Today, I am referring you to the following article: Akron, OH: Secondary Resettlement Boom Town
|Photo by Katrine Syypli|
But before you go there, please take a moment to consider again the issue of "secondary resettlement".
“Secondary resettlement” is now in full swing among the Bhutanese-Nepali refugees that have migrated to the United States. This is, of course, when refugees who were originally settled in one city, voluntarily uproot themselves and move to another. Reasons for “secondary resettlement” are complicated and usually include factors such as family reunification, the promise of better jobs or cheaper living expenses, and plenty of misinformation (usually related to public aid).
For some time, cities in Pennsylvania have been among the most talked about as being favorite secondary resettlement destinations. Now both Buffalo, NY and Akron, OH (see linked article) are emerging as destination cities. In the case of Buffalo, the attraction is related to the perceived ease of access to government welfare services (BTW – I made multiple attempts to contact the International Institute of Buffalo in order to get some correct information on these issues but didn’t get a reply). In Akron, the draw is jobs and family.
Secondary resettlement is a normal part of the evolution of refugee communities and explains why so many Somalis are in the Twin Cities and Burmese have flooded Ft. Wayne. But it is also a concern. The runs to other cities are often inspired by misinformation and can create overwhelming burdens on local economies. Instead of finding jobs, some refugees find flooded unskilled labor forces, high unemployment, and many other unanticipated new challenges.
Of course, it is crucial to affirm that God is the superintendant presiding over all human migration. Cross-cultural workers should not fret when families move away. Still, we should take up the challenge of speaking into the lives of those considering secondary resettlement. Have that carefully weighed all the facts? Do they have accurate information? Have they taken seriously the purpose the Lord has for them in the place of their original resettlement? This last question, it seems, must be strongly pressed upon those pursuers-of-greener-pastures who also claim to be followers of the God who left the glories of heaven for the way of the cross.