Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

No birth control referrals for raped unaccompanied immigrant girls, say two faith based contractors

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 5, 2015

girl_symbol Refugee resettlement contractors World Relief and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) are demanding religious exemption for the requirement that federally funded organizations that house unaccompanied migrant children provide victims of sexual abuse with “unimpeded access to emergency medical treatment, crisis intervention services, emergency contraception, and sexually transmitted infections prophylaxis, in accordance with professionally accepted standards of care, where appropriate under medical or mental health professional standards.” In an obvious abuse of religious exemption standards they claim that a mere referral to emergency contraception or related would offend their personal religious beliefs, nor should they have to notify federal agency personnel who could instead do the referral. Essentially they want to stand in the way of unaccompanied immigrant girls and prevent them from getting the pregnancy services they chose. This, while taking public funds for a public program to care for these girls. The USCCB had also wanted a federal grant to provide services to victims of human trafficking, while similarly denying the women and girls access to a full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care. Thankfully the group did not get the grant. The details of this most recent religious exemption abuse are found in an article at Think Progress:

Estimates suggest that anywhere between 60 and 80 percent of migrant women and girls are raped on their journey as they travel across the southern United States border. But many of the organizations that provide medical care to these migrants are refusing to provide emergency contraception or make pregnancy-related referrals to girls who have been raped. What’s more, the religious organizations that operate these groups are opposing a move by the Obama administration to address epidemic rape of young unaccompanied migrants by requiring contraceptive care. During last year’s border surge, a total of 68,541 unaccompanied children streamed through the southern Texas border from Latin America. Almost half of the children apprehended by border patrol agents were girls. Rape and sexual assault are “major motivating factors” for why girls flee their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, a Women’s Refugee Commission report found last October. The report stated that children on the run who traveled with smuggling guides known as coyotes reported sexual abuse, including one child who “told of how women and girls were kept in a separate room and could be heard screaming while being raped.” And even once in the United States, some migrants alleged that sexual assault (especially among LGBT detaineestook place in detentionsometimes by guards. Those children may not receive adequate care after border patrol agents pass them onto group shelter homes, the majority of which are operated by faith-based organizations such as the Baptist Child and Family Services (BCFS), which received $190 million in a single grant last year. But it was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which received roughly $22.1 million, that sent a letter last week objecting to a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that would require federally funded organizations that house unaccompanied migrant children to provide victims of sexual abuse with “unimpeded access to emergency medical treatment, crisis intervention services, emergency contraception, and sexually transmitted infections prophylaxis, in accordance with professionally accepted standards of care, where appropriate under medical or mental health professional standards.” The rule includes a clause that would allow faith-based organizations to offer external pregnancy-related referrals for unaccompanied children… Read more here

Posted in Catholic, children, churches, el salvadoran, faith-based, Guatemalan, honduran, ORR, safety, teenagers, teens, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, unaccompanied minors, USCCB, women, World Relief, young adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Attacker of Albuquerque Iraqi Catholic refugee yelled anti-Muslim obscenities

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 17, 2014


An Iraqi Catholic refugee alleges she was assaulted in her Albuquerque apartment and robbed of $20,000 in gold. Now the FBI is investigating the case as a possible federal hate crime. An article in the Daily Reporter covers the story:

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — An Iraqi Catholic refugee who was assaulted in her Albuquerque apartment appears to be the victim of a hate crime by an attacker who yelled obscenities about Muslims, police said.

According to Albuquerque police, a man last week forced his way into the home of Seham Jaber, shouting nasty remarks about Muslims and punching her in the head and stomach. The intruder then tore up her family’s citizenship papers in the June 5 attack, investigators said.

“The irony is the individual thought the family was Muslim, and they’re actually refugees from Iraq who are Catholic,” Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said.

Jaber, who speaks Arabic, told police the unknown assailant also stole at least $20,000 in gold, which represented her family’s life savings. The assailant also stole jewelry, she said.

“No house, no car. It was all in gold,” Saad Sajet, Jaber’s husband, told the Albuquerque Journal.

The suspect was described as wearing a mask, jeans and a yellow T-shirt.

No arrest has been made.

The FBI now is investigating the case as a possible federal hate crime, Albuquerque police said Friday… Read more here

Posted in anti-Islamic, Catholic, dangerous neighborhoods, FBI, hate crimes, Iraqi, New Mexico, police, women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Canadian priest expoited refugee workers

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 24, 2012

A priest in Alberta exploited refugee workers in a scheme that involved charging high rates for the workers while paying the refugees low wages under threat of deportation. An article at Notes From the Underground has the details:

It appears that a certain…priest in Alberta whose business was involved in exploiting refugees and immigrant workers may soon be returning to active clerical duty.

