Federal Money for Refugee Resettlement

By Wayne Lutton
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 13, Number 4 (Summer 2003)
Issue theme: "Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day: the Senator who helped turn many of us into environmentalists"

The United States currently admits up to 70,000 refugees annually. Refugees are supposed to demonstrate that they have suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country, based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular "social group," or because of their political opinions. Once granted refugee status, persons are permitted to bring other members of their family ("family chain migration") to the United States. They are also entitled to government benefits available to American citizens.

Department of Homeland Security officials suggest that over fifty percent of the refugee petitioners are fraudulent. Bogus applicants lie about their situations and family relationships. Successful applicants often sell "family slots" to non-family members.

Following is a sample list of agencies receiving federal tax dollars to offer services to "refugees" during the year 2000. Not only do these agencies secure millions of dollars, they promote further mass migration, including the extension of refugee and asylum programs. Such organizations form a network of self-interested boosters.

Community Service Employment Program (total awarded $11,162,769). These funds are for assimilating refugees into American communities (including language training and jobs)

Arab American and Chaldean Council, Lathrup Village, MI $456,000

Cambodian Association of America of Long Beach, CA $2,662,969

Jewish Vocational Services of Kansas City, MO $247,597

Lutheran Social Services of New England, Natick, MA $452,804

[partial listing]

Individual Development Account Program (total awarded $10,095,171). Individual development accounts are matching savings accounts available for the purchase of specific assets. Under this program, the matching funds, together with the refugee's own savings, are available for fulfilling one (or more) of five savings goals home purchase or renovation; microenterprise capitalization; education or training; purchase of an automobile if necessary to maintain or upgrade employment; and purchase of a computer in support of a refugee's education or training.

Catholic Charities of San Diego $852,600

International Rescue Committee, Phoenix $199,871

Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Houston $1,261,620

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, FL $400,000

Chinatown Manpower Project New York, NY $200,000

New York Association for New Americans, New York, NY $720,515

Wisconsin Community Action Program, Madison, WI $400,000

[partial listing]

Targeted Assistance Discretionary Grants (total $7,908,354). Awarded to states to implement special employment services not implemented with formula social services or with TAG Formula grants.

* California $949,649 for employment assistance for youth and parents, family violence prevention, family day care and literacy training, licensed vocational nursing training, employment and placement services.

* Texas $286,855 for family violence prevention, Sudanese MAA support groups on women's issues, and ESL (English as Second Language) classes.

* Wisconsin $3,621,744 for employment training, microenterprise development, case management, parenting assistance, tutoring and ESL after school for at-risk youth, mental health assessment, case management, counseling, family violence prevention and intervention services.

* Ohio $362,792 to assist eligible refugees, particularly women, find work within a year after arrival.

[partial listing]

Technical Assistance (no total given)"Funds are made available for grants to voluntary agencies to increase placements of newly arriving refugees in preferred communities where there is a history of low welfare utilization and a favorable earned income potential relative to the cost of living."

U.S. Catholic Conference $400,000

Institute for Social and Economic Development $450,000

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service $368,682

Spring Institute for International Studies $275,000

Loan funds are given to refugees to start businesses with the average loan being $7.187 which is leveraged against additional matching funds from other sources. Under this program these were some of the awards

World Relief Nashville, TN $169,264

Research and Development Institute of Houston, TX $150,000

National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Miami, FL $150,000

Community and Family Strengthening and Integration (Total $11,565,015). These funds are used to serve refugees in the areas of English language training; parent/school relationships; intergenerational family values; youth development; crime prevention; spouse and child abuse intervention; citizenship promotion; community activities. Some examples

* Catholic Legal Immigration Network to lead a national consortium of ten partner agencies to assist refugees with a full range of professional accredited citizenship services adjunct to filing the application ($700,000).

* National Immigration Forum collaborating with Positive Communications, the Tarrance Group and Lord Media ($310,000) to teach refugee leaders how to develop and implement effective communication programs and to work with the media.

* Lincoln Interfaith Council with Asian Community and Cultural Center ($137,063) for Iraqi community development and citizenship services.

