Archive for the ‘funding’ Category
Posted by Christopher Coen on February 16, 2014
In the fiscal year ending in September, resettlement agencies in Georgia proposed resettling 3520 refugees, yet only resettled 2,710 refugees. Even that number, however, was up 8 percent from the year before. The U.S. State Department confirmed it limited the number of refugees coming to Georgia based partly on the state government’s request for reductions. The Republican governor has asked for reductions in resettlement since 2012. At 2,710 refugees resettled last year, that ranks the state at eighth among states in refugees resettled, closely matching Georgia’s ninth-place ranking for total population. The state government complains about Georgia’s share of costs to support refugees – an estimated $6.7 million in state and local taxpayer costs in fiscal year 2011 for public schools, child care and other expenses. The resettlement agencies point out that the federal government directed over $10 million dollars to the state for resettlement in that fiscal year alone, and that private aid money was also attracted to the statewide resettlement efforts (though they don’t say how much in private funding. One problem is that the resettlement agencies are concentrating nearly all the refugees in the Atlanta area, particularly in DeKalb County and especially in Clarkston – not only stressing that area but resulting in de facto segregation.) An article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution covers the issue:
The federal government is placing new limits on the number of refugees being resettled in Georgia, following requests from Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration for sharp cuts, public records show.
State officials started asking for reductions in 2012, citing worries that refugees are straining taxpayer-funded resources, including public schools.
Alarmed by the state’s position, resettlement agencies are publicly highlighting the economic benefits refugees bring. The agencies say refugees create a net gain by working, creating businesses, paying taxes and attracting more federal and private aid money than what the state and local governments spend on services…
In the fiscal year ending in September, Georgia received 2,710 refugees from around the world. That is up 8 percent from the year before. But it is 810 fewer people than originally proposed by resettlement agencies.
The U.S. State Department confirmed it limited the number of refugees coming to Georgia, based partly on the state’s requests…
In July, Deal’s administration asked the federal government to keep the same limits in place for this fiscal year, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And the federal government is sticking to roughly the same range.
Georgia’s Department of Human Services — which distributes federal funding to resettlement agencies — estimated it cost $6.7 million in state and local taxpayer funds to support refugees in fiscal year 2011. That figure includes Georgia’s share of costs for public schools, child care and other expenses. The state’s estimate does not reflect taxes paid by refugees and the businesses they have created. A state report also shows the federal government kicked in $10.2 million for refugees during the same time frame.
Over the past three fiscal years, 7,866 refugees have been resettled in Georgia. During that same time frame, 184,589 were resettled nationwide. Georgia ranked eighth among states in the past fiscal year, according to an AJC analysis of pubic records. That hews closely to Georgia’s ninth-place ranking for total population.
“Georgia has been a welcoming home for many refugees, but the program does pose some challenges for the state,” said Brian Robinson, a spokesman for the governor. “We’re willing to do our part, but we want to make sure we’re not taking more than our fair share.”…
J.D. McCrary, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, called the state’s actions “unfortunate.” He and other advocates said Georgia — a state of more than 9 million people — could successfully resettle as many as 4,000 refugees each year… Read more here
Posted in capacity, Catholic Charities Atlanta, funding, Georgia, IRC, moratorium / restriction / reduction, Office of Admissions, schools | Tagged: Catholic Charities Atlanta, child care, funding, immigration, J.D. McCrary, Nathan Deal, reduction, refugees, resettlement, schools | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on February 7, 2014
The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) having made a late arrival to Waterloo, Iowa to serve thousands of secondary migrant refugees (refugees who first resettled elsewhere and then relocated to Waterloo for jobs) is now pulling out. The ORR funded a branch office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to offer services to the refugees since late 2012. Now, the group is arranging for volunteer groups and people to supposedly take over in its place and offer refugee services. Finding between $100,000 and $140,000 each year to fund these efforts is the biggest hurdle. An article in The Republic carries the story originally reported by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:
WATERLOO, Iowa — A federal agency is ending services to Burmese refugees in Waterloo, leaving volunteers scrambling to figure out how they can continue to help the immigrants.
The local office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, which opened in December 2012, will close on Feb. 28 when federal funding runs out, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (http://bit.ly/1n1t9DG ). It has been helping Burmese refugees, especially those in their few first years in the country, learn English and understand what community services are available. That includes preparing for citizenship.
The office always intended to be a temporary presence in Waterloo, where about 1,200 Burmese refugees currently reside. To date, it has helped about 200 refugees…
[Ann Grove, lead case worker] said finding ways to fund these efforts among the groups may be the biggest hurdle. It will take about $100,000 a year to replicate most services provided by the federal office, she said… “…If we’re looking at increasing the amount of interpretation to our desired level, we’re probably talking closer to $140,000.”
