In my previous post I told you about the reality setting in in Arizona, and now we see that New England refugee contractors are facing that reality too and cutting staff, or shortening hours.
I am delighted to see more effort being made on the part of reporters to get their facts.
Here at WBUR News (NPR Boston) reporter Shannon Dooling actually did some work (emphasis is mine)!
Look at this, right up front—refugee agencies paid by the head!
Refugee resettlement agencies receive funding based on the number of people they anticipate resettling, so the uncertainty around President Trump’s travel ban has serious fiscal consequences. [They are paid by how many they actually resettle as they bid for bodies.—ed]
Jeff Thielman is the CEO of the International Institute of New England, a resettlement agency working in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. His agency expects eight refugees to arrive by March 28.
“It means that we have not filled a number of positions that were open in all three of our offices in the resettlement area,” he said. “It also means that we may have to make further reductions. We’re going to make those decisions in the next few weeks.”
Ascentria Care Alliance, a resettlement agency based in Worcester and operating in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, announced Monday that as a result of Trump’s travel ban it had laid off or reduced hours for 14 employees.
“Although the orders have been stayed, even the most recent one, we are no longer receiving any refugees in the pipeline and we don’t anticipate receiving any more refugees until maybe four to six months out at the earliest,” said Jodie Justofin, Ascentria’s vice president of communications.
For new readers, see that in 2013, Ascentria’s CEO admitted that refugee resettlement IS A BUSINESS!
Despite that temporary freeze, the finances of resettlement agencies are still unstable. But a return to pre-Trump quotas could boost their coffers.
Before he left office, President Obama capped the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. during the current fiscal year at 110,000. Resettlement agencies engineered their budgets through September based on those projections. [If they did that it was really really dumb because that (110,000) was by far the highest ceiling proposed since before 9/11. The average for most of Bush and Obama years was 65,000.—ed]
President Trump cut that cap on refugees to 50,000. That’s an action within the powers of the executive.
But since Trump’s cap is part of an executive order, the constitutionality of which is under question, Boston immigration attorney Kerry Doyle says the quota may be challenged in the courts.
Ha! Wishful thinking?
“While the president does have broad authority to set the fiscal numbers, because it’s caught up in a lot of the other problems with this executive order being potentially unconstitutional, the question is whether the 50,000 is also stayed,” Doyle said.
Doyle confirms what we said that Trump did not have to reduce the CEILING or slow the flow through an Executive Order.
And Ms. Doyle does know that the judge can’t order the federal government to spend money and send agents abroad to process refugees. It would be insane if Trump’s people believed that! They should just go ahead and keep the numbers low (or at today’s level, see right hand sidebar, 38,111) ignoring the judge’s unconstitutional assertion.
I want to reiterate another point I have been making. The resettlement agencies (aka contractors) are in a pickle because they have been running a kind of Ponzi scheme where they anticipate certain refugee numbers (paying clients) coming in in the future, but they never have enough private money in their budgets to tide them over if the flow slows. Why? I can only guess they have been operating for so long on mostly federal funding that they have gotten too lazy to do private fundraising.
Or, there aren’t enough private citizens willing to pay for refugee resettlement!