What is the Match Grant program? More questions then answers

Your tax dollars:

This topic keeps coming up when we get refugee stories in local newspapers.  Usually a reporter is told that all the refugee resettlement agency gets is $900 (one time payment) per refugee to get them set up in apartments and usually the agency keeps $450 for its own administrative use.

Well there is also this optional Match Grant program described at the Office of Refugee Resettlement website here.  Frankly, some of this is not clear to me, but first here is a description of the program.

Program Goal

The goal of the Matching Grant program is to help refugees, certain Amerasians, Cuban and Haitian entrants, asylees, and certified victims of human trafficking attain economic self-sufficiency within four to six months from date of arrival into the United States.

General Background/ Program Description

The Voluntary Agency Matching Grant (MG) Program is part of the Division of Community Resettlement and is an alternative program to public assistance designed to enable refugees to become self-sufficient within 4 to 6 months from date of arrival into the U.S. Eligible grantees are Voluntary Agencies able to coordinate comprehensive multilingual, multicultural services for refugees at local sites – these same agencies are under Cooperative Agreements with the Department of State/Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

The Matching Grant Program requires a match from private funds or donated goods and services to partner with monies provided by ORR. For Calendar Year 2007, the program achieved 80% self sufficiency for the 28,137 participants. In CY 2008, ORR funded $60 million to the Match Grant Program With a per capita of $2,200; the MG program will serve 27,272 clients through 230 local affiliates of the Voluntary Agencies.

Eligible Applicants

Competition is limited. Only agencies that have on-going relationships with refugees that have been established as a result of providing reception and placement services under the terms of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are eligible to apply.

The theory sounds good with the idea being to get refugees established in a job and on their own with minimum welfare demands and public support.   But, here is what I would like to know.

How much does the refugee get each month for the 6 months of the program from the $2200 in cash the agency gets?  All of it? Or, does the agency get a cut of it for administration?

Does the refugee living in subsidized housing pay any rent out of this money?

By the way, the “match” part of this involves the agency getting together $1000 in cash or donated stuff to “match” the federal layout of the $2200 in cash (Public-Private partnership mythology).  The agency gets to set the value of the donated stuff and does anyone ever check to confirm the stuff is worth what they say it is? 

And, the program doesn’t kick in for the first 30 days, so that means the agency has to initially lay out for all the needs of the refugee in the initial resettlement period that are required by the State Department’s Operational Guidance, here.   Refugees aren’t then being billed for expenses the agency originally provided for, along with that airfare bill the the resettlement agency wants repaid, are they?

So a refugee could get a job, any old job, sometime in the six month period of the match grant and lose it in the 7th month and still count as being successfully self-sufficient, is that right?

And, at the end of the period, the refugee could then go right back on all sorts of public assistance, right?

Since the program is only supposed to be for refugees who have a really good shot at self-sufficiency, doesn’t this make for problems within the same apartment buildings or neighborhoods when refugees compare notes about who gets what from the government?

We spent $60 million on this prgram in FY2008.    Find a Match Grant program near you, here.

Check out the most recent report (2007) and see how your favorite volag fared, here. I’ll bet these numbers are pretty rotten for FY2009!

I wonder does any outside source check the volag stats on self-sufficiency?  Also, I wonder if there is any penalty for “out-migration” which I assume means that some refugee bags this whole program and moves?

Readers, our goal in writing this blog was to inform the general public about how the refugee resettlement program works.  If you can answer some of these questions, please do so in the comments so that we all can learn.

Chesler: Some western countries wising up about immigrant barbarism

On the heels of the news from France last week that Sarkozy was demanding that Muslim immigrants respect French cultural  and legal practices that give rights to women and others, Phyllis Chesler tells us that Canada too is firming up its legal stance against mostly Muslim practices that brutalize women.  Hat tip:  Jawa Report

The Canadian government has just revamped its citizenship guide for immigrants. The document is titled “The Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship.” According to Canada’s National Post:

“In Canada, men and women are equal under the law,” the document says. “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings,’ female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.”

Western governments are beginning to wake up to dangerous or “barbaric” practices among immigrants—especially among Muslim immigrants. Whether such practices are pre-Islamic, non-Islamic, even anti-Islamic (and people have argued all of the above), the truth is that certain “barbaric” practices are most often committed by Muslims against Muslims. Sikhs and Hindus, to a much lesser extent, also commit honor murders.

Some scholars argue that the Qu’ran specifically supports and inspires such practices; other scholars argue the opposite case. One must note that Islam has, so far, failed to educate against or abolish certain “barbarisms,” and has, instead, enshrined them in state shari’a law in Muslim states such as Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan.