Fr John Lipinski, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Ecumenical Patriarchate, through his Alberta firm, Kihew, advertised and searched in Polish papers for immigrants and refugees for available electrical positions.  The firm would then charge high rates while paying the immigrants low wages under threat of deportation…

Court was told Kihew made about one million dollars through the scheme.The court found that Kihew contracted out the foreign workers to several businesses at a high hourly rate of pay but the workers themselves made very little... Read more here

Posted in Canadian refugee resettlement pgrm, Christian, employment/jobs for refugees, human trafficking, scams | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada’s refugee medical screenings violate federal standards

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 26, 2012

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada’s refugee medical screenings do not appear to conform to federal standards by having community health nurses conduct the screenings. ORR guidelines state that the refugee medical “screenings should be performed by a qualified licensed health care professional.” ORR requires either a physician, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse practitioner. An a article at the Nevada Policy Research Institute examines the issue:

LAS VEGAS — Refugees from around the world come to Southern Nevada, often from countries with diseases not commonly seen in the native U.S.-born population.

How sound is the medical screening refugees receive? Are they getting adequate medical care?…

Because the refugees often come “from regions of the world with high rates of certain diseases,” notes the federal agency, “refugees face special health challenges.” They thus must first undergo medical screening overseas to ensure they are medically eligible for the U.S. Refugee Program. Then, after arriving in the U.S., they are directed to undergo more in-depth medical examination.

One purpose of the U.S.-based screening, says ORR, is to protect the public health of U.S. citizens. A second purpose is to “provide refugees with a level of health and well-being required for and supportive of successful resettlement in the U.S.”

Since 1994, ORR’s partner in Nevada for refugee services has been Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN). For fiscal year 2010-11, the nonprofit administered some $6.7 million in federal refugee funds. CCSN not only serves as ORR’s designated State Refugee Coordinator, but also operates the local refugee resettlement office. 

The Southern Nevada Health District, under contract to Catholic Charities since at least 2008, conducts the federally required medical screenings for the refugees — including their health histories and physical examinations.

The refugee medical screenings conducted by SNHD over the last five years, however, do not appear to conform to federal standards.

ORR guidelines state that the refugee medical “screenings should be performed by a qualified licensed health care professional.” And by such a professional, ORR means — as demonstrated through ORR’s use of federal billing codes — either a physician, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse practitioner.

SNHD’s contracts with Catholic Charities, however, only state that the district will have “a Community Health Nurse” do “a complete history and physical” on refugees.

All of the district’s community health nurses are registered nurses (RNs), according to the Nevada State Board of Nursing, and none are nurse practitioners (NPs), also called, in Nevada, advanced nursing practitioners (ANPs).

The health district’s use of RNs for such work would also appear to violate the Nevada Administrative Code’s regulations governing nurse practice…

The difficulty with such screening by RNs, notes James D. Hook, director of healthcare consulting at the Fox Group, LLC, is that recognizing whether some patient’s condition actually is abnormal may at times require a greater level of medical expertise than even a typically competent RN would have… Read more here

Posted in Catholic, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Cuban, Eritrean, Ethiopian, health, Iraqi, late health screenings, Nepali Bhutanese, Nevada, ORR | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Congolese refugee family facing eviction in San Antonio

Posted by Christopher Coen on July 15, 2012

***UPDATE*** — July 21, 2012 — San Antonio Express News readers take in refugee family

A Congolese refugee woman and her seven kids have found themselves on the precipice of eviction ten months after resettlement in San Antonio. She claims assistance from Catholic Charities, Archdioceses of San Antonio Inc. was spotty at best and didn’t address the special hurdles she faces. In the past ten months a caseworker from the agency met with her only once in person to discuss job prospects, and took her to apply for one cleaning job. Yet, recently she got a hotel housekeeping job — through a refugee friend. An article at the San Antonio Express-News has more:

[Leonia Espe] and her seven surviving children escaped [her village in east Congo]…

…Four years later, they were resettled to the United States, landing last September in a shabby, three-bedroom flat on the city’s North Side under the auspices of Catholic Charities, Archdioceses of San Antonio Inc.

As is policy, Espe received pocket cash and rental assistance for up to six months. The agency gives $1,125 per family member; smaller families get less.

She was able to pay her rent through April and is now two months in arrears. A judge decided on Thursday that the apartment can evict her and her children, in five days.

Espe, whose youngest child is 4, suffers from peptic ulcers and a heart condition and speaks little English.

She wasn’t able to find a job during the six months an agency caseworker was assigned to work one on one with her, assistance that was spotty at best and didn’t address the special hurdles she faces, she claims…

Pamela Raines, director of development for Catholic Charities, said the record shows Espe attended five weeks of job-training classes, something the client denies. (The refugee staff was at a conference and couldn’t be contacted, said Raines.)

