This is old news from back in April and I don’t know if they have changed their minds about closing offices after it was announced by the Dept. of State on May 26th that the number of refugees being admitted to the US is going to tick up to 1,500 a week.
Since the refugee contractors*** are paid by the head to place refugees in your towns and cities they may feel there is some hope for their finances to pick up with an increase in paying client (aka refugees) arrivals.
(As of June 11th, 47,434 refugees have been admitted to the US in FY17. This is 9,328 refugees since the supposed moratorium began and 17,312 since Trump was inaugurated.)
However, office closure news isn’t the primary reason I’m posting this news. I’m posting it because a reader has solved a mystery I’ve been wondering about for years—why is there no Form 990 (the IRS form required of non-profit groups) for Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)?
Before I get to the answer. Here is what the Episcopal News Service reported on April 4th (they are looking ahead to FY18 and even lower numbers of refugee clients):
As a result of changing U.S. policy that lowers the number of refugees to be resettled in this country annually by more than half, Episcopal Migration Ministries will be reducing the size of its affiliate network by six sites in the next fiscal year. Currently, the Episcopal Migration Ministries network consists of 31 affiliate locations.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government.
“We are disappointed that we need to take these steps, but the current situation leaves us no choice,” commented the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “We have reduced our national core staff by 22% due to funding cuts and we are now looking at a similar cut in our network of affiliate partners through which refugees are resettled. While difficult, the decision making process regarding these reductions has been carried out carefully and strategically, with the welfare of refugees at the forefront of our minds.”
As Episcopal Migration Ministries prepares for fiscal year 2018, six offices will not be included in the resettlement plan submitted to the government. The affiliates, and the Episcopal dioceses in which they are located, are: Refugee One, Chicago, IL (Diocese of Chicago); Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, FL (Diocese of Florida); Lutheran Social Services of ND, Fargo, ND (Diocese of North Dakota); Lutheran Social Services of ND, Grand Forks, ND (Diocese of North Dakota); Ascentria Care Alliance, Concord, NH (Diocese of New Hampshire); and Ascentria Care Alliance, Westfield, MA (Diocese of Western Massachusetts).
Readers this does not mean that the entire refugee program in, for instance, Fargo, ND is closing. Many of these contractors double up in places where the flow coming in is pretty lucrative. See the page from the State Department’s affiliates directory. You will see for Fargo, for instance, that EMM shares an office with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Presumably LIRS will stay in business.
If you are wondering what the DFMS stands for in the lefthand corner of two entries, it is for EMM’s other name Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. You see how tricky this gets when trying to figure out what these secretive agencies are doing while using different names and housing their money in difficult-to-find places! (BTW, I was told by a DOS employee nearly ten years ago that there are no financial audits done of this particular group of federal contractors.)
They are not passing the plate on Sundays for their refugee program!
Take, for example, my quandary about trying to find EMM’s Form 990. Here is what one reader spotted in a lengthier story from Episcopal News Service in April:
The executive order’s impact on EMM’s bottom line is especially drastic because EMM is a unique ministry of the Episcopal Church, both structurally and fiscally. While not separately incorporated, as is Episcopal Relief & Development, EMM receives very little money from the church-wide budget, instead receiving 99.5 percent of its funding from the federal government. Its main office is housed at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
EMM takes the prize! 99.5% of its funding is from you. And, you have no way of knowing where your money is going!
And, come to think of it, where is the ACLU on the issue of separation of church and state? Hmmmm?
The next highest contractors run at the 97%-98% federal funding level (US Conf. of Catholic Bishops, USCRI and LIRS).
Endnote: With all of this news about EMM closing offices, one wonders why the DOS is contemplating opening a new EMM office in Charleston, WV?
*** The nine federal contractors that depend largely on tax dollars to do their charitable good works are these:
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)