…[the] plan [is] to focus on case work, community education, employment and language. Read more here
Posted in Burma/Myanmar, funding, meatpacking industry, ORR, poultry production, secondary migration, refugee, USCRI, Waterloo | Tagged: immigration, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, refugees, resettlement, secondary migration, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, USCRI, volunteers, Waterloo | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on January 27, 2014
Congress has increased the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s budget by nearly half a billion dollars this year (compare to last year), but resettlement agencies and some others are claiming this as a shortfall. That’s because the ORR had requested $1.6 billlion to cover an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children coming to the United States from Mexico and Central America this year – an increase of approximately 10,000 unaccompanied minors from the number of children in the 2012 fiscal year. Critics of the numbers, however, say that taking care of 10,000 extra children should not require yet another half billion dollars added to the ORR budget. An article in The Duke Chronicle explains the numbers:
Congress has…increased funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to $1.489 billion from last year’s $1.12 billion, said Jen Smyers, associate director for immigration and refugee policy at Church World Service—a group that works with refugees in Durham and across the country. ORR estimated it would need $1.6 billion to serve all the populations in its care this year—a half billion increase from last year’s budget—and is looking for ways to meet the more than $100 million shortfall, Smyers added.
“We never thought [the funding] was going to get cut from last year’s level,” Smyers said. “Our fear was that they would not get anywhere near [ORR's] needs…
Projected costs for this fiscal year increased by nearly half a billion dollars to cover an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied alien children coming to the United States from Mexico and Central America this year, Smyers said. This is an increase of approximately 10,000 unaccompanied children from the number of children in the 2012 fiscal year.
Suzanne Shanahan, associate director of ethics at the Kenan Institute and associate research professor in sociology, was critical of the calculations used to reach the increase in ORR’s budget requirements. She said that taking care of 10,000 extra children should not require a 30 percent increase in funds.
“The U.S. resettles 60,000 refugees a year, and the 60,000 refugees cost $1.12 billion [last year],” Shanahan said. “To say that a half billion dollars is what it takes to increase that by 10,000, the math is extremely wrong.”
With regard to the $100 million shortfall, Shanahan said this is only between a 6 and 7 percent total shortfall, which is not “extraordinary.”… Read more here
Posted in children, Congress, CWS, funding, ORR | Tagged: budget, Congress, immigration, Kenan Institute, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, refugees, resettlement, Suzanne Shanahan, unaccompanied minors | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on November 25, 2013
Conservative state lawmakers in Tennessee ordered a state government study on the economics of refugee resettlement in the state. Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, admits that a major impetus for the study was to tease out whether refugees are more likely to rely on government assistance. Yet the report produced suggests that refugees contributed almost twice as much in tax revenues as they consumed in state-funded services in the past two decades. An article in The Tennessean reports on the results of the study:
A new study of foreign-born refugees who live in Tennessee has found they contributed almost twice as much in tax revenues as they consumed in state-funded services in the past two decades.
But limitations of the study — an unprecedented research effort by the state — left the state lawmakers who asked for it with questions on Tuesday…
Researchers with the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee reported a number of first-time findings about refugees in the state. Their report estimates some 57,000 refugees live in Tennessee, a number that has doubled since 1990 but which still represents less than 1 percent of the population.
Making “conservative estimates,” researchers said that since 1990, the state has spent $753 million on services for refugees — including for schooling and health care — and received almost twice as much, $1.3 billion, in tax revenues from them…
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, said a major impetus for the study was to tease out whether refugees are more likely to rely on government assistance… Read more here
Posted in funding, Tennessee | Tagged: employment, immigration, public assistance, refugees, resettlement, Study, taxes, Tennessee | 3 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on October 19, 2013
Although the federal government shutdown has now ended, refugee resettlement won’t restart until at least Oct. 28. Complex approval, documentation and travel logistics will also delay many refugee arrivals for months. Some refugees may be required to reapply for medical approvals or security clearances that are good for a limited time, and depending on the country, refugees also may have to reapply for exit visas. An article in USAToday explains:
…roughly 4,500 refugees who had been cleared to come to the United States in October — including 73 heading for Kentucky — but now face delays that resettlement officials say may take months for some to resolve…
Now more than 2 weeks old, the shutdown forced the U.S. State Department to suspend most refugee arrivals and enact a travel moratorium, partly because the financial, medical and federal benefits or services aren’t available in some areas to help newcomers from Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Bhutan and a host of other countries, officials said.
Although most expect Congress to reach an agreement to reopen the government, resettlement won’t restart until at least Oct. 28 — and even then, the shutdown’s cascading effect on complex approval, documentation and travel logistics will delay many arrivals for months.
