By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
Saturday, May 12, 2012
MANCHESTER, NH (USA) — A new director slated to start at the International Institute of New Hampshire next week has been charged with improving communications with city officials, even as efforts to get a moratorium on refugee resettlement in Manchester continue at the State House.
Nasir A. Arush will start Monday as the new director of the International Institute of New Hampshire (IINH).
“Mr. Arush has considerable experience as a member of and working in the Manchester immigrant and refugee community, and we believe his experience and ability will greatly enhance our efforts to assist in the stronger coordination of the many immigrant support groups in Manchester and the state,” IINH Board of Trustees Chairman William Gillett wrote in a letter to Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.
“We will make this a priority for Mr. Arush when he arrives and have him begin to work with those city officials that you designate to ensure that the city is both engaged in and informed of these efforts,” Gillett wrote.
“In particular, Mr. Arush will work directly with Alderman Long and the city task force to enact the recommendations of the task force in assisting in the integration of our new arrivals.”
But at least one city official has yet to see any improvement in communication from the IINH.
“That letter was sent on April 24,” said Gatsas. “I haven't heard anything from them since then.”
Arush is the former deputy director of the Somali Development Center of New Hampshire.
He most recently served as a community service technician for the city of Eden Prairie, Minn., and a senior business development coordinator at HIRED in Minneapolis.
He received his MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and holds a graduate certificate in accounting.
According to the 2010 census, New Hampshire had more than 3,500 refugees relocate here over the last nine years.
Of those, figures provided by the mayor's office show that 2,148 — about 61 percent — relocated to Manchester.
There are 13 resettlement communities for refugees in the state, with only Laconia, Concord and the Queen City seeing an influx recently.
Gatsas has long maintained that the city lacks the necessary infrastructure to pair refugees with appropriate jobs.
The mayor and other city officials have publicly discussed the lack of communication from International Institute personnel, which leads to city administrators often not knowing how many refugees will be coming to the city month to month.
House Bill 1405 would have created a moratorium on refugee resettlement in Manchester.
It was effectively killed by the Senate last month when it was sent “for further study.”
A similar measure was attached to Senate Bill 155, and until further action is taken on that bill, city officials are limited in what they can do regarding refugee numbers.
In his letter to Gatsas, Gillett indicated that only family reunification refugee cases would be assigned to Manchester through at least September 2013.
Source: Union Leader