in Minnesota and Kentucky, looking to hire managers who speak Somali in addition to English.
That tells him that they’re hiring a lot of Somali refugees who don’t speak English yet, he says. He’d like to see the same thing happen in Arizona, where, to his knowledge, only a handful of refugees have been able to get jobs at Amazon distribution centers.
But, he acknowledges, “There’s only so much that one company can do. There has to be support from the state.”
For one thing, he believes that refugees need more time to adjust before the government cuts them off entirely. Three to six months — the amount of time that refugees typically have before their cash assistance runs out — is not long enough for them to adapt to a new country and learn to speak English. And it doesn’t help that many have escaped civil war and famine to get here, and are deeply traumatized or simply tired.
After those three to six months are up, Sheikh says, refugee families end up getting evicted because they’re not able to make rent. The Somali Association of Arizona tries its best to help them out, with support from the local Muslim community.
“So far we haven’t had any refugees become homeless, that I know of,” he says. “Most of the time, they say they have family in Minnesota, they can find jobs in Minnesota, so we fundraise to help them get a ticket to go there.”
The real issue here is that they want taxpayer money, but wisely Arizona gives them very little over what the feds give them in terms of assistance. These people claim to be refugees but they come into our country, bring their culture which they were forced to run away from and now complain that Americans don’t give them enough money? Don’t like it? GO HOME!
Arizona is being very smart here. Look at what Somali refugees have turned Minnesota & other places into. Americans are now afraid to walk the streets in some areas that have been invaded by Somalians because they can be mugged or beaten at any time of the day. Of course, politicians who let these people into our nation have no problem since they never have to live there or even need to see these people again.
It’s time the U.S. says enough. This shouldn’t even be a partisan issue anymore. And if bleeding heart liberals want to take refugees into their own homes, they should be allowed to. It’s their home, but don’t force the rest of us, sane people, to have to deal with cultures that obviously aren’t compatible with American customs.