Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Archive for the ‘faith-based’ Category

USSCB – 97.7% of budget came from federal grants and contracts

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 29, 2012

According to a blurb in the Catholic Culture publication in 2011 The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB) received 92.5% of its budget from federal grants and contracts. Apparently the person writing the piece does not understand that the refugee travel loan fees also derive from the federal government, meaning that USSCB actually gets 97.7% of its budget from the federal government (refugee resettlement contractors may keep 25% of the travel loan money that the US government requires refugees to pay back for their travel to the US). The USSCB is the largest refugee resettlement contractor in the US and resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States in 2011. Strangely, the highly touted “private sector” contribution factor of the “public-private cooperation” management style of the resettlement program derives mainly from federal government oversight agencies such as the US Department of State. Catholic Culture has the numbers:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report.

According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1 million budget came from federal grants and contracts, while under $25,000 came from private donations.

Nearly 80% of expenses were allotted to diocesan programs and direct assistance to refugees and other clients. In 2011, Migration and Refugee Services resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States… Read more here

source: Migration and Refugee Services: 2011 annual report (USCCB)

Posted in Catholic, faith-based, funding, public/private partnership, State Department, Travel Loan Program, USCCB | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Segue Refugee Partners Ministries Hopes To Convert Bhutanese In Dallas

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 23, 2012

A Baptist organization is hoping to lead Nepali-Bhutanese refugees in Dallas away from their Hindu cultural roots. Segue Refugee Partners Ministries will help out the refugees as a prelude to their agenda.

Will they be honest and upfront with the refugees and tell them what the plan is?

…Matthew Johnston and Elizabeth Hall lead Segue Refugee Partners Ministries, the nonprofit organization… They have been connecting with Bhutanese refugees for more than a year…Segue’s vision is to build partnerships and relationships between these Bhutanese refugees and American Christians who are willing to relate and help out in whatever way they can. The refugees have a variety of needs, from help them deal with insurance-related issues regarding health care to finding jobs in the city. The hope is also to lead the refugees from a Hindu background into a relationship with Jesus Christ… Read more here

Posted in Baptist, converting refugees, Dallas/Fort Worth, faith-based, Hindu, Nepali Bhutanese | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Catholic Charities Galveston-Houston CEO Resigns

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 7, 2012

The CEO/president of Catholic Charities Galveston-Houston is resigning. This follows the fallout from their attempted cover-up of the sexual assault of a refugee boy in one of group’s shelters, and then their lack of answers to key questions about the cover-up. An article in the Houston Chronicle covers the resignation:

The CEO/president of Catholic Charities Galveston-Houston has announced plans to resign after more than six years at the helm of the nonprofit organization. The organization confirmed the departure of Bonna Kol in a statement, but did not respond to questions about whether her resignation was connected to the fallout from a sexual abuse scandal at St. Michael’s Home for Children…

…The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement issued a scathing report that found the organization’s senior management “deliberately misled” federal officials about a July 1 sexual assault involving children at one of the shelters run through its St. Michael’s Home for Children.

The resettlement office accused senior managers of doctoring incident reports and failing to immediately seek medical treatment for the boy, who allegedly was anally penetrated, records show…

…Two Catholic Charities executives resigned and two other managers were fired in connection with the incident… Read more here

Posted in Catholic, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, children, faith-based, Houston, ORR, safety | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Perdue Farms Chicken Processing Plant Recruits Refugees From Greensboro NC

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 29, 2012

The World Relief office in Greensboro has been coordinating with a Perdue Farms chicken processing plant in Rockingham that has been recruiting Myanmar and Nepali-Bhutanese refugees. An article in the Richmond County Daily Journal has more:

Employment assistants from the organization World Relief drove eight Burmese and Nepalese refugees from Greensboro on Thursday morning to apply for jobs at Perdue Farms in Rockingham.