Espe said she did take some of the agency’s English classes but had to miss often because of sickness, her own or one of her children’s.

Raines said the agency had “consistent contact” with Espe during the six months of direct help and that she didn’t show up for several employment-related appointments, something Espe also denies.

According to Raines’ record and Espe’s memory, a caseworker met with her only once in person to discuss job prospects in late spring or early summer. Faida, 17, the eldest daughter, said the same caseworker took her to a local office building to apply for a cleaning job.

But that was two months ago and no one has called,” she said. “It feels scary. I don’t have any hope.”

Akhahenda said he and Espe paid a visit to her case manager in early June, after she had received her second notice of past-due rent from the apartment.

He said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we won’t let her be evicted,’” Akhahenda recalled. “He said they would find her alternative housing.”

Then he didn’t hear anything more, he said…


Recently Espe got a job through a refugee friend…A hotel housekeeping job… Read more here

Posted in Catholic, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of San Antonio Inc., children, Congolese, employment services, homelessness, housing, housing, substandard, San Antonio | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

With schools overloaded Catholic Family Service in Amarillo to limit resettlement to “family reunification cases”

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 11, 2012

Catholic Family Service in Amarillo has decided to reduce new refugee resettlement numbers by half due to concerns of overload from the local school district, according to an article in the Amarillo Globe-News. Resettlement will now be limited to “family reunification cases” – refugees who are resettling to be reunified with local family members. (The article also gives various confusing numbers for the amount of money the State Department gives for initial resettlement needs (intended as seed money). As of last year the amount was $1800 per refugee, with $700 available for resettlement agency overhead, $900 minimum to each refugee, and $200 that resettlement agencies may redirect to the neediest refugees at the agency. The $1800 was supposedly increased this year, but no numbers yet available.)

Catholic Family Service has lowered the number of new refugees it helps settle in Amarillo to help school officials better handle unique needs posed by refugee children and help the organization meet budget cuts.

Roughly 800 to 900 of the 1,100 refugee students enrolled in Amarillo schools had little to no formal schooling when they arrived in the U.S., and that has created a major learning block, said Kevin Phillips, executive director of student performance for the Palo Duro High School cluster…

…Catholic Family Service, a nonprofit organization, is one of two groups that receives federal funds to help newly arrived refugees settle in Amarillo. Executive Director Nancy Koons said the organization has decided to take in no more than 200 arrivals per year, down from 400 in previous years. Koons said the arrivals will be limited to “family reunification cases.”…

…Koons said [Amarillo Independent School District] principals and school nurses have expressed concerns about the challenges posed by refugee children.

It seems like we were creating needs by bringing in too many refugees,” she said… Read more here

Posted in Amarillo, Catholic, Catholic Family Service, Amarillo, children, funding, R&P, schools, Somali Bantu | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Welcoming The Stranger Without Becoming Overly Involved

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 7, 2012

A Catholic volunteer in Kansas City seems to have found the right balance between welcoming refugees to her community without becoming overly involved. She’s found a way to connect with the refugees via her heart and mind while realizing the goal is their autonomy. An article in the Kansas City Star tells her story:

When Bernadette Coulter responded to a note in her church’s bulletin about helping in a conversational English class for refugees, she had no idea what she was getting into.

That was six years ago. On Friday, Coulter was sitting with her husband and friends in a federal courtroom watching Mamur Karabaev, an Uzbekistan refugee she calls her “adopted” son, affirm his American citizenship during a naturalization ceremony.

Karabaev is the last of a dozen refugees who escaped Uzbekistan after a massacre and found their way eventually to Coulter. She calls them her “boys.”

I never expected to be this involved,” the Shawnee woman said. “It has been very fun and exciting and rewarding, heartbreaking and frustrating.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.”…

…Barbara Smith, a friend and member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church with Coulter, said she has watched the story unfold from the beginning…

…Friends of Coulter, a 63-year-old retired hairdresser and mother of three, speak of her humility and willingness to help others. Becoming involved in the refugees’ lives, that’s just something Coulter would do, Smith said.

One person can make a difference and she did it,” Smith said.

But what Coulter did may not always work so well, one person warned.

David Holsclaw, director of English as a second language at the Don Bosco Center, said relationships such as the one between Coulter and Karabaev are the exception to typical stories he’s heard about volunteers who may be over-involved.

There are some volunteers that go nuts and become way too involved and really become problematic,” Holsclaw said…

…Developing an emotional connection can be detrimental to the resettlement process, he said.

For her part, Coulter thinks being a volunteer helped her.

I think I had an advantage not being constrained by rules or regulations,” she said. “I was able to jump in feet first.” Read more here

Posted in Catholic, Kansas City, Uzbek, volunteers | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »


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