The federally funded non-profits known as voluntary agencies (VOLAGs), who collectively have received more than $1 billion annually to resettle refugees, are whining now that refugee admissions, and their own associated revenues, are down dramatically during the first five months of FY 2018 under the Trump administration.
Despite a slight uptick in refugee admissions in February to 1,927, the total number of refugee admissions during the first five months of FY 2018, which began on October 1, is only 8,635, according to the State Department’s interactive website – the lowest number of refugee admissions for the first five months of a fiscal year in more than 15 years.
If the average monthly arrival rate of 1,727 during the first five months of FY 2018 continues at the same pace for the final seven months of the fiscal year, total refugee admissions for the 12 months of the full fiscal year will be under 21,000, less than half the ceiling number of 45,000 President Trump announced in September.
The nine VOLAGs (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the International Rescue Committee, HIAS, Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Ethiopian Community Development Council, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (Catholic Charities), and World Relief), all of whom are almost entirely dependent on federal funding tied to the number of new refugee arrivals they resettle around the country through local affiliated agencies, are now in the midst of a cash crunch unheard of in the agency.
Consequently, they and their political allies are complaining loudly and often about both Trump’s lowered refugee ceiling admission number and the increase in the time and length of the Department of Homeland Security’s security vetting of potential refugees.
“As an organization that has dedicated itself to welcoming the stranger for over 75 years, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is deeply saddened by the Trump Administration’s decision to place additional restrictions on refugees who are seeking to be resettled in the United States,” the organization said in a statement released in October.
That sentiment has echoed throughout the refugee resettlement industry in the following months.
“HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community urge the Trump Administration to restart the refugee admissions program in both a secure and humane fashion,” Nezer added.