Volunteer charges that Utah resettlement agencies are not doing their job

Here we go again, another article about Iraqis on the verge of being evicted (supposedly) from their apartments in Utah because they can’t find work and their government support is running out.   But, if I’m reading this correctly a volunteer is suggesting more could be done and the resettlement agencies there are not doing it.  Granted this section of the story is not clearly written, but because we have heard this before elsewhere, I assume Denise Devynck is saying what I think she is saying.

Some Iraqi refugees have already left the state because they couldn’t support their families. Case workers are dealing with more refugees from more countries than ever before, and there is less money to help.

“That I was able to find 10 jobs in four days, I do not understand how the system is failing these people,” said Denise Devynck.  [Devynck is saying, I think, that she found 10 potential jobs for refugees in a brief period of time.]

She got involved with Iraqi refugees a month ago and can’t hide her frustration. There is a resistance to moving refugees out of the Salt Lake Valley, away from support services and people from their home country.  [Who is resisting?]

Devynck believes finding host families and jobs in any setting should be a higher priority.  [Again, this isn’t clear but it appears she is saying that finding sponsors to help and jobs isn’t high on the resettlement agencies priority lists.]

“The job specialists at these agencies have not sent them on interviews to get jobs,” she said. “So all this time the money’s running out, these guys [Iraqis?] are volunteering, they’re not getting jobs.”

I get the feeling that the reporter couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing—that someone was criticizing a saintly resettlement agency—but felt he couldn’t completely ignore this woman’s complaint either, so it’s written in such a way that one is forced to read between the lines.

I’m going to sound cynical (as usual!), but what if the news of suffering Iraqi refugees could cause more funding to flow from the federal government to the federal refugee resettlement contractors (Top Ten are here*), would they, the contractors, take advantage of the situation and drum up these sob stories?   Is that what the IRC’s crisis report was meant to do?

* A point of information to new readers, your local resettlement agency is a subcontractor to one of the top ten.  Those ten big contractors have a monopoly on the program and get all the federal contracts to resettle refugees and then dole out the taxpayer funds to several hundred ‘affiliates.’    Besides the money that they get directly from the US State Department for initial resettlement, they receive millions of dollars of grant money from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (Office of Refugee Resettlement).

This is our 400th post on Iraqi refugees!