50,000 Congolese refugees coming soon; more refugees generally than previous years; and a warmer welcome (more funding) for all, especially more funding for contractors!
At about the same time that citizens from across the country were sending in testimony to the US State Department telling them they don’t want tens of thousands of refugees admitted to the US in 2014, Assistant Secretary of State for Population Refugees and Migration was making the rounds of refugee contractor meetings and making some news. And, no surprise, it’s all about how resettlement is getting bigger and better (in their view).
Here is a portion only of Richard’s speech which I am breaking-up with explanatory sub-headings of my own. Emphasis is mine too.
Your community is “enriched by these newcomers!” says Richard.
Let’s now turn our attention back to our own country, the United States. As all of you here today know, the United States is also the world’s leading resettlement country, admitting more refugees each year than all other resettlement countries combined – more than three million since 1975. And we all know that our own communities have been as enriched by these newcomers as they have been by the opportunities this country has provided them. Our overall resettlement policy remains the same: we will continue to strive to achieve the President’s refugee admissions ceiling, focusing on the most vulnerable who cannot go home or be integrated in their country of first asylum.
We get into dangerous places and bring out refugees. In Africa we moved Somalis from a camp that was too dangerous for our Department of Homeland Security to get into, to a less dangerous camp so as to process the twenty-year camp dwellers to your town.
The PRM Bureau has gone to extraordinary lengths in the past year to reach refugees in need of resettlement who were previously inaccessible because of dangerous conditions in the places where they had sought asylum.
In Kenya, UNHCR has referred thousands of Somalis in the Dadaab camp for U.S. resettlement. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security was unable to interview them because it was determined to be too risky to send DHS officers to Dadaab. Last year, we provided additional funding to build a transit center in Kakuma camp, where conditions are safer, and have moved close to 1,600 individuals from Dadaab to Kakuma to continue the process for U.S. resettlement. These refugees, many of whom have been living in Dadaab for more than 20 years, will start arriving in the United States this month.
We are working on bringing you Syrians as soon as we can to add to your city’s diversity.
In Syria, thousands of Iraqi refugees who have been referred for U.S. resettlement are similarly inaccessible and we are taking several steps to get them to safety.
And, listen up! Here is some big news! The UN has announced that 50,000 Congolese will be resettled and THE US WILL TAKE MOST OF THEM!
Many of you know by now that UNHCR has announced its intention to refer up to 50,000 Congolese for resettlement over the next five years. Most will likely come to the United States. Given the level of trauma and need among this population, we want to work together with all of you to do this right. That’s why we’ve formed a working group to bring together partners from all across the spectrum – overseas and domestic, government, International Organizations, and NGOs – to see how we can better prepare the refugees and communities for successful resettlement.
We will be getting into Chad so as to bring you some Darfurians too!
We were pleased (and a bit surprised) when the Government of Chad reached out to UNHCR late last year to say it had changed its mind on resettlement of Darfuri refugees from Eastern Chad and would now allow UNHCR to refer individual cases (but not P-2 group processing).
PRM traveled to Chad in February to survey the landscape and discuss the resumption of resettlement with partners. We are cautiously optimistic but proceeding slowly in terms of dedicating resources (human and financial) to the effort, given the fits and starts we’ve faced on this program over the years.
Family reunification from Africa is now up and running after being closed for years due to the widespread fraud we uncovered in 2008. But, we didn’t do anything about those 30,000 plus Somalis who entered fraudulently prior to 2008.
Working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, we re-instated the priority three or “P-3” family reunion program this year with a new DNA requirement to ensure that the program is fulfilling its purpose of reuniting relatives.
More refugees coming this year than last, 20% more! And coming faster!
I’m pleased to report that we are on track to admit the number of refugees in the Presidential Determination this year. That is 70,000 refugees– a more than 20% increase over last year’s number. You should also know that we’ve been able to admit these refugees in a much more even pace than in recent years. Just under 50% of the refugees we expect this year were admitted in the first half of the fiscal year.
We know that there are shrinking local budgets, refugees are struggling, but we are going to bring them anyway! And, we will make sure the contractors get more federal tax dollars.
We recognize that this increase comes at a time of shrinking state and local budgets, cuts in social services, and the challenges of raising private contributions. As you know, PRM has helped deal with economic challenges to the program by doubling the amount of funding provided on a per capita basis to receive and place refugees in 2010. We have provided modest increases since then.
We also are providing “floor funding” to our resettlement agency partners, essentially guaranteeing sufficient funding for services to 60,000 refugees so that program managers can plan and hire staff with the assurance that the funding will be there. Despite all these improvements, we know that many refugees are still struggling in the early weeks and months of their arrival in the States.
Not concerned with how communities can cope or finance all of this, just about how to make sure the refugees’ needs are met.
This leads me to ask: How can our domestic programs best address the needs of refugees? What more can we do to help refugees effectively integrate into new communities? [Notice the word ‘integrate.’ They shun that out-of-fashion idea of ‘assimilation.’—ed]
Given the overall budget situation in Washington, we all acknowledge the need to widen the circle of domestic “stakeholders” in the refugee resettlement program. We need to ensure a warm reception for the refugees we resettle. We need to find creative ways to expand participation in the program at the local level and support for the program by community leaders.
There is more, read it all here.
Learn more about Anne Richard, the globalist—this is one of several posts on the revolving door (government employee/contractor). Richard has revolved several times in her career.