Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Increase in R&P public funding – an analysis

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 31, 2010

Friends of Refugees has had some concerns about the recently announced increase in refugee program funding (see our recent post on this announcement). We wanted to know who made this recommendation and what criteria was used. We understand that President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of the refugee resettlement program by the National Security Council (NSC), but who is on the NSC’s Interagency Task Force and who is the Task Force consulting with? (It has been reported in several newspapers that the Task Force will be releasing it’s recommendations in February.)

According to an NSC official recently contacted by Friends of Refugees, the Interagency Task Force assigned to conduct the Administration’s review of the refugee program is composed of the NSC, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The official stated that in addition to the Task Force members, stakeholders from State governments, voluntary agencies, and think-tanks have also been consulted and will continue to be consulted over the course of the review process. The official also stated, somewhat strangely, that the NSC does not, “have any info on the timeline”, regarding when the NSC will release the final recommendations.

We then asked a State Department official how the PRM is funding the increase in the Reception and Placement (R&P) per capita grant. According to the official the President’s budget request for Migration and Refugee Assistance for refugee admissions was $305 million. Congress then voted to appropriate even more funding to the PRM then the President had requested, and the PRM was able to allocate a total of $324 million for refugee admissions.

In a follow-up email to the State Department official we asked why the increase in funding was done in advance of any recommendations from the NSC. We asked, “Isn’t the point of the NSC formulating recommendations to determine such things as whether or not R&P public funding should be increased, to what level, and what rules should be applied to how resettlement agencies may use those funds?” The official responded briefly that the PRM was, “aware of the urgency of the refugees need…[and that the increase] was done with NSC concurrence.”

In addition, we asked how the PRM decided on the $1800 figure. We pointed out that the increase identically matches the $1800 per capita recommendation made in the refugee resettlement group LIRS’ cost-analysis report ‘The Real Cost of Welcome’, which was also trumpeted by the Refugee Council USA. “Did the PRM simply agree with LIRS’ and RCUSA’s figures, or did it arrive at the $1800 separately?”, we asked. “Did the PRM agree with the $1800 figure by analyzing the LIRS cost-analysis [report] to determine if the numbers made sense, or did they use some other analysis?” “Did they do any other analysis to arrive at the $1800 figure?” The State Department official responded simply that, “The $1800 amount was determined based on the funding that was available, and the LIRS analysis.”

In our group’s opinion this presents a problem if the LIRS cost-analysis report is not accurate, which we believe it is not. The report claimed that LIRS-affiliated resettlement agencies’ private contributions were paying for 61% of the cost of resettling refugees in the first 30-90 days. Yet, neither LIRS nor some of their affiliates whose costs LIRS analyzed have budgets which are more than 8% privately funded. How then were resettlement agencies supposedly able to pay for 61% of refugee resettlement costs? According to the LIRS analysis churches and other local groups and people were supplying about half of the resettlement agencies’ 61% share of costs. The churches and community groups’ contribution is listed as volunteer time and in-kind donations. So the the church groups and other local groups contribute 30%, with the State Department and other federal contributions paying 39%, and the resettlement agencies only contributing a supposed 31%, if we are to believe their figures.

Yet, where are the resettlement agencies accounting for their supposed 31% contribution? Certainly the small part of their budgets that apparently comes from private sources could not account for 31% of refugee resettlement costs up to the refugees’ first 30-90 days, could it? If so, then the figures reported in the LIRS cost-analysis report may not be accurate. Isn‘t this important to know if the PRM is depending so highly on the LIRS report? (By the way none of these figures take into account the much larger government contributions from the ORR and other government agencies which provide for refugees’ needs up to the end of their eighth month in the US. The LIRS cost-analysis and the recent State Department doubling of refugee funds only covers the R&P part of refugee resettlement – the first 30-90 days.)

Considering all of this information, why hasn’t the NSC and the State Department’s PRM consulted with independent groups and stakeholders who have been critical of how the resettlement agencies have used the public contribution – people who have no vested interests in the funding increase? So far almost all of the agencies and groups that have been consulted have enormous vested interests in advocating for an increase in government funding. Why would they not advocate for increased funding?

Even the few think-tank people who have been consulted have been highly swayed by the resettlement agencies, no doubt. Witness Eric Schwartz Assistant Secretary of the PRM, a former think-tank member and NSC official, who recently visited several refugee resettlement agencies and became convinced problems could be solved by adding more public money. Mr. Schwartz must have no comprehension of the critical need to be weary of the opinions of people with vested interests. If this official and former think-tank member also consulted fellow government agencies in the refugee program, agencies that also have deep vested interests, then we would have to ask, what government agency wouldn’t want more money?

