Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Archive for the ‘funding’ Category

Political Right’s baseless criticism of San Diego facility for unaccompanied minors

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 12, 2014

southwest key san diego shelterThe political Right has been trying to attack the federal government’s costs for caring for the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied alien minors (and here, here and here) that have illegally crossed the Mexican border over the past two years. These minors are cared for by the federal Dept. of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). A so-called prime example of wasteful spending (the real motivation for criticisms being anti-immigrant sentiments rather than government spending) is the nonprofit Southwest Key’s facility in San Diego. Criticisms, now spearheaded by Iowan senator Chuck Grassley, include amenities for the minors including organic orchard and garden supplying the facility’s kitchen as well as a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies and an Acuaponics system cultivating over 1000 Tilapia fish. Yet, as Southwest Key points out the amenities mostly came with the property when it was leased by the non-profit and have added little costs. The animals on the farm were all donated or born there with the exception of $40 used to buy the stock for the Tilapia fish pond. Veterinary care is donated and feed costs are a negligible $60/month. An article in the San Diego Reader covers the story:

How is life for so-called unaccompanied alien children at a federally sponsored youth shelter in El Cajon? Perhaps too sweet, in the opinion of Iowa Republican senator Charles Grassley, as expressed by him in an October 30 letter to U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell…

But Grassley questioned the government’s “stewardship of taxpayer dollars” already spent by Southwest Key, the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit that runs the facility here, as well as others in Texas, Arizona, and California…

“On April 23, 2014, Southwest Key proposed to charge the government a ‘daily rate’ of $316 to house unaccompanied alien children in a facility in El Cajon, California,” according to Grassley’s letter, which cited Southwest Key’s description of the operation’s amenities on an application for federal funds.

“We have an organic orchard of orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees, as well as an Organic garden that supplements our kitchen with a wide variety of organic vegetables throughout the year,” the nonprofit said.

“We have a small petting farm with ducks, chickens, and miniature ponies. We have also established an Acuaponics system where we are cultivating over 1000 Tilapia.”…

Southwest Key responded to Grassley’s letter with a statement saying “the cost per child in our California facilities is higher than other locations because they are small facilities with fewer beds. As the amount of beds goes up, the cost per child goes down. Unfortunately, Southwest Key has not been able to secure a larger facility in that region in order to expand to more beds.”

As for the alleged amenities, the nonprofit said, “The orchard and organic farm were pre-existing on the property when we leased it, so we have not purchased any trees or plants.

“We did pay a one-time fee of $40 to buy forty fish as stock. Since then they have reproduced at no cost to us. The cost to keep the orchard and garden is only the electricity used to run the well pump for watering. The crops they produce, however, supplement to our food supply and actually lower our expenditures there.

“The poultry on the farm also supplements our food supply. The water in the tilapia farm is constantly recycled and only requires minimal watering to compensate for evaporation and the waste from the fish is used to fertilize the organic garden….

“The animals at the farm in our El Cajon facility were all donated with the exception of one pony that was born at El Cajon. The veterinary care provided to the animals is also donated. The total cost of feed for all the animals — ponies, chickens, ducks and tilapia is a negligible part of the overall budget (approximately $60/month for feeding all animals)…. Read more here

Posted in asylees, children, funding, ORR, right-wing, San Diego, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Funding withdrawn then reinstated; may be withdrawn again — New wave of Central American minors expected in September and October

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 17, 2014

revolving_moneyFrom recent media articles its now clear that the ORR could have predicted a large drop off of Central American immigrant children and accompanying women due to the summer heat coming across the southern border. This calls into question why the ORR shifted $94 million dollars away from the refugee program to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minor immigrants only to now restore $22.5 million so far once the numbers coming across the border dropped off in July. Was it a publicity stunt to encourage the Congress to vote for higher funding to cover the influx? An ORR main contractor and national refugee resettlement agency the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is also now claiming that a second wave of unaccompanied minors is expected to cross over the US-Mexican border in September and October after the summer heat abates. If this speculation becomes reality then the ORR may again shift money away from the refugee program to the unaccompanied minors — unless Congress passes a large increase for the ORR that the Obama administration has requested. Articles at Phoenix (CBS-5) and the Washington Post explain many of the details:

…Last week, … program directors received the welcome news of a small reprieve. With the drop in the numbers of children coming across the border in July, the Office of Refugee Resettlement was able to redirect $22.5 million of the still-unspent $94 million back to refugee social service programs. Saved from cuts were a variety of programs that help refugees find and keep work, including Greensboro’s.

