Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Dinner with UNHCR

My advisor had another house party last week, during which I fell into conversation with a young woman who, early on, announced her affiliation with the United Nations High Council on Refugees. (Note: I was celebrating the recent announcement of my coming publications, so the details of this conversation may get a little hazy through the blood-alcohol level.)

Φ: Wow, the U.N. has offices out here in [flyover country]?

UNHCR Babe: Well, actually, I work directly for Catholic Social Services, but we do contract work for UNHCR.

Φ: Oh. So, what work is that?

UNHCR CSS Babe: We resettle refugees.

Φ: Where do you resettle them?

CSSB: Here in the U.S.

Φ: For how long?

CSSB: Oh, permanently. They get green cards and can apply for citizenship.

Φ: Where do the refugees come from?

CSSB: Iraq, mostly.

Φ: Iraq. So, help me out here: last I heard, there were American soldiers in Iraq making Iraq, you know, safe for Iraqis.

CSSB: Yup. My husband is in the armed services, and has been deployed to Iraq several times. We have a private joke: he breaks countries, I clean up the pieces.

Φ: Yeah, there's something to be said for just staying home. How does an Iraqi qualify for refugee status?

CSSB: Well, as long as they can make a claim to having a fear of persecution, then they become eligible for resettlement.

Φ: So . . . are they part of Iraq's Christian minority?

CSSB: Actually, no. We get a handful of Chaldeans, but mostly, they're Muslims.

Φ: Muslims. Now, you're going to have to help me out here again, 'cause the TV said that Iraq is, you know, a Muslim country. So how do Muslims get to claim persecution?

CSSB: It doesn't have to be because of religion. They can claim persecution for having been friendly to Americans.

Φ: How many Muslims are we talking about?

CSSB: Last year, it was 20,000.

Φ: Twenty thousand. I didn't know we had that many friends in Iraq. So, just out of curiosity, how do we keep Muslims that aren't our friends from being in that 20,000?

CSSB: Oh, we're very careful! Refugees from Iraq have to go through four times the number of interviews we normally require.

Φ: Wow. Four times the, um, interviews. So, what's your angle? What part of the resettlement process do you handle?

CSSB: Employment.

Φ: How's that working out?

CSSB: Frankly, it's very difficult. The refugees we get were typically professionals back in Iraq, but their degrees are from, say, U. of Baghdad.

Φ: Their credentials don't transfer?

CSSB: No. And they don't want to do unskilled labor, and the economy is bad right now, so they tend to be bitter.

Φ: I thought you said they were our friends.

CSSB: Well, their attitude is, hey, you Americans invaded our country and created this mess, so now you should take care of us.

Φ: Okay . . . my brain is a little foggy, so let me run through all of this again. Basically, your job is to help bring 20,000 angry, entitled, unemployable Muslims, from a country we just invaded, into the United States in the middle of a recession. Is there anything I'm missing here?

CSSB: Well, it was only 20,000 last year. Obama just signed an agreement to bring in 80,000 this year.

Φ: Eighty-thousand Iraqis!

CSSB: Well, no, they're not all from Iraq. We also get a lot of Rwandans and Burudis.

Φ: Rwandans and Burundis. Let's see, that would be the Hutus and the Tutsis, right? So, which are we taking, the Hutus or the Tutsis?

CSSB: We take both.

Φ: Both! That's mighty damn multiculturalist of us. Any place else?

CSSB: We also get refugees from Vietnam.

Φ: Vietnam still. Wow, that's a war that keeps on giving. Hey, that's a cool looking cell phone you have.

CSSB: It's a Palm Pre.

Φ: Who's your carrier?

CSSB: Sprint. I get a big discount for banking with BigBank.

Φ: Really? I bank with BigBank. I wonder if I can get that discount . . . .


Justin said...

There is an entire liberal establishment working silently in tbe background, at all hours of the day, doing things just like this. An army of non-thinking lib-bots working for our destruction, all... the... time...

Nice writing, btw!

Anonymous said...

Settling 80,000 Iraqi refugees in a country of 300 million shouldn't be any big deal. If, that is, they are reasonably well dispersed around the country. If instead they're settled in one or two cities, there's a risk that they'll develop into an insular community that doesn't mix much with the outside world. Sort of like the Syrian Jews of Brooklyn, who socialize and marry within the group and work in each other's businesses.


Elusive Wapiti said...

What is most striking to me is the sense of entitlement. I wonder where the Iraqi refugee applicants got that from? *scratches chin* Wait! I know! From the left-wingers running the charity!

Regarding the Iraqi refugees, if they'd rather live under Saddam, then all they had to do is say so. I understand that it is more comfortable to live under a tyrant that to engage in revolution.

This exchange is instructive for those among us inclined to "save" other peoples from tyranny and "give" them democracy. They (the people whom one is trying to "save") don't want it enough to fight for it themselves and won't appreciate the sacrifice in blood and treasure required to make it happen. But they'll surely hold the savior responsible for supplying them with freedom and direct their ire at them if it isn't delivered in a manner that meets their approval.

Lastly, why is Catholic Social Services bringing Moslems and Pagans, faith systems hostile to Christ, into this country again? Do they really think they'll convert?