When Townsend, Inc. chicken processing plants closed around the Triad area last summer, over 400 workers were left without jobs. According to Susie Jordan, English instructor for Perdue Farms, Perdue welcomes anyone with experience processing chicken…

…“We are employment assistance,” said World Relief Employment Assistant Sylvia Bikusa. “We help with training, learning how to fill out applications, everything they need to help them become self-sufficient…

…While in town, getting settled at their new jobs, the refugees will likely stay with friends and relatives, said Jordan. She is hoping to set up a temporary apartment for commuters to stay in during the week while they prepare to have their families relocate to Rockingham…

…“The [World Relief] office in Durham called and said they are looking for workers, too,” said Jordan… Read more here

Another WordPress blog mentions that in April 2010 there were also about 100 Myanmar refugees working at the Perdue Farms plant in Lumber Bridge — not far from Rockingham.

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, faith-based, Greensboro, Nepali Bhutanese, poultry production, Raleigh-Durham, secondary migration, refugee, World Relief | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Best Practices — Placing Refugee Families With Other Refugees Without Agreement?

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 26, 2012

This topic seems to fall under the “Do not do” section of the best practices category. According to the State Department resettlement contracts, resettlement contractors are not to place incoming refugee cases in temporary housing, rather they should place refugees in their own permanent housing, e.g. an apartment rental, upon their arrival. Nevertheless, some contractors do this despite the requirement (I understand that once in a while refugees arrive in the US on short notice from the State Department, but what other excuse contractors are using for use of temporary housing I am not aware of). According to a July 2009 monitoring inspection, World Relief Aurora – an affiliate of World Relief in Aurora, Illinois – is one of the contractors that government inspectors found which have failed to place refugees into their own housing upon arrival. In this case, the agency placed refugees into the homes of unrelated refugee host families.

Monitors visited four refugee families and found that none of the adults were working yet, even though they were eager to work — one family had been in Aurora for four months, and another refugee man three months earlier. In addition, none of the refugees had received an initial health screening, which the Operational Guidance contract document requires be done within 30 days of their arrival. With regard to the housing:

…All of the refugees that monitors visited except [an] Iraqi family had been placed with unrelated refugee host families for a few days when they first arrived until they could sign leases for their own apartments. No form of written agreement showed what the host families had agreed to provide or for what period. The affiliate assured monitors that they provide bedding and other supplies, and that families usually volunteered. The Burmese Chin refugee told monitors that his bed and other items belonged to a previous tenant who had moved away. A case note in his file also revealed that the affiliate had asked the refugee to pay a previous tenant’s rent share for a period before the refugee moved in. The young Karenni refugee did not understand what furnishings were his to keep if he moved out… Read report here

Here is a snippet from a February 2010 posting which shows World Relief has long-placed refugees into non-permanent housing upon arrival.

… [a] Burundian refugee woman in Boise should not have lived with church members after initially arriving in Boise. The State Department’s Admissions Office has repeatedly warned World Relief affiliates (here, here and here) that this practice is prohibited…

Posted in best practices, Chicago, Cooperative Agreement, faith-based, housing, Karenni, late health screenings, Operational Guidance, World Relief | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World Relief Setting Up Operations in Oshkosh

Posted by Christopher Coen on January 22, 2012

Oh gosh. World Relief, in my opinion one of the public’s most intransigent and problem-plagued refugee resettlement contractors, continues to spread itself out (problems including refusing to hire an interpreter because he was Muslim, partner church staff and members moving into apartment complexes with refugees to “foster deeper relationships”, alienating other partner churches and having refugee clients work without pay, and placing new refugees in other refugee clients’ homes without agreements.) The group will soon open a new office in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and may begin resettling its first group of refugees in February. A reader-submitted announcement about the office opening is found at The Oshkosh Northwestern:

International humanitarian agency World Relief will open an office in Oshkosh this month. With approval and funding from the U.S. Department of State, World Relief has selected the Fox Cities as a Wisconsin base for a nationwide program of refugee resettlement and support.

