Regardless of opinion, here are three practical implications for refugee resettlement agencies when numbers of refugees brought to the US are reduced or the flow is stopped.
Based on a conversation I had today with a resettlment organization in Atlanta…I am sure there are many more issues they face.
1. Reduced Funding: Orgs receive funding based on the number of refugees they settle. The US was slated to receive 110,000 refugees this year. That number has been reduced to 50,000 – where it was roughly 5 years ago (i have been told but not confirmed.)Last year we resettled 85,000 refugees.
2. Downsizing: Reduced funding naturally leads to letting go staff such as caseworkers. One resettlement group in Atlanta told me today they expect to lay off half their office (10 people) due to the 4 month hiatus and reduction in the number of refugees to be resettled. An estimated loss of $240,000 to their budget.
3. Rehiring or Training New Employees: When the refugee highway is opened again, these groups will likely have to rehire or train new employees to handle new cases. Experienced personnel may have found jobs by the time the spigot is turned back on.
At the end of the day, it’s about how best to help those fleeing war and persecution, not what is best for aide or relief organizations. Even so, decisions affect not only those in need of help, but the many wonderful people and organizations set up to help them.
Just something to consider. If you’re looking to hire people with cross cultural experience, maybe call up a refugee organization having to do layoffs. Or just call them up and thank them for what they do.