Myanmar Community in the US Seek the U.S Support for Peace, Development, and Democracy

Senator Todd Young and members of Myanmar Community at the Burmese American Community Institute.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., met with members of the Burmese-American community in Indianapolis where they discussed issues ranging from local needs to U.S. assistance to Myanmar, also known as Burma. In a meeting attended by members representing the Burmese-American community, Young gave his support for legislative policies that will continue federal programs aimed at assisting the refugees to become economically self-sufficient and achieve integration into the local community. These measures promote the newcomers’ ability to give back to their new community.

The Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) has successfully implemented federally-funded programs including the development of microenterprise home-based childcare businesses along with other programs such as employment workshops, naturalization preparation and preparing high school students for college readiness.

The college going rate among the Burmese-Americans has increased from 43 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2017. One hundred percent of participants in BACI’s Upward College Summer Programs have gone on to post-secondary education.

“What BACI is doing is remarkable,” said Young.

A member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Young reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring the U.S. stays engaged with the world and to continue to lead the international community through diplomacy and development assistance, including to Myanmar.

The meeting also underscored the need for the U.S. to continue taking the Burmese and Chin refugees in Malaysia as part of their long-term protection while also providing assistance to Myanmar aimed at addressing the root causes of the exodus of the refugees and encouraging the country to move forward with democratic reforms.

BACI Executive Director Elaisa Vahnie said the community is thankful for the opportunity to start their new lives while they are becoming productive citizens, but he also believes that America’s leadership and compassion is not only morally right but is also needed to provide solutions in the long-run.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to have Senator Todd Young today,” said Vahnie. “We thank him for his leadership and we are humbled by his support. The U.S. and Hoosiers’ leadership matters because they have critical roles in transforming Myanmar into a peaceful and developed democratic country. We all will be better off in the long-run.”

A recent BACI study shows that nearly 170,000 Burmese refugees have been admitted to the United States since 2000. Over 23,000 Burmese individuals reside in Indiana and approximately 17,000 are calling the city of Indianapolis their new home. The overall Burmese population in the U.S. is estimated to be little over 300,000.