But a $71.5 million gap remains, a new fiscal year approaches, and when Congress returns next month, refugee advocates still must make a case for adequate funding to lawmakers who have shown themselves willing to sacrifice refugee programs at the altar of anti-immigrant sentiment… Read more here and here

Posted in Congress, CWS, funding, Obama administration, ORR, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ORR now reneges on cutting refugee funding

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 12, 2014

YippeeeeAfter dire warnings from refugee resettlement contractor non-profits that local economies would suffer if the agencies lost funding for refugees due to the federal government refugee agency ORR shifting funds to the Central-American immigrants coming in across the southern border, the ORR has just as quickly restored the funds. The agency apparently suddenly noticed what others had already suspected and asked the ORR about – that the number of Central American minors had slowed in recent months – and ORR had jumped the gun. An article in the Inlander explains the funding restoration:

We wrote this week about a pot of federal funding that’s meant to help refugees…but is being stretched thin by the growing number of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S./Mexico border..When the federal government decided to withhold this funding recently in order to redirect it to the border, local agencies worried they’d have to cut staff or start charging refugees for services.

Today, a rare happy update to a story about budget cuts: The federal agency that had decided to redirect this funding has changed its mind.

“Although Congress has not approved the additional funding that President Obama requested, there has been a decrease in the rate of [unaccompanied minors] arrivals,” Tom Medina wrote the Inlander in an email late Thursday afternoon. Medina oversees the [Washington] state office that distributes the federal funds to local groups like World Relief. “During the conference call, [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] reported the year-to-date total of UAC’s in the U.S. stood at 54,000 through the end of July. ORR is projecting that the total by September 30 will be around 60,000, which is what they had originally budgeted for.”

“This,” Medina wrote, “means that we will be able to restore the RRA and Mental Health contracts that we had to terminate last month.” Read more here

Posted in children, el salvadoran, funding, Guatemalan, honduran, ORR, teenagers, unaccompanied minors, World Relief | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US federal government begins fast-track deportation of Central American adults and children

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 16, 2014

aiplane take-off

The Obama administration is now taking a stiff position on the huge influx of people, most of them children, from Central America and Mexico fleeing drug and gang violence and poverty. On Monday the administration deported a group of Honduran children and their adult accompanists.  The administration claims that without government action, more than 150,000 unaccompanied children could flee the Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala alone next year.  Technically these are not refugees as they are not claiming they are fleeing political oppression.  The ORR contends that it will need to pay for the influx by diverting funds away from refugees already resettled to the US.  Reuters has the latest development in this ongoing disaster:

(Reuters) – The United States deported a group of Honduran children as young as 1-1/2 years old on Monday in the first flight since President Barack Obama pledged to speed up the process of sending back illegal immigrant minors from Central America.

Fleeing violence and poverty, record numbers of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have crossed into the United States over the past year, testing U.S. border facilities and sparking intense debate about how to solve the problem.

Monday’s charter flight from New Mexico to San Pedro Sula, the city with the highest murder rate in the world, returned 17 Honduran women, as well as 12 girls and nine boys, aged between 18 months and 15 years, the Honduran government said.

Looking happy, the deported children exited the airport on an overcast and sweltering afternoon. One by one, they filed into a bus, playing with balloons they had been given…

During the eight months ended June 15, some 52,000 children were detained at the U.S. border with Mexico, most of them from Central America. That was double the previous year’s tally and tens of thousands more are believed to have slipped through.

So chaotic are the circumstances of the exodus that some of the children are not even correctly reunited with their parents, said Valdette Willeman, director of the Center for Attention for Returned Migrants in Honduras.

