One hears frequently at this time of year (as the fiscal year runs out) that a big push is underway within Federal govt. agencies to spend their money (your money) so that they can ask for more next year. Well it appears that refugee resettlement works that way too!
The US State Department hoped to get 50,000 refugees resettled in the US by Sept 30th but only have around 23,000 so far. That means that another huge wave of 25,000 refugees could arrive in the US from now until the end of September. The Courier-Journal in Kentucky calls it the 4th quarter “bulge”. http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070708/NEWS01/707080480
Officials from the Federal contractors, Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities, are scrambling to alert local health department officials and local school boards to be ready for the hundreds of refugees expected in a very compressed period of time which puts a strain on local resources and often requires the hiring of aditional ESL teachers just as the school year is beginning.
A problem everywhere and one we have seen in Hagerstown MD, is that volunteers are in short supply so refugees suffer as do local citizens and the local agencies that interact with the refugees. But that doesn’t stop the contractors who receive federal tax dollars based on the numbers of refugees they resettle.
Church World Services has announced that it will be participating in the bulge as well. In a July 5th press release, the NYC based contractor announced it will resettle 600-700 refugees per month for the remainder of the fiscal year. http://www.wfn.org/2007/07/msg00032.html
Most of those refugees will be Burmese (Karen) who have received a waiver from the requirements of the Patriot Act. This particular ethnic group has been affiliated with a terrorist group in Burma (Myanmar) and would therefore normally be excluded from resettlement. However, Sec. of State Rice granted a waiver to allow their entry into the US.
CWS is the parent contractor to Virginia Council of Churches whose program has been suspended in Hagerstown, MD for the remainder of the fiscal year due to public controversy over the program.