My plan (ha! ha! if I don’t get distracted!) is to try to do a series of posts to answer the many questions I’m getting from the media in recent days. The US State Department has an extensive data base called the Refugee Processing Center. Sometimes you can access the data and sometimes you can’t!
First a few basic points: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees chooses most of our refugees. The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for screening them. The US State Department sends them out via contractors they euphemistically call Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGs). They are not voluntary—you pay them through your tax dollars to place the refugees through their offices in 180 cities across America. The nine major VOLAGs have 350 subcontractors to form an extensive network. The contractors spread the refugees out to surrounding towns if the main resettlement city gets overloaded (especially if ‘pockets of resistance’ form).
Reporters! Find the resettlement contractor contact information in your city by clicking here.
The Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Refugee Resettlement) makes sure the nine contractors are well paid for myriad activities.
Back to the data…
I searched this morning for Somali refugees resettled to which states from February 1, 2005 to February 1, 2015 and here is what I learned: The US State Department distributed Somalis to 45 states and the District of Columbia basically establishing “seed communities” or colonies.
Remember though that this is America and people can move without permission so some originally resettled in one place may have long-since moved. The professionals in the refugee industry call those who move “secondary migrants.” The state receiving the most secondary migrants is Minnesota-–why? because Somalis want to live with their kind of people.
Here is the link for the data base I used for the following information. You will need to put your own search parameters in.
From February 1, 2005 to February 1, 2015 we brought a total of 64,332 Somalis to the US from all over the world!
By the way, our Somali refugees don’t come directly from Somalia, but we pick them up all over the world including from Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia, Malta and even it appears Saudi Arabia (more on that later).
The states not (yet!) getting Somali refugees resettled directly are: Delaware (LOL! Joe Biden was one of the original sponsors of the Refugee Act of 1980), Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming, and West Virginia. We know that ‘secondary migrant’ Somalis are going to Wyoming.
(Any state over 1,000 is in red)
District of Columbia: 1
New Hampshire: 270
New Jersey: 41
New Mexico: 161
New York: 3,721
North Carolina: 1,212
North Dakota: 690
Rhode Island: 136
South Carolina: 94
South Dakota: 635
That should total: 64,332
If you are visiting RRW for the first time, you might want to visit this 2008 post where we did an original accounting of the Somalis resettled in the US going back to the early 1990’s.