If the NSC wants to have balanced information by which to make recommendations to the President and to the State Department, shouldn’t people and groups who are knowledgeable about the refugee program and have no vested interests in the money – and therefore no conflict-of-interests – give input about the current needs and problems of the program? For example, our group Friends of Refugees was never consulted. We have a wealth of information about how refugee resettlement  and government oversight agencies have performed over the past ten years. Although our group supports and advocates for refugee resettlement in the U.S., we have also been critical of the performance of those agencies. We believe that the data and recommendations we have are critical for determining what has gone wrong with the program. We receive no government funding nor have we requested any. None of us are former refugee resettlement agency employees with an ax to grind. Our only interest in the program is in helping refugees and also making sure that tax-payer money is spent wisely and accountably, i.e. we have no conflicts-of-interests as almost all of the people and groups do who are recommending increased public funding as the main, maybe only, way of solving problems in the refugee program.

Throwing more public money at the program, and without first consulting independent players, may well make the problems worse. Certainly, the increase in funding to the resettlement agencies should not have been done until those agencies could assure the government that they would use the funding accountably, and that the public will be given a mechanism by which to determine if the increase in public funding is being used responsibly. Finally, the huge increase in funding may well just make the refugee resettlement agencies less inclined to raise private contributions. If so, this increase in public funding may actually hurt refugees and damage public perception of the program.

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18 Responses to “Increase in R&P public funding – an analysis”

  1. […] In a new post today, Mr. Coen addresses the increased funding that was announced last week for what is known as the R & P program (that is the initial resettlement program) that the State Department funds.  FOR has further clarified some of the sketchy information on the doubling of the funds paid to contractors, but many questions remain.  Here is how Mr. Coen opens his inquiry: […]

  2. […] White House to reform the floundering program that was discussed yesterday at Friends of Refugees here.   And, we should be able to see the notes from the Task Force meetings […]

  3. […] Of course we know all about conflict of interests at refugee resettlement agencies  such as the IRC in the U.S. These agencies have trumpeted, via their PR and lobbying group RCUSA, studies such as LIR’s The Real Cost of Welcome, which claim that they, the resettlement agencies, cover most of the costs of refugee resettlement (something which we know is a total fiction, as the U.S. government pays for the lions share of the costs of resettlement). The resettlement agencies are also the ones that have now greatly benefitted from the State Department’s recent decision to double R&P public funding (see our analysis). […]

  4. […] Don’t take free stuff?! That’s what the refugee resettlement program is all about — community members donating free stuff and time to help refugees so that the government doesn’t have to do it all alone, otherwise known as the “public/private partnership”. Hello? Apparently the Catholic agency is forgetting that is how they just convinced the State Department to double R&P funding, by claiming that they give too much free stuff and volunteer time, via churches, community groups and other volunteers, and that the government must do more (here). […]

  5. Em said

    FoR,

    I’m a social worker working with refugees in Abilene, TX, and, while doing research on the R&P per capita grant, I stumbled across your article/post. Your analysis intrigued me (especially since I had oddly just seen that LIRS report the previous day), so I’ve been doing some digging of my own.

    I found that, whether or not PRM researched this, the LIRS got their $1,800 figure from a National Research Council study (“The new Americans: Economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration,” 1997, Washington, DC: National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences Press, info is on p. 349). In a document called “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Common Arguments and Counter-Arguments” (linked at bottom) the LIRS cited W. Ewing’s 2005 article, “The Economics of Necessity: Economic Report of the President Underscores the Importance of Immigration,” which cited the actual NRC study. The NRC study does have some other interesting things to say, as well (perhaps more interesting than this probably outdated figure).

    I don’t work for a VOLAG–in fact, I can be pretty critical of them myself–but I thought this info might be useful for you. I agree that throwing money at the problem is not the best solution–though it is part of the solution. There should be better oversight/regulation and there should most definitely be a better required system of continuing supportive services, especially for refugees from pre-literate societies who are having an incredibly difficult time of it. Abilene is a small (pop. ~110k) and relatively new preferred community, so it is struggling with filling the service gap for post-resettlement period refugees. There’s a very interesting article on new immigrant gateways that talks about these struggles in reference to immigrants, but many of the same principles apply to refugees (Waters & Jiménez, 2005. “Assessing Immigrant Assimilation: New empirical and theoretical challenges.” Annual Review of Sociology, 31, 105-125, doi: 29.010202.100026).

