Walk through South Coast Plaza, Orange County's internationally prized shopping mall in Costa Mesa, and there are moments you could swear you're in Saigon or Bangkok by the large numbers of Asian shoppers.
Those types of encounters and the ever-increasing vibrancy of our Little Saigon region probably makes most of us locals assume that Southeast Asia is by far the largest supplier of new refugees to OC.
But that would be wrong.
According to a county government staff report that will be discussed tomorrow at the board of supervisor's meeting, Southeast Asian countries supplied 887 refugees from 2005 to 2010, or 45 percent of the total pool.
So guess which area of the world send OC the most refugees during the period.
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If you guessed the Middle East, you'd be right.
Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan alone supplied 938 refugees, according to a new Social Services Agency report that advocates that supervisors spend about $1.1 million during the next three years for special government services to these immigrants.
Much of the public funding will target refugees who speak Vietnamese, Arabic, Farsi, Tigrinya, Somali and Oromo, according to the agency's records.
R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly