Amarillo is one of the top destinations for refugees, where the population of these residents swelled in 2012. Since then , the city is struggling to keep up. They speak a multitude of different languages, which makes it hard for them to talk to 911 dispatchers. Children speaking foreign languages in school have ESL needs that schools are scrambling to meet. Amarillo gets more refugees than any other Texas city. It was recently decided that refugee placement in Amarillo should be limited to family reunifications.
(Volunteers with two Somali natives / photo by Stephen Spillman, Texas Tribune)
“Amarillo, the state’s 14th largest city, with 195,000 residents, receives a higher ratio of new refugees to the existing population than any other Texas city, according to 2007-12 State Department data from Representative Mac Thornberry, Republican of Clarendon. And the only Texas cities that receive a larger number of refugees than Amarillo (which received 480 in 2012) are also the state’s largest: Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.”
“The State Department decides how many refugees are resettled in an area, and states review those recommendations. Last fall, the department, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and refugee placement organizations agreed that for 2014, placements in Amarillo should be limited to family reunifications, Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the commission, said.”