How many times have we heard this over the years! It is the same old story. The federal contractors and their subcontractors (hundreds of them) are begging for more taxpayer dollars for refugees (and themselves!). When the Refugee Act of 1980 was signed into law by Jimmy Carter, the VOLAGs (He! he! voluntary agencies) were supposed to form public-private partnerships with government, but increasingly over the years, the contractors raise little money themselves and depend on the federal government for larger and larger shares. Some contractors are now more than 90% funded by tax dollars.
AND, as much as they tell you the refugees are working and becoming self-sufficient within a few months it’s a lie (sorry to be so blunt!). That is why they are now lobbying like heck to get more federal funding as this Ohio subcontractor of Episcopal Migration Ministries is doing (they were previously affiliated with another contractor, Church World Service). Hat tip: Joanne
See action alert below directly from the website of Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). They even supply a script for their followers to use when calling Congress. Interesting we just reported on advocacy (aka lobbying) in our previous post. For legal sticklers out there, we know they can legally do this, but it’s morally wrong in my view for religious organizations, like the Episcopalians, to run to Congress for payola.
Are they doing this from the pulpit too? Do they have a Washington DC lobbyist like the Lutherans, Evangelicals and Catholics do to tell them it’s time to gin up the grassroots? Of course they do!
Here is CRIS’s action alert:
Calls Urgently Needed for Refugees and Unaccompanied Children
BACKGROUND: The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program provides persecuted refugees with safe haven and a chance at a new life. Additionally, the United States must care for a growing number of children fleeing violence in Central America who arrive within our borders alone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) urgently needs additional funding for FY 2014 to serve all of the vulnerable migrants under its care – refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking and torture, Cuban-Haitian entrants, Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders, and unaccompanied alien children (UAC). If ORR is not able to secure more funds, the road to self-sufficiency and integration could be hampered for thousands of refugees and other populations assisted by ORR. In addition, the ORR funding that states, counties, and cities rely on would also be at risk.
Take a moment to call your TWO Senators and your Representative by dialing (202) 224-3121 to encourage them to support. Calls are especially needed to members of the appropriations committees, which can be found here http://appropriations.house.gov/about/members/ and here http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/about-members.cfm
Here is a sample script you can use to tailor your personal message, describing your own work or relationships with refugees, unaccompanied children and other vulnerable migrants:
Hi, my name is [NAME], from [CITY, STATE]. May I please
speak with the staff person who handles appropriations issues?
I am calling to urge the [SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE]
to support increased funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations
bill, specifically for the Department of Health and Human
Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. Without Congressional
intervention to increase this funding, America’s ability to
provide persecuted refugees and vulnerable unaccompanied
children with safe haven and a chance at a new life would be
compromised. Funding for this program is an investment in the
safety and self-sufficiency of people we welcome to American
communities. Please ensure that Congress appropriates
sufficient funding for HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement for
If you think they don’t need more money, why not have some fun, use their script and tell Senators and Members of Congress to not increase their funding—they should be raising private money for any shortfalls they have (it’s mostly for their offices and salaries anyway!).
CRIS is in Columbus, Ohio. I wonder how many Somalis they resettled in probably the second largest Little Mogadishu behind Minneapolis?