    LIRS document: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CEUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.elca.org%2Fadvocacy%2Fissues%2Fimmigration%2F06-03-27-immarg.pdf&ei=Mee7S-2QF4SglAem-MC6Bw&usg=AFQjCNHvaUVv7qbHHNrU-eib9sj4-taWnw&sig2=HqtiNGBNzt_qzlJBnRwYWQ

  6. Thanks for your response Em.

    I know that conventional wisdom in the resettlement field is that more government funding is the solution to all problems, but I’m not convinced that is true. I see a lot of problems that are caused by bad management. Pouring more funding their way may just allow the problems to get worse, and the money could just be wasted away if the main problems are not solved first. So, maybe throwing money at the problem may not be the best solution, but it also may be a bad idea.

    Prior to 1980 this wasn’t a government program. It was a charitable program. Adding public money seems to have progressively taken away incentives for the charities to raise required private funding. If we add more public funds now, then will that make it even worse? In addition, regulations that are already in place that I agree with are just not being enforced, so I’m not certain what good it would do to add or change regulations until we get effective oversight.

    Thank you for the information about the National Research Council study, “The new Americans: Economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration”. LIRS, however, did arrive at the $1800 per capita figure from their cost-analysis study, The Real Cost of Welcome. Are you saying that they tried to arrive at that figure, which matches the one in the NRC study, by working backwards with their calculations?

    • Em said

      I was not able to find the $1,800 figure in their “The Real Cost of Welcome” document–can you point me to the correct page number? I found the LIRS’s $1,800 figure in their 2006 document, “,” which cited the Ewing article as its source, and Ewing cited the NRC study as his source. I had assumed the 2008 document used the same info as the 2006 one.

      I agree that such a large increase in funding will potentially/likely lower incentives in the long run for VOLAGs to acquire private funding if additional stipulations are not added (perhaps making it a matching or partial-match grant)–but that seems unlikely to happen right now. Though this policy has changed to provide more funding to refugees for the first 30-90 days, the greater need is for more sustained funding for each person (from public and private funding streams), a much better and more detailed accountability system for VOLAGs, and large-scale public awareness campaigns to encourage private funding increases for refugee aid.

      It might be better if the grant required the following of the VOLAGs: (1) staff training in fundraising techniques (which either the ORR or PRM would provide through webinars, perhaps, or agencies could get local training if the training program passes certain quality/success standards) to be conducted within a short and specific timeframe; (2) agencies with a client-staff ratio that is over a certain limit must use part of their $700 per capita portion of the grant to hire and train additional caseworkers; (3) agencies must acquire a funding match (or partial-match) a certain length of time (maybe 6 mo. or a year) after fundraising training has been completed and immediate fund matching for subsequent years in which they receive the grant; (4) flexibility to use any leftover funds after the 30-90 day period, but only for direct aid to clients (not management overhead); (5) on-site third-party program evaluation; and (6) evidence-based staff training and practice.

      I think, with the right guidelines and oversight, increased funding could be useful because agencies are so understaffed I don’t even understand how they manage anything.

      Thanks

      • Em said

        I meant the 2006 LIRS document “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Common Arguments and Counter-Arguments,” which is archived at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CEUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.elca.org%2Fadvocacy%2Fissues%2Fimmigration%2F06-03-27-immarg.pdf&ei=Mee7S-2QF4SglAem-MC6Bw&usg=AFQjCNHvaUVv7qbHHNrU-eib9sj4-taWnw&sig2=HqtiNGBNzt_qzlJBnRwYWQ

      • Apparently I confused the LIRS report, ‘The Real Cost of Welcome’, for the June 2009 IRC report, ‘Iraqi Refugees in the United States: In Dire Straits’. In the IRC report on p12 the third bullet point says, “Starting in fiscal year 2010, the State Department should increase the Reception and Placement grant to $1,800.”

        The LIRS report, ‘The Real Cost of Welcome’, in fact recommended $1500 per capita (note: in 2008 dollars), not $1800.

        Also, CWS’s May 2009 report, ‘Impact of the Recession on Refugee Resettlement’, also recommended that, “the $900 Reception and Placement grant should be at least doubled.” So, in other words, CWS was also recommending at least $1800 minimum per capita.