Longtime Oshkosh resident Norm Leatherwood will direct this office and UW Oshkosh Human Services graduate Sarah Kurer will serve as a case-worker and Resettlement and Placement Program coordinator…

…As an agency partner with the U.S. Department of State for the past 30 years, World Relief has assisted more than 200,000 victims of persecution resettle as legal immigrants in the United States…

…While details are still being finalized, the first group of refugees could move to Oshkosh by the middle of February… Read more here

Posted in churches, evangelical, faith-based, Oshkosh, World Relief | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Domestic Missionaries Set Their Sights On “The Younger Set” Refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 29, 2011

According to the Global Frontiers Missions website, they are a Christian missionary group targeting those whom they call “THUMB people” – so-called “Tribal” people, Hindus, nonreligious people (the so-called ”Unreligious”), Muslims, and Buddhists (apparently they see little value in other people’s cultures, although I suspect they enjoy foreign foods). The organization seeks to “multiply”, that is, to evangelize and “discipline” refugees and immigrants to the point that they can “go back” and “spread” — among their own people — the group’s brand of faith. The organization recently branched out to target refugees, immigrants and international students in Houston and Clarkston, GA, but also operates in Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New York City, and the Twin Cities. They find that young people’s minds are apparently more pliable for religious conversion, and that they can use children to get at the parents. OneNewsNow has the story:

A missionary organization is focusing on spreading the gospel in two communities in the United States that are very diverse.

Houston, Texas has drawn immigrants from many countries, and according to Grant Haynes of Global Frontiers Missions(GFM), Clarkston, Georgia has done likewise…

“We help teach English. We help run an Internet café where people can learn typing skills and take the job skills that they have in their countries to come up with a resume that helps make sense in this country and [helps] them with job placement,” Haynes details. “We help their kids with after-school programs.”

He adds that GFM has found that the younger set especially is becoming bilingual, and many are open to the gospel… Read more here

and

Nathan Harper has moved to the Atlanta area to join Global Frontier Missions in ministering to a large concentration of immigrants and refugees…

…The ministry will also be reaching out to children, which Harper says is a good avenue to reach the parents. Global Frontier Missions has a similar project in Houston and is hoping to utilize the same approach to present the gospel to immigrants elsewhere in the United States… Read more here

Posted in Atlanta, Buddhist, children, Christian, churches, converting refugees, faith-based, Hindu, Houston, Islamic | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fired immigrant employees sue JVS of Kansas City – claim agency scapegoated them

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 5, 2011

Almost two years now after the Kansas City Star – and the Pitch a year earlier – published accounts about Jewish Vocational Service of Kansas City (JVS) placing refugees in substandard housing (here and here), comes word that three former employees of the agency are suing, claiming they were blamed for their supervisor’s bad decisions. The three are suing for discrimination due to their race, skin color and national origin, claiming that their supervisor, Deborah Fiene, who was in charge of housing, scapegoated them for her own poor decisions in placing refugees in extremely substandard and unsanitary housing. The three claim that JVS fired them due to “unsatisfactory job performance” yet they all had received positive evaluations and each promoted less than a year earlier. They claim in their suit papers that Feine was never punished despite evidence of impropriety on her job performance. They also claim that the agency rifled through their desks and stole personal documents, including citizenship papers, while later arguing in court papers that the agency was exempt from the lawsuit because it was a religious organisation. A Kenyen newspaper (one of the accusers originates from Kenya), The Standard, has the story:

A Kenyan US based journalist and two other African immigrants have gone to court and sued a Jewish organisation in the US for racial discrimination.

Peter Makori, a resident of Kansas City who originally hails from Kisii in Kenya and Abdi Murasaal and Bakar Abdalla from Somalia have sued Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) of Kansas City for damages claiming they were dismissed from their employment because their boss, of Caucasian origin (white) discriminated against them due to their race, skin colour and national origins.

The three, through their lawyer, Brian Barjenbruch complained in their suit papers filed in the circuit court of Kansas City Missouri, that a white female employee who was herself not punished committed the mistakes that led to their dismissal from work…

…Makori and Abdallah worked as refugee resettlement case managers at the JVS, while Mursaal was their general manager at the organisation’s Centre for New Americans.

They are seeking…compensation for unfairly losing their jobs and other inconveniences. They claim in their suit papers the fact that their colleague who is white was never punished despite evidence of impropriety on her job performance showed that they were victims of racial discrimination.

