The program is grinding to a halt until possibly the end of the month. Church World Service (one of nine US State Department contractors) says some refugees may be delayed for three months.
Here is the news (emphasis mine) from the Journal-Courier which begins with a sad tale (and intersperses sad tales in between the news-worthy bits):
Now more than 2 weeks old, the shutdown forced the U.S. State Department to suspend most refugee arrivals and enact a travel moratorium, partly because the financial, medical and federal benefits or services aren’t available in some areas to help newcomers from Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Bhutan and a host of other countries, officials said.
Although most expect Congress to reach an agreement to reopen the government, resettlement won’t restart until at least Oct. 28 — and even then, the shutdown’s cascading effect on complex approval, documentation and travel logistics will delay many arrivals for months.
The shutdown “really has a domino effect,” said Darko Mihaylovich, director of Louisville’s Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services.
The Obama Administration had just announced on October 1 the goal of resettling 70,000 more refugees in FY2014, see here. Some delays might be as long as three months!
In Kentucky, October arrivals have been canceled across the commonwealth — 40 in Louisville, 19 in Lexington and 14 in Bowling Green and Owensboro — according to local and state resettlement officials.
Church World Service, one of a handful of federally approved resettlement agencies, reported that nearly half of the refugees under its authority, initially cleared for travel in October, will be delayed as long as three months.
Refugees here already shouldn’t worry yet—-they will still have their welfare benefits.
For the refugees already resettled in Louisville, help is still available. Mihaylovich said state aid such as food stamps and other aid have continued in Kentucky so far.
The shutdown has prevented some refugees from getting Social Security cards, which they need to obtain work permits.
Oh no! Since “non-profit” resettlement contractors are paid by the head to resettle refugees, they might have to use their own money while times are tight! Kentucky Refugee Ministries is a subcontractor of Church World Service.
Kaznak [Elizabeth Kaznak, executive director] of Kentucky Refugee Ministries said Kentucky Refugee Ministries, which operates on a tight budget, is having to use reserves to continue to pay caseworkers and provide services, partly because the shutdown has kept the agency from getting the federal reimbursement of $750 per arrival budgeted for October.
Maria Koerner, assistant director of the Kentucky Office for Refugees, said the shutdown has delayed disbursement of some of the $9 million in federal funding Kentucky gets annually to help pay for cash assistance and medical help for new arrivals, but so far it’s not harming services.
Check out Kentucky Refugee Ministries recent Form 990 (here). They took in $3.7 million (rounded number) in revenue in 2011. $3.3 million of that came from GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS while only $290,000 appears to have been privately raised (see p. 9). Just a reminder: these were supposed to be public-private partnerships when the refugee law was first enacted, not quasi-government agencies.
On page 10 we learn that they paid out $1.6 million for salaries and benefits. Office expenses and rent came out to approximately $285,000. So we can see things will be tight if the federal government (the taxpayer!) pipeline continues to slow.
Sure, looks like they don’t have much of a private reserve to fall back on.