Boise, ID

Boise Has a Long Reputation for Taking in Refugees

Stuart Gustafson
Ra Dragon/unsplash

The recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has had a residual effect of having many Afghans leave their country. Some have left for fear of retribution by take-over forces, and some have left just to seek a better life in “the promised land.”

Idaho, and Boise in particular, have long been the promised land for many refugees. In fact, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cultural Center in Idaho was founded in Boise over twenty years ago in 2000. This center was founded by refuges who in the 1990s had settled in Idaho as they fled from a civil war in their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovinia.

According the website, over 9,000 refugees have settled in Boise since 2002. When you look at the image below, the “reddish hot spots” show where the larger number of refugees originated. The data is through the end of 2019, almost two years ago.

Looking at the Middle East region, we see the following numbers:

  • Syria 230
  • Iraq 1,213
  • Palestine 59
  • Iran 82
  • Uzbekistan 217
  • Afghanistan 629 (and this doesn’t include the Afghan refugees (approximately 400) who are slated to come to the area soon.

Other countries who have “sent’ refuges to the Boise area include:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,997 refugees
  • Somalia 1,124
  • Burma (Myanmar) 1,186
  • Bhutan 870
  • Russia 438
  • Colombia 106
  • Ukraine 109

I might have missed one or two countries on that map, but I counted that Boise has received refugees from 48 countries.

When you look at Idaho as a state, you see that over 13,000 refugees have settled in Idaho from 2002 through 2019. What’s a bit shocking is that Boise has accepted 71.7% of the refugees, and Twin Falls has accepted 27.2% of them. It’s easy to do the math to see that these two cities alone have taken in 98.9% of the state’s refugees in that period of time. Does that say something positive about those two cities, or does it say that the rest of the state isn’t all that welcoming to refugees? I'll leave that conclusion up to you.

I am a member of Hillview United Methodist Church on Ustick road here in Boise. We have provided space and the water for a Refugee Garden for at least fifteen years, maybe even twenty. The people who grow their vegetables in the garden are very appreciative of having a space to grow food because many of them live in apartments where there isn’t any place for gardening.

#Boise #Refugees #Afghan #Afghanistan #Bosnia

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Articles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about travel, relevant local/regional items, some finance. Always with a slant to ask you to think.

Boise, ID

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