“In the beginning the U.S. federal government assigns people,” said Samatar.
To qualify as a refugee, there is a process. The U.S. State Department ultimately decides where refugees will live, but it has to do with the voluntary agencies, called VOLAGS, that contract with the State Department.
Minnesota has very active ones like Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota. Those agencies agree to help the refugees get settled, to learn English, find housing, get health care, and begin a new life.
They “are known to be welcoming, and they invest a significant time of labor and resources, to help people find some comfort here and hope,” said Samatar.
It’s the same reason this is a population center for Hmong refugees. The VOLAGS make the initial wave happen. But just because people are relocated to a place like the Twin Cities, doesn’t mean they’ll stay.
Why do leather clad bikers congregate in trees in the forest?
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