Nowhere to go
…Some may be required to reapply for medical approvals or security clearances that are good for a limited time — and depending on the country, refugees also may have to reapply for exit visas, including Burmese leaving Thai refugee camps…
The shutdown came just as the government was set to begin admitting 70,000 refugees for the coming federal fiscal year, said Cindy Jensen, director of resettlement with the International Rescue Committee. The moratorium was first extended to Oct. 21, and then again to Oct. 28.
A State Department official said the move was meant to ensure refugees receive proper support when they arrive but acknowledged it had left thousands of people “sitting in limbo.”
The government is allowing those who are seen as being at high risk to continue to arrive, such as Iraqi refugees who helped the United States during the war.
Church World Service, one of a handful of federally approved resettlement agencies, reported that nearly half of the refugees under its authority, initially cleared for travel in October, will be delayed as long as three months…
…Kentucky Refugee Ministries, which operates on a tight budget, is having to use reserves to continue to pay caseworkers and provide services, partly because the shutdown has kept the agency from getting the federal reimbursement of $750 per arrival budgeted for October… Read more here
Posted in Catholic Charities of Louisville Inc., Congress, CWS, funding, IRC, Louisville, moratorium / restriction / reduction | Tagged: catholic charities, federal government, immigration, IRC, Kentucky, Louisville, moratorium, refugees, resettlement, security clearances, shut down | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on August 31, 2013
Glass half full/half empty
Tennessee Republican lawmakers are again raising concerns about the cost of letting refugees resettle to the state. They are questioning costs to the state for refugee participation in TennCare, languages services in public schools and public housing are asking for a comprehensive fiscal study of the state’s participation in the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. Refugee advocates point out the positive economic impacts (refugees take jobs many Americans do not want and their employment and buy of homes, cars, etc. expands the tax base) and question the motives of singling out refugees. A recent article in The Tennessean covers the issue:
Republican lawmakers are raising concerns about the cost of letting foreign-born refugees resettle here, an exercise that has immigrant advocates questioning their motives.
The Tennessee General Assembly’s newly created Joint Government Operations Legislative Advisory Committee agreed on Wednesday to begin a comprehensive fiscal study of the state’s participation in the federal Refugee Resettlement Program.
The program, in which Tennessee and 48 other states are partners, provides refugees new to the United States a range of placement, health and employment services. Its budget for Tennessee, $8.9 million last year, comes solely from the federal government.
But Tennessee Republicans are pointing to other, indirect state taxpayer costs associated with the arrival of refugees: their participation in TennCare, languages services in public schools and public housing…
Tennessee’s refugee population has risen in recent years, with [approximately] 1,500 arriving last year, mostly moving to the state’s largest cities, especially Nashville, according to Catholic Charities.
“There is a substantial cost to this state for this program,” said Don Barnett, a fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for less immigration to the United States. “TennCare is one cost but not the only.”
Immigrant advocates, who stressed that refugees also offer positive economic impacts to their communities, questioned the motives of singling out refugees.
“Why are we asking this very narrow question?” said Stephen Fotopulos, executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, noting that refugees made up less than 1 percent of the state’s new residents each year… Read more here
Posted in capacity, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, education, funding, health, moratorium / restriction / reduction, right-wing, Tennessee | Tagged: Don Barnett, Joint Government Operations Legislative Advisory Committee, legislature, positive economic impacts, refugees, Republican, resettlement, Stephen Fotopulos, taxes, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on July 5, 2013
Due to sequestration (Congress couldn’t agree on a federal budget, initiating an automatic 5 percent spending cut) more resettlement agencies have felt the effects of the federal funding cuts. The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees in Utica, NY lost funding for domestic violence and interpretation services. The Utica Observer-Dispatch has more:
A lack of federal funding is causing cuts at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.
Two directors in charge of the center’s domestic violence and Compass Cultural Institute interpretation programs were laid off about a month ago, along with a full-time administrator and an interpreter, said Shelly Callahan, the center’s executive director.
Though a managing director of Compass is taking over for her predecessor, Callahan said the domestic violence program essentially is gone…
“It’s just generally frustrating,” said Callahan, who pointed to federal sequestration cuts. “These are people that have expertise in what they’re doing and they’re really good at their job.”
Tracy Davis, director of finance and administration, said about 60 percent of the center’s budget comes from federal funding…
In general, the center’s budget has decreased. This year’s budget – the fiscal year runs from March 1 through Feb. 28 – is $2.3 million, down from $2.6 million last year…
Roberto Ponce, director of communications for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, offered this statement about centers nationwide seeing cuts on the federal level: “We would assume that it would have to do with the sequestration. We’re seeing the results of that.”
