Senator Sessions wants Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide missing annual report

Shaking my head, where were you guys when I needed you years ago!

Senator Jeff Sessions (center) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to HHS Secretary this week looking for ORR annual reports to Congress.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (in HHS) is required by law to provide annual reports to Congress and for years and years we squawked about the fact that for years (years!) they were way behind.  In fact by the time I testified at a State Department hearing in 2012 they were 3 years behind.  My complaints went on for years and for awhile they were starting to catch up. (I did complain to the House immigration subcommittee too!).
I know, I’m grateful that the Congress is finally scrutinizing the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program, but it was lonely there for awhile!
Here is Leo Hohmann at WND yesterday on the latest from Senator Sessions and others:

Several GOP members of Congress led by U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., have placed the Obama administration on notice that it is in violation of federal law with regard to the program that resettles foreign refugees in 180 U.S. cities and towns.

Sessions, along with Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Lamar Smith, R-Texas, released a letter Thursday that was sent the previous day to Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell.

The Obama administration has said it will resettle 85,000 foreign refugees in the U.S. in the current fiscal year, followed by 100,000 in the next year. It has also asked for a substantial increase in funding for the program.

But the law requires annual reports on how those resettlements are carried out.

“Failure to provide Congress with required information on the resettlement of foreign nationals within the United States violates both the law and the public trust,” Sessions said in a statement. “These are grave matters.”

The letter accuses the administration of violating federal law by failing to submit an annual report to Congress on the activities of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which operates within Burwell’s department and doles out welfare benefits to refugees.

Continue reading here.

A trip down memory lane…..

Limon testifying
In 2013, my research indicated that those annual reports to Congress began going off track during the tenure of Lavinia Limon as Director of the ORR under Bill Clinton. Today Limon heads up one of the resettlement contracting agencies—USCRI.

This is what I said in 2012 at a US State Department scoping meeting (Ten Reasons there should be a moratorium on refugee resettlement):

5)     The agencies, specifically the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), is in complete disarray as regards its legally mandated requirement to report to Congress every year on how refugees are doing and where the millions of tax dollars are going that run the programThe last (and most recent) annual report to be sent to Congress is the 2008 report—so they are out of compliance for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011.  A moratorium is necessary in order for the ORR to bring its records entirely up-to-date. Additionally,  there needs to be an adequate tracking system designed to gather required data—frankly some of the numbers reported for such measures of dependence on welfare as food stamp usage, cash assistance and employment status are nothing more than guesses.  (The lack of reports for recent years signals either bureaucratic incompetence and disregard for the law, or, causes one to wonder if there is something ORR is hiding.)

You might want to visit all of my ten reasons for a moratorium because they are as valid today as they were in 2012!

In 2013…..
I did further analysis of the annual reports and if they were sent to Congress according to law (here in March of 2013) and this is what I found:

My original plan was to start researching at 1990 and move toward the present time to see when they went off track and began breaking the law.  It didn’t take long—1993!

So, I went back to 1980 and sure enough through the entire Reagan Presidency and the George HW Bush Presidency from 1980 to 1992 those Annual Reports were right on time—submitted to Congress on January 31st of the following year.

But, you know what the little cheaters did beginning with the 1993 report (and continued to do for the next 20 years)—they stopped putting publication dates on them.  Oh, they had FY 1993 on the cover, but no information about when that actually went to Congress—heck it could have been three years late then!

So, who was the Director of the ORR during Bill Clinton’s time in office? 

Lavinia Limon who now heads up one of the nine major federal contractors—the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants—was in charge of getting those reports to Congress.

For all of you especially in ‘Pockets of Resistance’ check out the annual reports (the list is here).  They are a treasure-trove of information on the program.
Update: Re-posted my Ten reasons, here.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply