Possible changes for refugees in Indiana as officials prepare for visit

The Journal Gazette out of Fort Wayne reported U.S. State Department officials and U.N. officials will visit Fort Wayne, Ind., to asses the situation and look at all the “stakeholders” in a community affected by refugee resettlement.

“We try to go to communities on a regular basis to really try to understand where the nuances are, how communities are coping and how we might, if we can, adjust some of the programs,” (Larry Bartlett, director of refugee admissions for State) said from his Washington, D.C., office in a telephone interview last week.

The last time the refugee resettlement in Fort Wayne was reviewed was four years ago.  Fort Wayne is now considered home by refugees from many nations, including Bosnia, Vietnam, Iraq, Burma and Somalia.  The largest organization stationed mainly in the area supporting refugees is the Fort Wayne-South Bend chapter of Catholic Charities.  One of the largest groups of refugees in the area are Burmese refugees.

(Minn Myint Nan Tin, executive director of Fort Wayne’s Burmese Advocacy Center) said the Burmese community’s biggest challenges include a shortage of good jobs for adults, a lack of higher-education options for teenagers and a prevalence of diabetes and heart disease among older residents.

Many workers are stuck in low-wage jobs, she said.

“It’s not enough to provide for their families,” Nan Tin said. “Most refugees have large families.”

For more information on the situation currently facd by refugees in Fort Wayne, especially Burmese refugees, please read the rest of the Journal Gazette article.



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