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Process PRM used for increasing funding for refugee resettlement

The State Department's PRM recently went ahead, in the middle of this worst recession on record, and doubled resettlement and placement (R&P) per capita funding to the private refugee resettlement agencies. A PRM official said that the increase was done based on new funding that was available as well as on a cost-analysis study (The Real Cost of Welcome) done by one of the non-profit recipients of the increase - Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS).


Aside from the obvious conflict of interest in a private agency doing the cost-analysis for the State Department, for which that agency would directly benefit by overstating their own costs and understating the State Department's costs, there is the issue of the PRM making these decisions with no input from the public. Our group, Friends of Refugees, an independent refugee group with no vested interests, wasn't even consulted.


The entire process was closed and secretive, and the first time the public heard about the issue was once funding had already been authorized. These critical funding decisions need to be made with public input and not be based on consultation that is mainly done with the potential recipients of the State Department contracts.


I propose that the decision to double R&P funding be opened up to the public to comment, that groups other than the grant recipients be invited to participate, that the President receive the refugee program reform proposals from the NSC before the PRM moves forward, that government documents related to PRM refugee resettlement funding be posted for the public to view, that the PRM posts figures from the resettlement agencies showing how much of their resettlement costs are paid by the government and how much is paid for privately, that the PRM announce when funding increases will be decided and allow time for public input, that public meetings be held in all refugee resettlement sites around the country to allow the public to offer suggestions and opinions, etc.



4 votes
Idea No. 17