This is the third in a series of primers of sorts for the media on the present Refugee Admissions Program. The first two are here and here.
(I’m doing this series so that I don’t have to give lengthy explanations to reporters! Looking for a quote, below are the offices you should call!)
I wish I knew how to make one of the those flow chart things, but since I don’t, here is a list of who is responsible for which refugees are resettled in the US and ultimately where they are resettled.
At the top of the pyramid is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The present UNHCR is Antonio Guterres the former Socialist President of Portugal.
Then next is the President of the United States who sends a determination letter to Congress each September which contains a ceiling for the number of refugees to be admitted in the upcoming fiscal year (fiscal years begin on October 1 of the preceding year, thus we are nearly 5 months into FY2015). The President also sets ceilings for various regions of the world.
The ceiling for FY2015 is now at 70,000.
Supposedly Congress can change what the President wants, but as far as I know no one on the House or Senate Judiciary Committees ever says boo! about any of it.
BTW, the determination letter is prepared in the US State Department after what amounts to phony hearings where they say they want public comment on the “size and scope” of the program for the upcoming fiscal year, but they really only listen to their contractors (see contractors below).
In the House of Representatives, the present chairmen of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security (of the House Judiciary Committee) is Rep. Trey Gowdy.
In the Senate, the present chairman of the Senate Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee (of the Senate Judiciary Committee) is Senator Jeff Sessions.
Both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees are involved too.
Under the President there are three cabinet level agencies intimately involved in Refugee Resettlement:
US State Department where the Asst. Secretary of State for Population Refugees and Migration is Anne C. Richard. Under Ms. Richard are Lawrence Bartlett (in charge of bringing refugees in) and Barbara Day (in charge of working with contractors to distribute them around the country).
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for screening refugees. At the USCIS, Barbara Strack is the chief of the Refugee Affairs Division.
And, finally in the Department of Health and Human Services the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which basically acts as the distributor of money to refugees and contractors, the new director is Ken Tota.
I should mention that there are State Refugee Coordinators which have varying amounts of power depending on which type of Refugee program is being carried out by the contractors. Here is a directory of those contacts.
Then ostensibly under all those layers are the nine major resettlement contractors, but LOL! it is often said that they are in fact running the show! They call themselves VOLAGs (short for Voluntary Agencies but they are paid mostly from the US Treasury). There are 350 subcontractors under the nine biggies who are resettling refugees in your towns and cities.
The nine major contractors:
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)
For reporters focusing on your own cities or states, here is a link for a directory of subcontractors in almost every state in the nation. Do you see the abbreviation in the left hand corner of each listing? That is the abbreviation for which of the nine biggies that subcontractor is affiliated with.
Here is a map of the US showing where those subcontractors are located.