To fill in the service-related gaps, Callahan said the center will continue to do less with more and still refer refugees and immigrants to other organizations in the area, such as the YMCA for domestic violence victims. She said, however, those groups do not have the same cultural competency as the center does… Read more here
Posted in funding, language interpretation/translation, lack of, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Utica | Tagged: budget cuts, domestic violence, interpretation, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, refugees, resettlement, sequestration, Utica | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on June 24, 2013
The federal budget impasse brought on by Republican obstructionism led to a 5 percent, across-the-board spending cut by federal agencies beginning in March. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR – in the US Dept. of Health & Human Services) then had to decide how it would apportion the cut. Apparently one of the ORR’s refugee resettlement programs they thought should be the first to cut is the Matching Grant Program. That is the program in which highly employable refugees receive extra services to help get them into jobs right away while staying off of public assistance. The program brings in a lot of federal money to the private resettlement contractors in return for plain little effort by those groups. Without it the refugees can still access employment services via ORR’s employment services program grants to the resettlement contractors. An article at KPBS Radio explains:
Across-the-board federal budget cuts are being felt…by resettlement agencies and the refugees they help.
…refugee service providers are beginning to feel the pinch of sequestration. The 5 percent, across-the-board spending cuts went into effect in March, slicing into federal spending by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
…that means organizations that smooth the transition for refugees have less money to help them find work.
[In San Diego] Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Director Michael McKay said his organization has lost about $15,000 for a program that places refugees into jobs within four months of arrival. It matches federal dollars with local funds to cover caseworkers and programming that get refugees into the workforce, usually in San Diego’s hospitality industry.
McKay said the $15,000 would put about seven people through the program… Read more here
Posted in Catholic Charities of San Diego, funding, Matching Grant program, ORR, San Diego | Tagged: 5%, cuts, funding, Matching grant, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, refugees, resettlement, San Diego, sequestration | 2 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 29, 2013
The U.S. State Department has not responded to many questions posed by a media outlet in Athens, Georgia which has looked at the refugee resettlement program, though a recent article by the newspaper is pro-resettlement. The state government claims refugees are undue burden on limited state resources. Resettlement agencies claim refugees pay taxes, buy homes, and support education, and invest in their communities. They also claim that fewer refugees allowed to resettle in the state this year has resulted in a reduction in services to refugees already here. In the meantime resettlement agencies have also been making a late attempt to spread refugees out to other parts of metro-Atlanta and the state so as not to overburden local resettlement sites. An article in the Athens Banner-Herald discusses these and other related issues:
…Resettlement agencies prefer to place new refugees close to family or existing ethnic communities to ease the transition to life in the U.S. Family ties and communities are often bundled around resources – agency offices, English language classes, jobs – necessary to acclimation.
…the Georgia Department of Human Services to ask for a reduction of refugees coming to the state in 2013, citing school district budget shortfalls, and health and safety concerns. The U.S. Department of State would not confirm if other states had made similar requests.
“We regularly receive feedback from stakeholders involved in the refugee resettlement process and take those into account as we finalize the placement plan for the upcoming year,” wrote state department spokesperson Laura Seal in an email.
The department declined to say how regularly these adjustments are made.
Georgia is home to the seventh largest refugee population in the country. Media reports have not listed other states as requesting reductions.
Georgia’s rationale for the cuts doesn’t hold water, according to the agencies that support resettlement. Problems allegedly caused by refugees often are bottled in DeKalb and Fulton counties. But the impact of the cuts has impacted services to refugees throughout the state, refugee advocates said, and has strained the state and agency relationship supposed to benefit refugees…
…In August, just after refugee agencies submitted their annual capacity proposal to the U.S. State Department, a number it uses to determine refugee placement in Georgia, DHS sent a letter to the federal agency requesting a 50 percent reduction in refugee resettlings in the state.
The reduction, in effect, ended up closer to 20 percent, though an examination of arrivals in the first two quarters of 2013 shows no sign of abatement. The reduction lowered the maximum amount of refugees coming to the state, potentially with little impact on overall arrivals, but directly impacted the budgets of aid agencies, which receive federal funding based on the number of expected resettlements…
…[state officials have complained that refugees have incurred costs the state can’t handle, yet] Repeated requests for detailed information on costs incurred by refugees went unfilled by the Georgia DHS. A February article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted a state official estimating the cost at $6.7 million, an amount that included education costs… Read more here
Posted in capacity, funding, Georgia, moratorium / restriction / reduction, Office of Admissions, openess and transparency in government, Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA), Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA) | Tagged: Athens, Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies, CRSA, georgia, IRC, refugee family services, refugees, resettlement, RRISA, World Relief | Leave a Comment »