A state is permitted to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program

For as long as we have been writing RRW, a year and a half now, I’ve wondered how it is that no refugees are resettled in Wyoming.   I had heard the state had “opted out” of the program but I could never figure out how this was done.

Today a kind reader sent me this section from the Code of Federal Regulations that answers my guestion!   A state is permitted to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program.

The following is from Section 400.301, Withdrawal from the Refugee Program from 45 CFR.   The “Director” is the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

(a) In the event that a State decides to cease participation in the refugee program, the State must provide 120 days advance notice to the Director before withdrawing from the program.

(b) To participate in the refugee program, a State is expected to operate all components of the refugee program, including refugee cash and medical assistance, social services, preventive health, and an unaccompanied minors program if appropriate. A State is also expected to play a coordinating role in the provision of assistance and services in accordance with §400.5(b). In the event that a State wishes to retain responsibility for only part of the refugee program, it must obtain prior approval from the Director of ORR. Such approval will be granted if it is in the best interest of the Government.

(c) When a State withdraws from all or part of the refugee program, the Director may authorize a replacement designee or designees to administer the provision of assistance and services, as appropriate, to refugees in that State. A replacement designee must adhere to the same regulations under this part that apply to a State-administered program, with the exception of the following provisions: 45 CFR 400.5(d), 400.7, 400.51(b)(2)(i), 400.58(c), 400.94(a), 400.94(b), 400.94(c), and subpart L. Replacement designees must also adhere to the Subpart L regulations regarding formula allocation grants for targeted assistance, if the State authorized the replacement designee appointed by the Director to act as its agent in applying for and receiving targeted assistance funds. Certain provisions are excepted because they apply only to States and become moot when a State withdraws from participation in the refugee program and is replaced by another entity. States would continue to be responsible for administering the other excepted provisions because these provisions refer to the administration of other State-run public assistance programs.

[60 FR 33604, June 28, 1995, as amended at 65 FR 15450, Mar. 22, 2000]

Based on that Section c, it looks like they aren’t going to let any state out easily.

For the entire Code of Federal Regulations for Refugee Resettlement, go here.  It is a treasure trove of information.

An afterthought:  I don’t know how many times over the last year and a half we have heard officials at state or local level say there is nothing they can do about refugees coming to a particular community—it’s all the federal governments doing they say.   Well this puts a lie to that notion, a state can say NO and it looks like a state can say, slow down the numbers!

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