“Many of the mothers are sometimes not even the real mothers of the children,” she said…

Obama’s administration has projected that without government action, more than 150,000 unaccompanied children under the age of 18 could flee the three Central American nations next year. .. Read more here

Posted in capacity, children, funding, gangs, Guatemalan, ORR, safety, teenagers, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

ORR to divert $94 mil from the refugee resettlement fund to aid influx of migrant children

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 2, 2014

diverting_arrows

To deal with the unprecedented influx of migrant children crossing the border illegally from Central America the ORR (Office for Refugee Resettlement) is transferring nearly $94 million from the refugee resettlement fund to the Unaccompanied Alien Children program. The transfer will result in a reduction in services to refugees being resettled to the US, including services such as English language learning, career development and housing placement. An article in NPR in Louisville covers the issue:

An increase of undocumented children coming into America is expected to reduce the funding for services available to displaced people living in Kentucky and across the U.S.

Kentucky Office for Refugees officials expect to see a $2.28 million cut in federal funding to provide refugees in Kentucky with services such as English language learning, career development and housing placement.

The reduction in funding stems from an influx of children coming to the U.S. to escape violence and economic struggle in Central America, refugee services officials said.  To better serve these children, the Office for Refugee Resettlement is transferring nearly $94 million to the Unaccompanied Alien Children program.  The $2.28 million Kentucky officials expect to lose is a part of the $94 million transfer.

Because of the cuts, thousands of newly arrived refugees would receive a limited amount of…services… Read more here

Posted in children, funding, Kentucky, Louisville, ORR, teenagers, unaccompanied minors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Resettlement agency worker responds to my public comment

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 8, 2014

comment_bubble

There’s a comment in response to my comments submitted to the U.S. State Department for their annual call for public comments.  The author works at a refugee resettlement agency and disagrees with my points.  Today I responded to the author of the comment; both his/her comment and my response are below:

Nilo Nilo said

Dear Mr. Coen,

I work for one of the voluntary agencies (volags), however I’m not commenting as a rep. of the agency. I appreciate your opinions and desire to improve the program, even if I disagree. I just wanted to respond to a few points in your post. PRM visits affiliate sites at least every fifth year (at the outside). For example if a site was last visited in FY10 they can expect to be visited in FY14. HQs are visited every year. HQs visit each of their affiliate sites at least every 3 years. From what I’ve seen, volags are often more rigorous in their review of sites and hold them to a higher standard than PRM/Cooperative Agreement standards. The idea of having external monitors is an interesting idea and would have its pros and cons. It would provide outside eyes and may (or may not) be more stringent than volag monitors. On the other hand, volags do work with sites everyday to ensure the best available services are provided, to trouble shoot issues, and help them with training among other things. The depth of knowledge volags have about their affiliates allows a more specific review of programs (better or worse I couldn’t say).

In both PRM and volag monitoring visits, 4 families are visited in their homes and interviewed with interpretation (for one hour to 90 minutes each) about the services they received, their relationship with the agency, and their feelings about their resettlement experience. This makes up one-third to one-half of the visit time (including the time it takes to travel to and from refugees homes which are often far apart). I would disagree that either PRM or volags place more emphasis on documentation then refugee feedback.

Also, PRMs visits are announced 2 weeks before a visit, which could give sites a little time to scramble to cover tracks, I suppose, but is mostly because staff are very busy and sites need to make sure they have time and coverage during a PRM visit (when daily work is interrupted) to host the monitors. In my experience, serious issues tend to be systemic and are not so easy to “clean up” before a visit.

I’m not sure what you have in mind for monetary penalties (the specific agencies? the HQ?) but while both HQ and the agencies are technically “contractors” I think that term makes it easy to confuse with other, private, government contracts which are well funded – that is not the case in resettlement. We are all not for profit and compensated (as individuals and agencies) at a much lower rate than Deloitte or whoever comes to mind as a contractor – there are no profits – so monetary penalties would directly affect programs and (by turn refugees). Sites that have serious problems face restrictions on arrivals, heavier over-site, and if they don’t improve will be shut down. That last step doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The operational guidance you link to appears to be an overview of some of the R&P requirements, from FY2007. I think it’s important for your readers to know that the volags and agencies are actually held to a 51 page contract called the Cooperative Agreement, which is updated with new requirements each fiscal year. If you feel the content of this contract isn’t comprehensive enough or should include more/different requirements, that is a fair opinion, but I wouldn’t want anyone to be confused and think that the link you provided is what is used to guide programing or services.