      • I suppose they say they’re understaffed because they don’t have money to hire enough case workers, but maybe they could hire more if they reduced their directors and/or managers’ pay a bit. For example, the International Institute of CT that lost its State Dept refugee contract in 2008 due to abuses, was paying it’s director over $100,000 a year while ignoring the basic needs of its refugee clients.

        Also, some of these local resettlement agencies (affiliates) raise so little private funding its no wonder they can’t hire enough staff. I noticed that Houston’s Alliance for Multi-Cultural Community Services had a budget in 2007 that was funded 91% by government grants and contracts. Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas was 94%. Lutheran Services of Georgia, 96%. Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, 97%. This happens even though they contractually agreed to take the State Dept money simply as seed money for raising their own private funding.

        Also, improving guidelines won’t have any effect if they are not enforced, e.g. the ORR currently requires states (i.e. state refugee coordinators) to have meetings, not less often than quarterly, between resettlement agencies and state and local government units to coordinate on incoming refugees, yet it just doesn’t happen. Repeatedly we hear of local governments who had no idea how many refugees would arrive, what needs they would have, etc. Its a good regulation, and simply ignored.

  7. Em said

    How can we affect change if we simply point out flaws in an existing system without offering possible solutions? If we only criticize and we don’t offer ideas for fixing problems, the decision-makers won’t listen. If we want to fix problems we have to problem-solve. That’s true for any situation if you’re trying to affect change.

    Among a number of other things, I suggested third-party (to reduce possible bias) on-site evaluations of agencies. What do you suggest?

    • My suggestions are listed in “Friends of Refugees’ Recommendations to the National Security Council”. Look in the Document Library tab above. They’re near the bottom of the list.

      Do you want real feedback on your suggestions? I would say, 1) If we can’t count on charities to know how to fund raise then we might want to rethink even involving charities in the refugee program. I don’t believe its government’s role to teach charities how to fundraise. (2) Agencies with a client-staff ratio that is over a certain limit are probably that way because they don’t raise enough private funding, so they won’t be able to give up any part of their $700 per capita cut of the R&P without having to eliminate more positions. (3) I like the idea of a match grant in the R&P, but they should not be able to keep the balance when a refugee gets a job, etc., as in the ORR Matching Grant program, because that just encourages rushing the refugee into the worst, low-paying, unsustainable jobs that can’t support families. Also, they should not be able to assign a value to free, donated labor as part of their donation, and valuations of donated items (in-kind assistance) should be closely monitored, regularly audited, and open to public inspection. Right now agencies pass off tremendous amounts of worthless junk to refugees in order to get the ORR matching funds; (4) I don’t agree with flexibility to use any leftover funds after the 30-90 day period for direct aid to other clients because, again, it encourages rushing refugees into jobs that don’t make sense, and it also gives agencies a tool to punish refugees who speak up about abuses. Agencies have all the flexibility they need in their own private funds. Give each refugee the balance of the per capita funding. They know what they need and will spend it well; (5) What do you mean by ‘third party’ in “on-site third-party program evaluation”? Who would that be?; and (6) What is ‘evidence-based’ staff training and practice? Please elaborate. Do you know that current training is not evidence-based?

      • Em said

        Yes, thank you for feedback. And thanks for pointing me to your suggestions. Very useful & informative. I really like your point about competency standards for community/cultural orientation. That’s one of the things I’m working on now with refugees using the Asset-Based Community Development model for planning. The refugees want to learn the things you listed, but no one is actually responsible for teaching them. Big national service gap.

        1) If we can’t count on charities to know how to fund raise then we might want to rethink even involving charities in the refugee program. I don’t believe its government’s role to teach charities how to fundraise.

        Then who would do the job if not charities? I know there is plenty of corruption within the system, but I don’t think everyone is corrupt. Why start from scratch when you can try to fix an existing framework? No use reinventing the wheel–I think this is just a broken wheel. Some agencies have some pretty bad things going on, but that’s not true for all of them. I know that, locally, the refugee community has told me the IRC was great for them during their resettlement–helped them with everything, took care of all their needs, was always there for them when they asked for help–they say their issue is with the HUGE service gap after they’ve passed the resettlement period.

        Maybe some of the agencies just don’t know how to fundraise well. I’m, um, how do I put this… I’m pretty sure staff in many human services agencies in general don’t know how to do a lot of things that they really should know how to do. I do know that human service agencies & nonprofits often hire staff with the necessary qualifications, for whatever reasons (CPS, for example, may hire anyone, not just those with professional service degrees such as licensed social workers, which can result in lower service quality and an agency climate of negativity toward clients). I’m suggesting that the agencies would be required to have good quality fundraising training, but would have a choice between (1) gov’t webinars to teach fundraising techniques (they do webinars in other areas–there are quite a few webinars at recovery.gov) or (2) proven training programs that could be taken locally. Either way, agencies would be required to provide proof that all staff had been trained.

