By Abraham H. Miller, Continue reading in Bay Area News Group
Walnut Creek is about to absorb anywhere from 200 to 2,000 Syrian refugees. The ambiguity of the number itself is indicative of a major problem in communication — or more appropriately, lack thereof — between the federal government and the community.
There has been no communal notice about this plan, no discussion about where the refugees will be housed, how they will be absorbed into the community, or how the community needs to mobilize resources to meet the special needs of people traumatized by war.
Most of the information about the resettlement itself comes from ferreting it out from government documents.
We are a nation of immigrants and our very history is rooted in compassion for the uprooted and dispossessed. The motto of Lady Liberty who guards the gateway to our shores in New York Harbor is, “Give me your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
Our natural inclination is to provide refuge for the world’s wretched refuse. Most of us are descendants of the great waves of immigrants that washed up repeatedly on these shores between 1880 and 1920.
Yet, if the recent European experience is any guide, both immigrants and refugees that have come out of the Middle East and North Africa have conspicuously sought not to acculturate. German public television recently aired a series about Germany’s vexing problem with parallel societies that refuse to become German.