World Relief in Ft. Wayne, IN is closing, not enough refugees being resettled

I laughed when I saw this story.   Two years ago this office opened likely because they (World Relief) got a whiff of more federal money going to Ft. Wayne, IN as hundreds of mostly Burmese refugees were being resettled there each year.  In June 2008 you could tell that Catholic Charities already had its turf in Ft. Wayne and didn’t want anyone horning in on their territory.  See Volag cat fight, here.

Then the State Department pulled the plug on new resettlements in Ft. Wayne —only family reunification cases are being resettled there now.  Since agencies like Catholic Charities and World Relief get their funding on a per capita basis, fewer refugees means fewer tax dollars to the so-called charity.

As I read this story, which I’m about to give you a link for in a minute, I wondered, couldn’t World Relief scrape together enough private funding  and volunteers to keep a CHARITABLE office open to help with assimilation problems that are huge in Ft. Wayne.  In other words, one can only conclude that this is not charitable and caring work, it’s all about the federal bucks.  No federal bucks, no charity!

From the Journal Gazette:

FORT WAYNE – One of Fort Wayne’s two refugee placement offices will close, a consequence of the federal government’s limitations on the number of refugees sent to the city.

World Relief, a faith-based international humanitarian aid organization, opened an office at Simpson United Methodist Church on South Harrison Street less than two years ago in anticipation of an increased flow of refugees.

The U.S. State Department resettled about 800 Burmese refugees in the Fort Wayne area the year before the office opened. Refugees have been fleeing persecution in Myanmar, as Burma is called by the ruling military government, for years.

The high number being sent here had social services agencies seeking help, and World Relief said it hoped to ease some of the strain on Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the sole agency tasked with placing refugees in the area.

But the State Department has since severely restricted the number of refugees who can be sent to the Fort Wayne area, and World Relief’s local office has welcomed [notice how reporters are trained to use their preferred buzz words–ed] only about half the number of refugees for which it was approved.

Calls to World Relief’s headquarters in Baltimore and Midwest office in Illinois were not returned Thursday. Dan Kosten, World Relief vice president of U.S. Programs, said in a statement the organization has tried to have the restrictions loosened.

Without more refugees, keeping the office open isn’t viable, he said.

No indeed!  New refugees=cold hard government cash.  No new refugees=no federal funding=no welcome.

Senator Lugar (R-IN) got involved

I’m guessing the reason the US State Department halted new resettlements in Ft. Wayne is because Senator Richard Lugar (widely considered to be soft on the immigration issue) has asked for a GAO investigation of the refugee program and the financial and social impact it has on cities and states, here.  From my observation, it appears the only way to get the State Department to take notice of refugee problems is to get a member of Congress fired up.

For more information, use our search function by typing ‘Ft. Wayne’ into the search box at the upper lefthand corner.  We have written dozens of posts about the city.  If I had known Ft. Wayne would be such a hot spot when we first wrote about the health department there being overloaded with TB and HIV cases back in 2007 we could have made an entire category for Ft. Wayne.