        Since government oversight is currently not being done appropriately or effectively, obviously some sort of enforcement from the DOS for the PRM & from the DHHS for the ORR would be necessary to make the PRM & ORR enforce their own policies, but I don’t have any great ideas for how that could be done. The DOS & DHHS may need pushing from their Secretaries who would need pushing from Obama who would need pushing from voters. So, I suppose that could mean concerned citizens and advocacy groups lobbying their state Representatives and Senators, among other things (I’ve done lobbying with a group of social workers while our state congress was in session in Austin & got private meetings with our Representative, so I know it is possible for smaller groups to get the ear of policymakers). Advocating with philanthropic stakeholder groups could help raise funding for public awareness campaigns, which some of them could actually do themselves since they have such a huge audience (I’m thinking of groups like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants).

        (2) Agencies with a client-staff ratio that is over a certain limit are probably that way because they don’t raise enough private funding, so they won’t be able to give up any part of their $700 per capita cut of the R&P without having to eliminate more positions.

        With required fundraising training and making it a match or partial-match grant they could use some $ to hire more (qualified) staff.

        (3) I like the idea of a match grant in the R&P, but they should not be able to keep the balance when a refugee gets a job, etc., as in the ORR Matching Grant program, because that just encourages rushing the refugee into the worst, low-paying, unsustainable jobs that can’t support families. Also, they should not be able to assign a value to free, donated labor as part of their donation, and valuations of donated items (in-kind assistance) should be closely monitored, regularly audited, and open to public inspection. Right now agencies pass off tremendous amounts of worthless junk to refugees in order to get the ORR matching funds;
        (4) I don’t agree with flexibility to use any leftover funds after the 30-90 day period for direct aid to other clients because, again, it encourages rushing refugees into jobs that don’t make sense, and it also gives agencies a tool to punish refugees who speak up about abuses. Agencies have all the flexibility they need in their own private funds. Give each refugee the balance of the per capita funding. They know what they need and will spend it well.

        Unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, letting them use leftover funds only for direct per capita aid (like the original $1100) and not for administrative overhead wouldn’t encourage low-quality service because the agency couldn’t use the money for themselves–they could only use it for refugees. The agency wouldn’t keep any remaining balance–it would go directly to refugees. Is that what you were saying or was it something else?

        Good point–I agree that everything should be closely monitored, audited, and definitely open to public inspection. I wish they would require 501(c)(3)’s to publish their records online.

        (5) What do you mean by ‘third party’ in “on-site third-party program evaluation”? Who would that be?

        You can contract with program evaluators, which are by definition 3rd-party (social workers, for example, are all trained in program evaluation & I’m sure some other service professionals are, as well–I’m just not sure which ones). They are hired to scour every facet of an agency or program objectively (no hiring an evaluator with potential conflicts of interests) and produce a detailed evaluation report that can go to agencies and stakeholders or whomever. Agencies do sometimes get defensive of criticisms (if they’re smart, they won’t–if they’re smart, they’ll find ways to strengthen their weak points), but it is what it is. I said ‘onsite’ because there are so many things you learn about a program just by observing that you wouldn’t be able to see from reports or other written materials.

        I didn’t realize the gov’t was only required to do “monitorinng visits” every 8-13 years. That is absolutely ridiculous.

        (6) What is ‘evidence-based’ staff training and practice? Please elaborate. Do you know that current training is not evidence-based?

        Evidence-based practice (EBP) means combining the best research evidence available, specific client (refugee) characteristics, and other resources (appropriate experience, expertise, etc.), while taking context into account, to make practice decisions. The purpose is to better ensure that clients get the best possible care. (There’s a good diagram at http://www.ebbp.org/images/3circles.jpg.) It takes training to learn all the details of the process, but it can definitely improve service. That’s what I mean by evidence-based training–that staff would receive training in how to do EBP. Since PRM & ORR don’t require this, I doubt many (if any) agencies do this because it takes more time and work.

      • Em said

        Meant to say that I do know that human service agencies & nonprofits often hire staff WITHOUT the necessary qualifications

  8. Actually the resettlement agencies are already responsible for community and cultural orientation. In the State Dept’s R&P Basic Terms of the Cooperative Agreement, one of the core services listed is Community and Other Orientation, in 8.C.5 — Core Services, d. Community and Other Orientation (see below).

