Over half of Somali refugees that arrive in Arizona will end up leaving and heading to other states, particularly Minnesota who has a very large Somali community. The reason? Arizona is not the most job-friendly when it comes to refugees. The state government offers refugees a check and drops them off. There is not much in the way of assistance for many of these refugees and they inevitably run out of cash and have no place to live.
The problem is that these refugees have little to no skill when it comes to working in the States, and if the state isn’t willing to fork over funds from hard-working American citizens then many of these displaced families are forced to look elsewhere like Minnesota where there are many non-profit organizations willing to help get Somali refugees moving again.
Maybe more states will adopt this policy, right?
According to Phoenix New Times:
Bilad Yusuf and her seven kids were on their way to Minnesota, less than two months after they arrived in Phoenix.
“We didn’t know how to get jobs here, and even if we did, we didn’t know how we’d get to them,” she explained through an interpreter who translated from Somali to English.
After waiting for six years in a refugee camp, Yusuf and her family arrived in the United States this winter amidst the chaos surrounding the Trump administration’s attempt to block Somali immigrants like them from entering the country.
Following a brief stop in Houston, they were transferred to Phoenix. There, stranded in the urban sprawl without a car, they found themselves lost: Where were they supposed to get groceries? How did they go about setting up long-overdue doctor’s appointments? How would they pay rent after their initial stipend from the U.S. government ran out?
The Somali Association of Arizona stepped in, providing groceries and setting up doctor’s appointments for the refugees. But they couldn’t do anything about the fact that the fact that with limited English and no training, Yusuf and her older children weren’t qualified for many jobs.
So, worried that her rent would be cut off soon, Yusuf ultimately decided they should move to Minnesota, where she, like virtually all Somalis, has family.
The hope is that there will be more job opportunities there, as well as a larger support network. But Yusuf says she’d like to return to Phoenix one day.
‘If opportunity calls in Arizona, I’m coming,” she said in Somali.
Mukhtar Sheikh, the program coordinator for the Somali Association of Arizona, says that Yusuf’s story is a common one.
Between 1981 and 2017, Arizona took in 7,351 Somali refugees, according to Department of Economic Security statistics. But how many of those refugees actually stay in the state is another question.
Sheikh estimates that as many as half the Somali refugees resettled in Arizona end up leaving — typically for Minnesota, or other parts of the country where there’s a large Somali community — because they’re unable to find jobs here.
“I think Arizona is able to do more for refugees, to be honest,” he says. “If Arizona invested in these families, it would actually benefit the state, because they’re really hardworking.”
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.
You see, Arizona does not give these refugees money at all. They receive a one-time check from the federal government and that is it. The burden to provide for their families is all on them, and that is how it should be.
If these refugees want to be here they need to assimilate to the country and work hard. I just hope that more states adopt this genius way of weeding out these refugees.
H/T [ Phoenix New Times ]