Refugee community concerned funds diverted to children stuck at border

Article author: 
Colleen O'Connor
Article publisher: 
The Denver Post
Article date: 
8 July 2014
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

People who help refugees in Colorado are concerned that their program funding may be diverted to help the unaccompanied children coming over the border, and the refugee community is taking action by visiting local politicians to lobby for their cause.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement — which funds a variety of programs including refugee assistance and the needs of unaccompanied child migrants — has proposed redirecting $94 million in funding from refugee programs to use for the humanitarian crisis of children coming across the borders.

The number of children this year has swamped projections, creating a funding shortfall, and in June the agency notified Congress that it must reduce refugee services.

Since then, the Obama administration has asked Congress to consider emergency supplemental appropriations including $3.7 billion to help the humanitarian situation ...

A delegation of about eight refugees recently visited the Aurora office of U.S.Rep. Mike Coffman.

"We explained that you cannot solve one crisis by creating another crisis," said Bhuwan Tyakurel, a community leader with the Global Bhutanese Community Colorado.

Coffman agrees.

"It would be wrong to divert any funding that is already dedicated to serving the African, Burmese, Bhutanese and Nepalese refugees in my district who are already in this country," he said via email ...

In Colorado, everyone from refugees to school districts could be impacted, according to an informal survey of conducted by local agencies that contract for refugee services ...

...about 500 refugee children each year will not receive in-school and after-school assistance with social adjustment and high school graduation goals. An estimated 1,500 refugees will not receive employment services and will likely be unemployed ...