There are improvements that need to be made in the program, believe me, but I think there is sometimes a misconception that resettlement agencies are somehow using the program to make money (it is always a loss – the amount provided is actually less than half of what it takes to run the program) or that staff are uncaring or incompetent. The first is never true and the second no more so than anywhere else. In my opinion, if one wants to help refugees, they should point out the flaws, but also advocate for increased funding both for per capita refugee funds and administration (which does, in fact, cost money). To be honest, resettlement is really an area where it is rather astonishing how much is done with so little, if one is willing to take in the full picture.

Best.

…and my response:

Thank-you for your comment. Yes, I have heard the claim of the State Dept visiting resettlement sites for monitoring inspections every 5 years but the inspection reports supplied from our FOIA requests do not back that up, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

I can’t be impressed with self-monitoring by resettlement agencies. How often do they report cheating, neglect, serious mistakes? What would be their incentive? Its a public program, therefore the results of these self-inspections should be easily available to the public. They are not available at all.

How are four families selected by the State Dept. for interviews? Shouldn’t all refugees at least fill out a questionnaire about their experiences in order to find problems, and then a visit to the four most serious cases? It would be done that way if the State Dept. as partner/friend/overseer of the resettlement agencies wanted to find problems.

If the State Dept is only interviewing four families to get their opinions, while relying on agency documentation for all the rest, then it is inarguable that the State Dept. places more emphasis on resettlement agencies’ documentation then on refugee feedback.

The pre-announced notification has allowed agencies to visit refugees to tell them what to say (a Tampa area agency was caught doing this), to deliver money and required items that were due weeks or months earlier (this is documented in the monitoring reports, copies of which are found on our website), and quick filling-in of documentation forms that were never completed or even begun and which were supposed to be contemporaneous (a practice also found in the monitoring reports).

Agencies would need to take monetary penalties from salaries, as management is responsible for violations and should take the penalty. Any charity that didn’t do this, but instead took the penalty from refugee programing, would obviously have no credibility.

As you said, the shutting down of agencies doesn’t happen often; not even after repeated, serious violations. Its a rare bird, therefore agencies need not worry too much.

The Operational Guidance is rarely changed, therefore a 2007 date should not surprise you. The previous one was in 2001 I believe. Changes are always minor. If you know of a newer version let us and the public know.

We link to the the Basic Terms of the Cooperative Agreement as our number one link (see bottom left column), so we do not pretend that the Operational Guidance is the only contract document (and the wording was changed under pressure form agencies around year 2000 so that even these minimum requirements are no longer a strict requirement). Even the most comprehensive contract document, however, is worth nothing if it is not enforced, penalties are non-existent, and agency shut-downs are so rare.

I have never claimed that refugee resettlement is a money-making enterprise. I have pointed out that many agencies are operating on 90% and above government funding, and linked to IRS 990 forms which prove this point. There is no reason to expect that resettlement agencies be fully compensated for resettlement. Resettlement was historically a private enterprise fully funded by charities. The U.S. federal government got involved in a large capacity after WWII to counter the communist block’s influence. The money the State Dept. furnishes is meant to be seed money for the agencies, who are expected to add significant private funding (which is regularly and often not done, resulting in credibility issues).

I think asking everyone to join you in requesting additional per capita funding for resettlement is hard to do when resettlement agencies have yet to prove that use the public money they get well, and when they fail to raise significant private funding as required. Your image is tied to your performance. That is why I ask for significant change in the program so that the public will gain trust and offer full support.