But something new may finally be afoot.

Read on, there is lots more!

Interesting that this comes to us on the heels of several cases of violence  by Muslim men against women, not the least of which is Major Hasan’s Jihad against women (including one pregnant woman) at Ft. Hood.  Then we have the recent confirmed honor killing in Arizona.  And, possible Somali honor killings in Colorado and Missouri.

So, what I would like to know is are we going to take a stand like Canada and France?

Hire a refugee! You might even get a federal tax credit!

Your tax dollars:

As we continue to see a pattern of (excessively!) large numbers of refugees resettled in certain towns and cities near meatpacking plants, it’s pretty obvious there is something in it for the meatpacking giants in addition to being able to keep wages low and virtually having a captive labor pool to choose from, there may also be tax credits—namely the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).   You can learn all about it here.

Also, I just came across this handy resource called Refugee Works where prospective employers can learn about all the advantages of hiring refugees.

However, now I have many more questions.  Do the resettlement agencies have any sort of contractual arrangement with certain big businesses to hire their refugees?  Do poor and unemployed American citizens get the sorts of help and guidance that the refugees get?  Is there actually a federal-guided effort to get new refugees to meatpacking towns? (I think that was definitely happening in Iowa in the Clinton Administration, here)  And, since an eligible WOTC refugee need only be employed for, it looks like 10 weeks (400 hours), in order for the business to reap its tax benefit, could an unscrupulous employer just let someone go after that point and get a fresh refugee and start the process all over?

So, in addition to having a compliant (helpless really!) labor force close at hand with potential new employees rotating in as others burn out, move on, or are fired, these big business employers have employees who are subsidized by the taxpayer in the form of food stamps, subsidized housing, some medical coverage, etc.  Thus employers can continue, guilt free I suppose, to not pay a living wage.  I would also like to know what’s in it for the resettlement agency (aka refugee employment service)?

I’m pretty cynical these days so this brings to mind the concept of modern day slavery!

If anyone can answer my questions, or convince me this isn’t what I think it is, I look forward to your response.  If you don’t want to send a comment for the public to read, please e-mail me privately at Ann@vigilantfreedom.com

African asylum seekers reaching South America, hope to get to the US

This is a Reuters story published in the New York Times yesterday about the increase in numbers of African asylum seekers getting into South American countries.  Some settle into black Muslim communities there, others try to come across land through Mexico to the US.

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Stowed away on cargo ships and unsure where their dangerous journeys will take them, increasing numbers of African immigrants are arriving in Latin America as European countries tighten border controls.

Some head to Mexico and Guatemala as a stepping stone to the United States, others land in the ports of Argentina and Brazil. Though many arrive in Latin America by chance, once in the region they find governments that are more welcoming than in Europe.

“One night I went to the seaport. I was thinking I was going to Europe. Later I found out I was in Argentina,” said Sierra Leone immigrant Ibrahim Abdoul Rahman, a former child soldier who said he escaped his country’s civil war by sneaking onto a cargo ship for a 35-day voyage.

In Brazil, Africans are now the largest refugee group, representing 65 percent of all asylum seekers, according to the Brazil’s national committee for refugees.

There are now more than 3,000 African immigrants living in Argentina, up from just a few dozen eight years ago. The number of asylum seekers each year has risen abruptly, to about 1,000 a year, and a third of them are African.

South America is more “welcoming” than Europe now. 

Many eventually settle here, marry, or become Argentine citizens. Some Africans who have arrived legally have managed to work as musicians and a few others play professional soccer for local clubs. The majority earn a living selling jewelry on the streets of Buenos Aires.

Abdoul Rahman met his Argentine wife when he sold her a ring five years ago. He sends money to his mother and seven sisters in Africa and stays close to his Muslim religion at Buenos Aires’ Alberdi mosque.

There Rahman meets dozens of other Africans for Friday prayers. Although some of those interviewed said they faced racism in Argentina, they agreed that it was minor compared to the xenophobia and anti-immigration laws that African migrants face in Europe.

Coming to the US if they can.

More and more immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia are also making their way to Mexico and Central America via cargo ships, hoping to eventually reach the United States over land.

The number of Africans passing through the detention center in Tapachula, a city near Mexico’s southern border, was more than 600 last year, three times as many as in 2007.

Here is a post I wrote almost a year ago about Somalis detained at the Mexican border and how American immigration lawyers are jumping to help them get asylum,