Cambridge, Mass: No refugees for you! Neighborhood is too wealthy! by Ann Corcoran, 7/9/17
Waahhhh! The Harvard kids want refugees, but there isn’t any low income housing in Cambridge so the US State Department and its contractors send refugees to working class communities elsewhere in Massachusetts!
Tony Cambridge, Mass. home to Harvard University won’t see refugees placed there anytime soon!
Moral of the story: Wealthy communities don’t get refugees, but working class communities do. And, if you build low income housing, your town becomes a refugee magnet!
From the Boston Globe: “Help us welcome local refugees to our community!” read a flier advertising the carnival in Cambridge, where attendees would later pose at a photo booth, mingle, and munch on baked goods inside a balloon-festooned gymnasium.
“We wanted to have an opportunity for refugee families to come and have a fun time, relax, play games,” said Caitlin Nichols, a Harvard PhD student who helped organize last month’s event. But notably absent from the event? Refugees.
In September 2015, after watching the number of Syrians displaced by violence soar, Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen decided the council had “a moral and economic imperative” to act. He won passage of legislation calling on city officials to determine Cambridge’s capacity to take in Syrian refugees and then provide those families with the housing and support they would need.
But when peace commissioner Brian Corr — the local official charged with promoting “peace and social justice within Cambridge and in the wider world”— began reaching out to refugee resettlement agencies and government officials, he was told, politely, no thanks.
“I spoke to a lot of people and got a lot of e-mail information. Long story short . . . Cambridge is not the place where refugees get resettled,” Corr said.
Where refugees end up is largely at the discretion of the State Department and nine resettlement agencies nationwide.
From 2014 to 2016, 233 Syrian refugees arrived in Massachusetts. More than half went to Lowell, Springfield, or West Springfield, according to State Department records. None wound up in Cambridge.
Financial support is limited for new arrivals. Representatives of the State Department and Massachusetts resettlement agencies said they consider two factors when placing refugees, in addition to family ties.
“The key factor is a combination of cost of living and employment opportunities that will allow them to become economically self-sufficient quickly because the support that the federal government provides is extremely limited,” said Jeffrey Thielman, president and CEO of the International Institute of New England, the area’s largest resettlement agency.
Here they are admitting it again, the contractor pockets half of the per head payment the refugee gets from the feds (no mention that all forms of welfare are available to refugees upon arrival). BTW, the contractors’ primary job is to get the refugees signed up for their services and then they move on to the next batch of paying “clients.”
Each refugee receives a one-time stipend of $2,075 from the federal government, and nearly half of that goes to the resettlement agency to help finance their work, according to a State Department spokeswoman.
Agencies sometimes provide refugees additional cash assistance, and some refugees can receive $428 per month from the state for up to 18 months.
Such small sums don’t go far in Cambridge, where two-bedroom apartments rent for around $3,000 a month. That’s twice as expensive as housing in Springfield or Lowell.
Throughout Greater Boston, inexpensive housing options are few and shrinking. Thielman said the only places in the area where his agency can find housing for refugees are shared units for single individuals in Lynn or Dorchester — places where they can pay $350 or less in rent per month. Continue reading here because some refugee advocates have a new angle. See what it is!
This is my ‘laugh of the day!’ post but it isn’t so funny! The International Institute of New England (aka International Institute of Boston) works as a subcontractor for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). Don’t forget to write to the White House!
Federal contractors/middlemen/lobbyists/community organizers paid by you to place refugees in your towns and cities. Because their income is largely dependent on taxpayer dollars based on the number of refugees admitted to the US, the only way for real reform of how the US admits refugees is to remove the contractors from the process.
· Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
· International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
· US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)