We know the drill, and have heard it all before...
"I think that diversity brings richness to a community. We learn from those around us," said Donna Magnuson, director of the refugee and immigration center at Lutheran Social Services, which works with government to help refugees with housing, work, English-language classes and cash assistance.The article includes some sobering facts about the newcomers, e.g., only 20 percent of adults are literate and the standard work experience is farming.
Magnuson said 650 refugees have resettled in Minnehaha County in the past three years; almost all of the arrivals in the past 12 months have come from African nations.â€¨â€¨Multi-Cultural Center Director Qadir Aware estimates the Sioux Falls area now has more than 4,000 residents from Sudan and countries in the Horn of Africa. [Refugees finally find home - in Sioux Falls, Argus Leader, December 8, 2007]
According to the CIA Factbook, Burundi's population growth rate is 3.6 percent, which makes sense when you read that the average woman has 6.5 children (TFR).
So even if Washington doesn't import many more Burundians, there will likely be lots more like them in Sioux Falls. (And there are already 12,000 refugees and immigrants in that community, from 94 countries and speaking 124 languages — that's diverse!)
The current batch are happy not to be in a miserable African refugee camp, and hope all their relatives can come to live in stupid-generous America.
Still, their thoughts often turn to the hundreds of thousands that remain in refugee camps nine time zones away.
"There are so many still there, and they suffer a lot, too," Ndirariha said. "We would really like to see them relocated to Sioux Falls."