 

Posted in funding, moratorium / restriction / reduction, neglect, openess and transparency in government, Operational Guidance, public/private partnership, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Waterloo refugee resettlement office not to close as said

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 16, 2014

business_open_sign

The USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) has announced that its local refugee resettlement office will not close after all when its federal grant runs out. The leadership has instead chosen to keep the office open on a part-time basis. About 1,200 Burmese refugees – attracted to the area by meatpacking jobs – who now make Waterloo their home will have ongoing assistance with interpretation/translation, tax preparation and other needs. An article at KCRG explains:

WATERLOO, Iowa – …

…On Wednesday night, volunteers worked with a handful of newer residents in Waterloo who have escaped persecution in Myanmar… At least 1,200 Burmese refugees now call Waterloo home…

In late February, [Ann Grove, lead case manager of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants office in Waterloo] said the federal funding for the USCRI office to help Burmese refugees in Black Hawk County was running out. Yet, on Tuesday, the office announced the USCRI’s leadership has chosen to keep the office open on a part-time basis.

“It gives us an opportunity to continue providing for the immediate needs of clients who are in town,” said Grove.

With the federal grant now expired, the office may have to depend on the continued involvement of volunteers… Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, funding, meatpacking industry, USCRI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Planning for Wyoming refugee resettlement

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 14, 2014

planning_1

Wyoming is the only one of the 50 states that does not have refugee resettlement. That may soon change as advocates work on a draft plan for refugee resettlement in the state. The governor has already come out in support of the idea. Newspaper editorial boards are also supporting the soon-to-be draft plan, citing the central humanitarian nature of the program. One editorial, however, is claiming that the program would require no state government spending, an assertion which seems improbable. A recent analysis of refugee resettlement in Georgia found that the state government there spent an estimated $6.7 million in state and local taxpayer costs on resettlement in fiscal year 2011 (costs for public schools, child care and other expenses), although while receiving $10 million from the federal government for resettlement, much of it paid out to local businesses in the state, and reaping an untold in tax money and earning put back into the system by resettled refugees for purchases of cars, homes and other items and services. The paper also claims that there are standards and an accountability system. We know, however, that those are extremely lax and allow private resettlement agencies to essentially police themselves – a regulatory and oversight model that just does not work in business. An editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune discusses the proposed resettlement program:

…Wyoming is the only one of the 50 states without a refugee resettlement program…

Wyoming must do more to welcome refugees. They are looking to escape the direst of circumstances, from torture to genocide to human trafficking, and we are missing out on the opportunity to help resettle them for everyone’s benefit.

This is what government assistance is for. First, there’s help, when it’s needed most. Then, there are standards and an accountability system. Finally, Wyoming could find itself with more new residents… — self-sufficient, with the skills to make a difference, and happy to give back to the communities that welcomed them.

After fleeing his home nation, Bahige was sent to Maryland, where organizations in that state supported him. He learned English, found a job in food service and became a teacher’s aide. When the University of Wyoming rewarded his hard work with a scholarship offer, he headed west.

…advocates are pushing for Wyoming to adopt a program of its own. [Advocates are] working with the UW law school to come up with a draft plan for Gov. Matt Mead’s consideration. Such efforts are worthy of support.

It’s not about welfare. It’s about help in times of horror.

Members of a nongovernmental agency pick up refugees from the airport and take them to an apartment stocked with donations. Refugees begin learning the language, and their children are enrolled in school. They start with food stamps, but for most refugees, government support begins to diminish after eight months. Within four months, they must have jobs. In fact, they’re even required to repay the cost of their plane tickets.

A program would take no state money. The federal government would funnel resettlement money through Wyoming agencies and a nongovernmental organization. 

The system has been successful in Colorado, and advocates say Wyoming’s strong economy might make it an even better landing spot.

Like the former child soldier, many Wyomingites or their ancestors came from somewhere else and stayed to make a better life. We should welcome others who are following the same dream. Read more here

Posted in funding, Wyoming | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Georgia resettlement agencies’ proposals rejected

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 16, 2014

rejected

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: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Federal funding dries up for Waterloo resettlement office

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 7, 2014

dreis up

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: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 261 other followers