Aide workers voice fears over impact of cuts on East County’s growing refugee population; San Diego’s Congressional representatives have thus far declined to take action to extend benefits
By Miriam Raftery
August 3, 2010 (San Diego) – Over 3,800 disabled and elderly refugees who came to the U.S. legally, all victims of persecution or torture, have been notified that they will lose Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on October 1st. Those slated to lose benefits include about 1,800 Iraq War refugees living in East County.
“They don’t have any other income. They want to find work and they can’t. They are too old and too sick,” said Joseph Ziauddin, president of the East County Refugee Center in El Cajon. Ziauddin estimates that there are around 40,000 Iraqis now living in East County. Asked how many of East County’s Iraqis are currently refugees, he replied, “Ninety percent.”