Newsroom > DHHS News Release

August 20, 2009

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287


Forums Study Secondary Refugee Migration to Nebraska

Lincoln – Nebraska is one of a handful of states that will hold forums to examine the community impacts of refugees settling into rural communities across Nebraska.

A delegation from the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning is visiting Nebraska to get an accurate picture of Nebraska communities facing the challenges of secondary migration. Secondary migration refers to refugees who settle in one location and then move to another location. All refugees are legal immigrants.

“These meetings will give refugees, local government officials, health care providers, educators, public safety officers and others an opportunity to share information and focus on identifying strengths, successes, opportunities and challenges for local community integration,” said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Spring Institute is funded by the national Office of Refugee Resettlement to conduct assessments and provide technical assistance in communities that have experienced an influx of refugees arriving from other locations in the United States, often to fill employment needs in the state. Other states participating in the assessment process include: Texas, North Dakota, Colorado and Kansas. Like Nebraska, they have experienced a high number of refugees who are secondary migrants.

Reckling said that the information shared at these forums can help enhance the entire community’s ability to respond to demographic changes.

“The demographics in Nebraska’s rural communities have changed dramatically in recent years, especially because of employment opportunities in the meatpacking sector,” said Karen Parde, Nebraska State Refugee Coordinator for DHHS. “A better understanding of the impacts on education, health care and local economies will help Nebraska strengthen its efforts to integrate newcomers well into the future.”

Individual meetings and a community gathering will take place at:

August 25 4:30-6:00 p.m. Lincoln UNL County Extension Office, 444 Cherry Creek Rd., Conf. Rm A

August 26 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Omaha International Center of the Heartland, 1941 S. 42nd St., #402, Center Mall

August 26 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Lexington Lexington Public Library, 907 N. Washington St.

August 28 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Grand Island State Office Building, 208 N. Pine St.

August 28 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. So. Sioux City City Hall, 1615 1st Ave.