US refugee program needs a complete overhaul

Article author: 
Mary Doetsch
Article publisher: 
Washington Examiner
Article date: 
April 25, 2018
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

... Undoubtedly, many individuals who work within the refugee field have humanitarian aims. But refugee resettlement has morphed into a numbers-driven, financially motivated business, growing blindly at the expense of the American public and our national security.

There once was a time when private charities, civic groups and faith-based organizations provided the bulk of funds and volunteers to resettle and help assimilate refugees in the United States. Today’s deeply flawed system relies almost exclusively on nine federal contractors (paradoxically referred to as “Voluntary Agencies” or VOLAGS) to resettle refugees.
The contractors have come to depend mostly on the U.S. taxpayer for their support. The VOLAGS receive between 57 percent to 99.5 percent of their funds from the federal government. Perhaps most troubling, top management typically receives salary and benefit packages in the mid-to-high six figures, ranging from $260,000 to more than $700,000 annually.
The contractors have a vested interest in processing ever-larger numbers of applicants, since they make money on every refugee settled. And as non-governmental organizations they can and do lobby for advantageous changes to law, something they could not do if they were government agencies. Their lobbying umbrella wields enormous influence over refugee admissions policy, pressuring Congress and the bureaucracy to increase admissions and provide ever greater funding. They stage political rallies, file lawsuits against unfavorable policies, and lobby for causes that coincidentally help their bottom lines, yet this linkage is rarely, if ever, mentioned....
Perhaps more disturbing than the actual fraud is the fact that this type of investigation is the exception rather than the norm. For decades, little heed has been paid to the extensive fraud inherent in the USRAP. As a former Refugee Coordinator who served throughout the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Cuba, I saw first-hand the flagrant abuses and scams that permeate the refugee program. I witnessed widespread exploitation and misuse, from identity fraud to marriage and family relation scams, and from private individuals profiting from their involvement in USRAP to distortion of the actual refugee definition to ensure greater numbers of people who should really just be migrants are admitted as refugees....


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