July 25, 2008

Moore to help workers adapt

Friday, July 25, 2008
Moore to help workers adapt
Immigrant orientation set
By Janelle Stecklein
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SHARE THIS STORY: In many cases, county leaders may not take note of a minor car accident. But a recent accident in Moore County garnered the attention of leaders because it involved several refugees without identification.

"None of them had any IDs and it was just a real chaotic situation," said Tommy Brooks, the county's emergency management coordinator. "They don't like to carry their government papers with them because of the fear of losing them."

Officials quickly realized there was a need to help the immigrants adapt to their new country and community.

"It's totally another world for refugees when they come over here," said Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades.

So many Moore County organizations including the hospital district, the county's emergency management office, the Cactus Police Department, a pregnancy crisis center, JBS Swift & Co. and the Texas Department of Public Safety have planned a life skills fair Sunday that will cater to about 450 Burmese residents, Rhoades said.

Volunteers will try to issue every immigrant an identification card, which will help law enforcement and medical workers. Once those cards - which will not be official government IDs - are made, they will provide emergency contacts and which language the refugee speaks so that officials can find the correct translator, Brooks said.

Officials with the Moore County Hospital District will also distribute "File of Life" pouches, said Gayle Stowers, the hospital's marketing and community relations director. The packets help new residents gather information they might need when they go to the hospital or doctor, including pre-existing conditions, insurance, current medications and allergies.

"It will just make the whole process so much easier," Stowers said. "It's a starting point for us. And it's a great tool. I think everyone should have that information available."

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?