Over the past week, the military in Myanmar, the country also known as Burma, overthrew the democratically elected government and arrested the top civilian leaders. The United States state department condemned the action, saying “the military must reverse these actions immediately.” These actions are being watched closely, and in horror, by Burmese communities in the United States.
To help understand what this means in Burmese communities in the United States, the Fiscal Policy Institute presents here data showing that of the 151,000 people born in Burma in the United States, roughly half live in just four states: California, Indiana, New York, and Texas. (See figure.) Political leaders in these states may take a particular interest in representing their constituents on an issue that is so close to their hearts.
The reason for the concentration of Burmese in the United States is clear: the vast majority of immigrants from Burma came to this country as refugees. They were initially resettled in these states, and although some refugees, and other Burmese immigrants, moved to other areas, the cites of initial relocation became the hubs of Burmese communities. In New York, refugee resettlement agencies in upstate cities played a particularly important role in helping Burmese refugees get their footing in this country, and have also become a place attracting Burmese Americans from other parts of the U.S.
The Buffalo News brings the story home to New York State, showing the reverberations in Buffalo, where Burmese refugees have made a new home and great contributions…but still care deeply about the country they came from.