Another suggestion for the sequestration budget cutting ax: IDAs

Your tax dollars!

IDAs—Individual Development Accounts!

What is that?  It’s a fancy name for your tax dollars matching a refugee’s savings.  For every dollar a refugee saves in this program (administered not by a government agency, but laundered through a non-profit), he or she is matched a dollar from the federal treasury.  I am not kidding!

How many times over the years have I heard someone complain—how are these refugees getting cars and such—this is how.  The monies can be used toward purchasing a car, a house, a business or education.

Here is a profile of a refugee eligible for this special deal.  He/she is usually employed (and may earn up to $3000 a month!) and own a house, have one car, and no more than $10,000 in assets, and can sign up for the program.   Nothing like this is available to a low income American citizen that I know of!  Ever heard of it?

$4-5 million could be saved annually if we dumped this discriminatory program!

Like St. Patrick’s never-ending pot of gold, the federal treasury is available for certain special groups of people.

In 2009 (from that finally-released three years late 2009 Annual Report to Congress, p.38) we spent $4.6 million on the program, again by passing your money through an unaccountable non-profit agency.   If we insist on redistributing taxpayers money this way, couldn’t the program go through the state refugee agencies which are at least nominally open to public scrutiny?

By the way, ORR tells us that 8% of participants quit the program—I wonder do they give your money back?

Here then are the resettlement contractors and ethnic community group grants for 2009.  I bet they each get to keep a cut of the pie for their own “administration” of the program.

Continuation grants awarded in FY 2009 to the following programs with cycles that will end on September 29, 2010 are:

Lao Family Community Development, Inc., Oakland, CA, $200,000

World Relief DuPage, Wheaton, IL, $235,000

ISED Ventures, Des Moines, IA, $235,000

Jewish Family & Vocational Services, Inc., Louisville, KY, $230,000

International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, $180,000

New York Association for New Americans, New York, NY, $300,000

Women’s Opportunities Resource Center, Philadelphia, PA, $235,000

Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Nashville, TN, $194,392.

Continuation grants awarded in FY 2009 to the following programs with cycles that will end on September 29, 2012 are:

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA, $204,000

Western Kentucky Refugee Mutual Assistance Society, Inc., Bowling Green, KY, $150,000

Economic and Community Development Institute, Columbus, OH, $230,000

Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Augusta, ME, $207,901

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, Inc., Camden, NJ, $225,000

Diocese of Olympia, Seattle, WA, $205,000

ECDC Enterprise Development Group, Arlington, VA, $280,000

Mountain States Group, Boise, ID, $201,018

United Way, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, $240,000

Neighborhood Assets, Spokane, WA, $50,000

International Rescue Committee Phoenix, New York, NY, $230,000

Alliance for Multicultural Community Service Inc., Houston, TX, $203,500

Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, $200,000

Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell, Inc., Lowell, MA,$192,380

I wonder if the Health and Human Services Inspector General has ever looked into this program?  Does anyone audit these outfits?

Editors note:  This is the third in my series of suggested budget cuts.  Here I suggested we could cut the grants for refugee “healthy marriages,” and here for the little ACORN-like ethnic community based organizations.  Including the IDAs, I’ve now saved the US taxpayers over $13 million!  I wonder what the sequester is going to require ORR to cut overall?

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