The centre works with the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) – a body that is contracted by the US State Department for Homeland Security – to bring refugees to America from turbulent regions around the world….

…The former JVS employees have claimed that their colleague, Deborah Fiene, who was in charge of housing, had allegedly placed refugees in dirty and sub-standard housing, which contravened the regulations of the State Department and USCRI. Despite this, she was not punished but the boss used the three as her scapegoat and summarily sacked them.

They claimed that their complaints against Fiene to the organisation’s executive director, who is also white, that the housing coordinator was putting refugees in poor housing, were dismissed…

…Makori…claimed in his suit papers that a few days preceding his dismissal, his desk at work was ransacked and numerous documents taken away…

…Bakar claimed in his suit papers that his desk was ransacked and several documents, including his citizen’s certificate, which was in his drawers lost. Abdi claimed that the management had ransacked his desk and several documents taken away.

They pointed out their employer had accused them in their dismissal letters that they were sacked because of “unsatisfactory job performance” yet they all had received positive evaluation and each promoted less than a year earlier… Read more here

The case involved more than JVS simply placing refugees in wretched housing. Newspaper accounts reported that refugees were left on their own for medical appointments, and that JVS failed to give a refugee family all sorts of minimum-required household items, while documenting that it had done so.

Posted in faith-based, household items, missing or broken, housing, housing, substandard, Jewish, Jewish Vocational Services, Kansas City, Kenyen, medical care, Somali, Sudanese, USCRI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bhutanese families coming to school without coats or good shoes in Lancaster

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 30, 2011

It turns out that resettlement agencies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania have not been giving coats or good shoes to refugees as early as the winter of 2009 (even though resettlement agencies sign a contract with the US State Department promising that they will give refugees Appropriate seasonal clothing required for work, school, and everyday use as required for all members of the family, including proper footwear for each member of the family, here). A school district official also visited refugee families and found instances where two or more Bhutanese families sharing an apartment. The two local resettlement agencies, Church World Service Lancaster and Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern PA, apparently had not even informed the School District of Lancaster – or at least the School District’s point person for homeless students – about the arrival of the Bhutanese families. An article in the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era covers this resettlement site:

In late 2009, with winter setting in, the children of some Bhutanese families were coming to school without coats or good shoes.

Ken Marzinko, School District of Lancaster’s point person for homeless students, started visiting the parents, and in some cases, found two or more Bhutanese families sharing an apartment.

“I was caught off guard,” Marzinko said of hearing about the refugees and their needs.

Like most Americans, Marzinko wasn’t aware the United States had in 2008 begun taking in 60,000 of the more than 100,000 Bhutanese crowding camps in Nepal. More than 800 now live in Lancaster County, and many more are in the pipeline... Read more here

The most recent State Department inspections of the two local resettlement agencies, from 2006, show other problems. The report for Church World Service Lancaster shows that only 53% of refugee clients were employed after 90 days, even though jobs at that time were quite plentiful in Lancaster, with an unemployment rate of only 3.4% in 2006. Agency staff had also used white out throughout the case logs. 

The Lutheran Children and Family Service inspection report also showed that refugees’ relatives who helped with their resettlement did not understand that the agency was ultimately responsible for all contract requirements. Apparently the agency had duped these relatives into believing that they were responsible for the requirements of the agency’s contract (a common occurence according to these State Department monitoring reports). In three of four refugee homes that monitors visited, batteries in smoke detectors were dead.

Although the two agencies, the Lutheran agency being a subcontractor of LIRS, were vested with the State Department contract requirement that each refugee receive a physical health screening within 30 days, refugees were not being screened within that time requirement. Case logs also did not make references to airport reception of refugees and employment referals — as supposedly equired — so that there was no documentation that these services were provided by the resettlement agencies.

Posted in children, clothes, Cooperative Agreement, CWS, employment services, faith-based, housing, housing, overcrowding, late health screenings, Lutheran, Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern PA, meeting refugees at the airport, Nepali Bhutanese, Operational Guidance, Pennsylvania, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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