Refugees

Kate Haake / AP Images

On Friday, Boise State University released a survey that examined the attitudes of Idahoans on key policy issues. The second-annual survey included views from 1,000 Idahoans.

 

Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn directed the research team for the survey. Vaughn says they were careful to poll people from different parts of the state, evenly polling both cell and landline phone users.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

A couple of days after last week’s polarizing election, Julianne Donnelly Tzul led a training for refugees in Boise. As the head of the local office of the International Rescue Committee, she heard concerns about what may happen under President-elect Trump’s administration. His campaign included sharp anti-refugee rhetoric.

Jason Margolis / Twitter

This week, we're bringing you a series of stories on refugees in Boise. The public radio show "The World" sent reporter Jason Margolis to Idaho to learn more about how refugees are making a go of it in the city. The three reports are part of PRI's "Global Nation," a program that tells real-world stories of immigrants in the United States.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says it’s his ethical duty to not sensationalize an active criminal case, and that information on juvenile cases is even more sensitive. But after anti-Muslim conspiracy websites accused officials of covering up the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl, Loebs is publicly disputing these accusations.

A prosecutor in south-central Idaho is refuting a widespread rumor that three young Syrian refugees raped a girl at knifepoint.

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says that no gang rape involving Syrian refugees or a knife took place despite allegations currently circulating on social media and conspiracy-oriented websites.

Idaho Education News

Some anecdotes are harrowing.

A few years ago, refugee students were encouraged to take part in a quilting project, creating a square depicting their home country. Aiham Taliv, a refugee from Iraq, prepared an illustration of his village — while, overhead, a helicopter opened fire. The quilt, including Taliv’s illustration, went on public display.

“We’re wanting (the community) to understand what their kids’ lives were like. … But it’s also a healing process for these kids,” said Bill Brulotte, the local school district’s federal programs director.

Idaho Education News

Twin Falls’ refugee program brings together students from diverse backgrounds. It does the same with teachers.

The district’s co-teaching model groups “the content police and the language police,” said Kimberly Allen, an instructional coach at Twin Falls’ Canyon Ridge High School. A subject expert — such as a math teacher — works alongside a colleague who specializes in working with English language learners.

“We’ve jokingly called them arranged marriages,” said Allen.

Idaho Education News

In terms of geography and culture, Twin Falls can scarcely be farther removed from Afghanistan or Iran, Burma or Nepal.

Yet in schools such as Twin Falls’ Lincoln Elementary School, in a portable building abutting a blacktop playground, newly arrived refugee students begin their long and stark transition to American schools.

Idaho Education News

Some refugee students at Boise’s Hillside Junior High School remember the schools in their homelands — where teachers hit their students, or where teachers feared being hit by students.

Then there are the refugee students who have spent little time in any classroom.

“You have to learn how to be a student,” said Rita Hogan, a teacher in Boise’s English Language Development program. “And that’s tough, when you’re a seventh-grader, and you’re learning algebra.”

Angie Smith

Los Angeles-based photographer Angie Smith first became curious about Idaho’s refugee population five years ago during visits with her family in Boise.

“I wondered why are they coming to Idaho," says Smith, "how do they get here, what are their lives like once they have arrived and are in the resettlement process. I just had a lot of questions.”

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We introduced you to Kutukira Mberwa about a year ago when the Boise International Market was celebrating its grand opening.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

An initiative that would halt the refugee resettlement program in Twin Falls did not receive enough signatures to get on the ballot in November.

Supporters of the measure needed nearly 4,000 signatures to put it on the ballot in Twin Falls County. According to the recorder’s office, fewer than one thousand signatures were turned in by Monday's 5:00 p.m. deadline.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market had been operating less than a year when it burned down in September. Since the fire, people have been asking if the popular destination for food, imports and culture would be rebuilt. We still don’t know the answer to that, but we do know something similar is on the way.

Kathrine Jones / Idaho Staesman

A Spokane pastor was in Boise last week to warn Idaho lawmakers that refugees pose a security threat to the United States. That’s a position some Idaho lawmakers already hold and the issue may come up in the current legislative session.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly 200 people at the Idaho Capitol Thursday night listened to speeches from an anti-Islamic preacher and a member of a right-wing, national security advocacy group. The topic was refugee resettlement.

Before the speeches, about 100 people lined the marble hallway to the Capitol’s largest public meeting room. They held signs reading things like “Idaho is too great for hate.” Kristin Ruether’s sign said, “refugees welcome” in English and Arabic.

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