Comment worth noting: large contractors like ECDC monopolize refugee funding

This is a comment I received in response to my post last week about how the Ethiopian Community Development Council (one of the big nine cabal of federal refugee contractors) testifying at the US State Department May 1 meeting, here, asked that the funds keep coming even if the refugees aren’t.

Readers not familiar with the situation in St. Louis with the African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri, might wish to first read this article (for background) in St. Louis Today from earlier this year.

From Gedlu B. Metaferia (emphasis mine):

Although I differ in views from you [at RRW] because of my former status as a refugee with liberal background I still appreciate your blogs because you expand our horizon of dialog and understanding from various angles. I know where you are coming from.  I am with you on many posts of waste of Government use of tax payer dollar. I was sick to the stomach when I saw the $13-14 million ECDC 990 to resettle less than 300 refugees every year.  I am not envious person by nature, and I expected honesty from non-profits, foundations and our government. Now I know better.  I did not want to write this post because I have stopped writing on ORR-“VOLAG” related issues temporarily because I do not want to offend very few genuine contractors who help refugees, although I believe that change is coming soon.  I am also outspoken on ORR and the crony like racket because the grant (contract) awardees are always the same personalities and organizations. I have also stopped writing temporarily because I believe that the worst offenders of a malfunction of a system are those refugee workers who keep quite and turn their just eyes the other way instead of fixing it.  I will be having a web site of advocacy in refugee issues pretty soon.  As you may probably know ECDC has given me hard time by cropping ad helping another agency (AIRS) in St. Louis, the effect has contributed to AMAAM [African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri] to close early. We were beaten hard here in St. Louis by ORR money which was obtained on behalf of AIRS by ECDC from 2002-2004.

ORR does not consider million of resources that VOLAGS have before distributing $600 million- $1 Billion a year.  This why small genuine organizations are wiped out  especially in this recession.  One refugee  specialist friend made me laugh when he commented that ‘If some of these rich share volags  contribute at least 1% of their net income  for agencies like AMAAM life will not be difficult for many”. I know that this will not happen. The resettlement lobby is very strong. It does not tolerate differing opinion. It is a kingdom  that uses refugees to enrich itself. I am not writing as a self-serving issue, but I was providing services for more than 500 refugee families without including other categories of legal immigrants for less than $100K with 3-7 employees.  These refugees are often given support 2 years after arrival because resettlement agencies have to concentrate on new arrivals. There are also secondary migrants (who stay in St. Louis from 1 week to 5 years). It is not self-serving to say that I have the blessing of respect, well wishes and love as I walk on the street from African immigrants. That is the only beautiful capital and gratitude I get and it is a blessing from God.  When I saw the $14 million figure in the 990 of ECDC it just makes me sad.  I am not against making wealth. I strongly believe that tamed capitalism is the best system because I had seen vestiges of 3 systems in Ethiopia which are very horrible. I am not against if VOLAGS make billions by their hard work. But this one is not right by capitalisms standard, by Gods standard, by true charitable standard, by any standard, by conservative standard, by liberal standard, by American standard.  There has to be a way to reform refugee resettlement, non-profits and foundations. I do not want the name refugee to be associated with making profits, it is immoral and unjust.

Well said!

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