* Amherst Wilder Foundation ($371,363) for community capacity building and leadership training.

And many more focusing on domestic violence prevention and at-risk /violent children programs.

Alternative Projects for Comprehensive Refugee Resettlement Services total $9,075,883, designed to provide interim financial assistance, support services, and case management to newly arriving refugees in a manner that encourages refugee self-sufficiency.

* Catholic Charities, California, in partnership with International Rescue Committee, Jewish Family Services, and Alliance for African Assistance $3,619,950

* Colorado Department of Human Services, along with Lutheran Refugees, Ecumenical Refugee Services, Jewish Family Services, Rounding MT. Survivor Center, and Spring Institute for International Studies $1,905,000.

* Mountain States Group of Boise, Idaho, in partnership with World Relief, Immigration and Refugee Services, and Episcopal Migration Ministries $974,584.

* North Dakota Department of Human Services, in partnership with Lutheran Social Services $475,000

PREFERRED COMMUNITIES (total $2,001,320). Seeks to promote opportunities for refugee self-sufficiency and effective resettlement. To that end funds are made available for grants to voluntary agencies to increase placements of newly arriving refugees in preferred communities where there is a history of low welfare utilization and a favorable earned income potential relative to the cost of living.

* International Rescue Committee of Atlanta, GA and Phoenix, AZ $235,584.

* Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services of Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Sioux Falls, SD; Trenton, NJ; and Milwaukee, WI. $322,834.

* Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Episcopal Migration Ministries Tucson AZ; Boise, ID; Lexington, KY $364,645.

* Immigration and Refugee Services of America at Bowling Green, KY; Bridgeport, CT; Colchester, VT; Buffalo, NY; Twin Falls, ID; Erie, PA; Manchester, NH $580,000.

This is a partial listing. Programs were also funded by $3,077,334 to provide special services under the preferred communities grants to newly arriving refugees that are HIV positive Boston, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Seattle, Houston, Providence, Salt Lake City, Grand Rapids, Portland, and Phoenix.

Community Outreach Programs total $1,278,956.

* Ethiopian Community Development Center Virginia ($110,000) to conduct outreach to newly arrived refugees from Africa via weekly radio program and monthly newsletter; cross-cultural orientation to 200 refugees; workshops for service providers; mentoring programs between arriving African refugee families and African-American families.

* Catholic Charities of Boston (similar to the above) $56,067.

Ethnic Community Organizations A total of $2,680,866 was awarded to groups that provided self-help networks, developed newsletters and web sites to enhance ethnic community interaction, and conducted self-assessment and leadership training. Some examples

Free Iraq Foundation, Washington, DC $415,306

Kurdish Human Rights Watch, Vienna, VA, $320,000

National Coalition for Haitian rights, New York, NY $300,000

International Rescue Committee, Atlanta, GA $71,199

Kurdish Iraqi Organization Iraqi Community Association of San Francisco, CA, $189,634

Iraqi Association of Arizona $180,000

ROZA Promotions, Staten Island, NY, $100,000 for Liberian Organizing

Education Grants (total $17,820,799) to state education agencies for public schools to assist local education agencies with the impact of large enrollments of refugee children; assistance to teachers and other school staff in improving their understanding of refugee children and their families.

Arizona $296,020

California $2,016,380

Florida $2,000,000

Idaho $150,000

Michigan $1,000,000

Minnesota $1,000,000

North Dakota $170,000

Connecticut $387,706

Elderly Refugees $6,032,742 was awarded to such states as Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, California, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Other discoveries that have been made along the way in this research include

* The Catholic Legal Immigration Network was awarded a special grant of $282,740.

* There are ten agencies approved to get federal refugee resettlement funds.

* In 1995 the average earnings of the refugee who was working was a bit more than $9/hour. By 2000 that had dropped to a little over $7/hour. ;

[One may access a list of grants awarded at: http://saffron.hhs.gov/taggs.]

About the author

Wayne Lutton, Ph.D., is editor of The Social Contract.

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(Article copyrights extend to the first date the article was published in The Social Contract)