We told you about Friends of Refugees back in March of 2008, here and how it had originally come into existence. Christopher Coen and those who work with him have been indefatigable defending refugees across the country who have been left in the lurch by certain government contractors, some of them ‘church’ groups, who continually lobby for more refugees, are paid to resettle them, and then seemingly abandon them, which of course harms the refugees and the communities in which they have been placed.
*Reminder to our diverse readership: At Refugee Resettlement Watch our goal is to encourage an open and honest discussion about the refugee resettlement program of the US State Department. The public should know how this program works and be involved in the decision-making regarding the future of your community. Additionally, we should have a national debate about how many refugees America will take and from what cultures they will come. In the meantime, your tax dollars are paying for this business (yes, it is a business!) and the agencies contracted with your money should be held accountable for their work. That is where Friends of Refugees comes in.
Here is their new site and a bit about what they do:
Friends of Refugees (FORefugees) is a nonpartisan citizens group monitoring the U.S. refugee resettlement program. We serve as an ethical watchdog, promoting refugee resettlement agency and government accountability. We are an all-volunteer citizens group composed of people, some of whom formerly were volunteers at refugee resettlement groups, who are concerned about the state of the U.S. refugee resettlement program – in particular, the welfare of refugees, who are often neglected and who fall through the cracks in the system. We are primarily focused on refugee resettlement agencies abiding by the requirements of the program, although we are also concerned about inadequate government oversight of the resettlement program. We are also concerned about publicly-funded services and material items being provided to refugees.
Be sure to check out the contact information on the above mentioned ‘about’ page.
In a new post today, Mr. Coen addresses the increased funding that was announced last week for what is known as the R & P program (that is the initial resettlement program) that the State Department funds. FOR has further clarified some of the sketchy information on the doubling of the funds paid to contractors, but many questions remain. Here is how Mr. Coen opens his inquiry:
Friends of Refugees has had some concerns about the recently announced increase in refugee program funding (see our recent post on this announcement). We wanted to know who made this recommendation and what criteria was used? We understand that President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of the refugee resettlement program by the National Security Council (NSC), but who is on the NSC’s Interagency Task Force and who is the Task Force consulting with?
Read it all! Note that one of the most important questions he asks is: Why throw money at the program and reward the contractors when the problems the review was supposed to address have apparently not yet been resolved?
One more thing: I look forward to reading the State Department monitoring reports FOR is making available on its website.