    Look how light the requirements are, and no third party ever tests the refugees to see if they learned anything. I’ve tested refugees on basic community and cultural orientation after these orientations and the ones I tested knew next to nothing. They had nothing written to refer back to (repetition is always key for new, unfamiliar subjects). Didn’t know how to use the bus. Didn’t know where the library was. No familiarity with American denominations and coins. Never heard of freedom of speech. Didn’t know they had freedom of association (one of their resettlement agencies said they were not allowed to talk to or associate with us). No tour of the city, just pointing to places on a map so that the refugees had no idea what they were talking about.

    d. Community and Other Orientation

    During the 90-day initial reception and placement period, the Recipient shall provide or ensure that the refugees assigned to it are provided orientation, with appropriate language interpretation if necessary, concerning:

    1. the role of the Recipient and any other individual or group assisting in sponsorship;

    2. public services and facilities;

    3. personal and public safety;

    4. public transportation;

    5. standards of personal and public hygiene;

    6. the availability of other publicly supported refugee services;

    7. personal and household budgeting and finance;

    8. information on permanent resident alien status and family reunion procedures;

    9. the legal requirement of each adult refugee to fully repay his or her IOM transportation loan in accordance with the established payment schedule; and

    10. the legal requirement to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of each change of address and new address within ten days. Authority: Secs. 103, 265 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by sec. 11, Public Law 97-166, 95 Stat. 1617 (8 U.S.C. 1103, 1305).

    To the extent practical, written orientation materials covering the topics listed above in the refugee’s native language shall be made available to the refugee upon arrival.

  9. As for fundraising, the whole point of having national VOLAGS is to have them do training for their affiliates. They can even contract it out to experts if, as charities themselves, they know nothing about fund-raising.

    Regarding what you say is a huge service gap after refugees have passed the resettlement period, I’m not so sure about that. I do know that resettlement groups have repeated that so often that many people no longer even question the validity of it. Refugees get all sorts of services from the government. Cash assistance and medical coverage for at least eight months. WIC to teach about children’s nutrition and assistance buying milk and food; Food stamps ongoing, TANF, Section-8 and public public housing, schooling for kids and all sorts of children’s programs, ESL for adults, ORR-funded ethnic and community groups and all their programs and services, many other government programs. Plus, real charities provide all sorts of other services.

  10. 1) The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants is one of the nine VOLAGS. They aren’t going to be advocating for the State Dept and ORR to actually enforce their refugee contracts and regulations.

    2) Again, with a match they can just add more dilapidated junk (in-kind donations) as their match like they do now with the ORR Matching Grant. Shouldn’t we fix that broken program before starting a new one?

    3 & 4) I guess you’re right. If they have to reuse the leftover R&P money for direct assistance to other refugees it may work, except they could still punish outspoken refugees by holding back R&P money and calling it ‘leftover’. How would it be possible to have leftover if they are claiming that $1800 per capita doesn’t even come close to the actual costs?

    Even as it is now there is no proof they use R&P money directly for refugees as required. In Kansas City JVS claimed they spent more than $1,400 of State Dept. R&P money on household items for one Burundi refugee family. They also claimed they spent from their own resources $875 on clothes, furniture and household items. Yet a reporter looked around the apartment and said it was hard to see $2,275-worth of household items in the apartment — a couch that appeared to be missing its legs and sinking in the middle, one wooden table that could barely seat the family of 10, the scattering of mismatched office chairs in the living room. Some of the items that were claimed to be provided, e.g. a baby bed, never appeared in the refugee family’s apartment. This is just a case of cheating that happened to make it into the newspaper. Think of it as the tip of an enormous iceberg.

    5) Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND) in Fargo had a consultant evaluate its refugee program, after so many refugees were neglected and cast aside that it made it into the local newspaper (and that conservative rag publishes almost no local wrongdoings, with Lutheran anything in Lutheran North Dakota being a sacred cow) and it was all hush, hush. The public never saw the evaluation — though the refugee program is a PUBLIC program run mostly with public money.

    By the way, the State Dept. is now claiming that since 2005 they are inspecting each resettlement agency once every 5 years.

  11. […] ordered by President Obama via the National Security Council’s (NSC) interagency task force (here) is really nothing more than a smokescreen to secure more public funding from the Congress for the […]

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