The Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Eskinder Negash, was in Indiana this past week to meet with people involved with the refugee program there. They want more money, he says there is no more.
We first became aware of Indiana’s problems way back in 2007 when the health department in Ft. Wayne (Allen County) was crying out for federal help because they couldn’t handle all the medical problems (including TB!) that were coming in with the huge influx of Burmese refugees the feds were sending to Indiana.
And, even former Senator Lugar asked the GAO for a study of the program and the refugee overload some communities were facing. A study was released in July, here. Who knows, maybe that inspired Negash to get out to Indiana.
From the News-Sentinel:
Eskinder Negash, Office of Refugee Resettlement director, paid a visit Thursday to Indianapolis to meet with Indiana refugee resettlement agencies, local government officials, refugee-serving organizations and community members.
A crowd of several hundred gathered Thursday morning at the Indiana Historical Society, where Negash congratulated the group on serving the Indiana refugee population and applauded their commitment to restoring dignity and freedom to people who had none in their homelands. He spent most of the session taking questions from the crowd.
It quickly became clear there would be no funding increases from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Some people were looking for more assistance with housing. Educators were hoping for more money to fund programs for at-risk refugee students. Negash explained funding from his agency is based on the number of refugees coming into a state. The total dollar amount it has to work with during a year for the whole country is $15 million. [He is probably speaking here about some ’emergency’ type funding account, this is a billion dollar program and they spend every bit of it—somewhere?—ed]
This is their standard line!
Negash said refugees should stand on their own and become independent, and that prolonging their dependence on federal aid was not a solution.
Sounds good right? Well, that isn’t reality. These are third world people who have little education and virtually no skills. They don’t speak English and they have enormous health needs. They are not ready to “stand on their own” at 3 months (or 6 months) when the federal contractor’s taxpayer funding runs out. So guess who is burdened? The local government!
The Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 set up this floundering government-funded system. Prior to that civic groups and churches sponsored refugee families PRIVATELY with PRIVATE CHARITY. That is what Negash is talking about in the bit below. These 1,400-1,500 groups he is referring to are FEDERAL CONTRACTORS! They get taxpayer funding to take care of refugees for a few months!
Since 1980, 3 million refugees have been resettled in the United States. Negash said there are 1,400-1,500 different organizations around the nation working with resettlement refugees. When the United States first began taking refugees in 1975, after the fall of Saigon, there were no resettlement organizations. Negash suggested reconnecting with more church organizations could also help the process, something he believes has fallen off over the years.
No refugee resettlement annual report to Congress for any of the Obama years!
Instead of making public relations trips to overloaded resettlement areas, Eskinder Negash should be doing his job in Washington. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is supposed to report to Congress each year, within three months of the close of the previous fiscal year, about how the refugee program is doing—how much they are spending, if refugees are getting employment, how much welfare they are using, etc.
There has been no report to Congress for fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011! They are three years behind. There are only two possible explanations—incompetence or they are hiding something!
Check here periodically to see when they get around to doing their legal requirement of reporting to Congress.
But, you know, it isn’t completely Negash’s fault! No one in Congress cares or has the guts to look into this lawbreaking!