Industry news: Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services President to resign Tuesday

Although this is probably not news for most insiders in the refugee resettlement industry, we just learned about it yesterday.    Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr who had been President of one of the largest of the monopolistic  Top Ten federal government contracting resettlement agencies since 1991 said back in April, here, that he was resigning with some gobbledegook about the intersection of  ‘one’s joy and the world’s need shifting.’   Huh?   Maybe he figured out that his agency has a terrible track record when it comes to caring for refugees it resettles and he wants out.  Who knows?

For whatever reason, it sounds like he is saying it stinks working at LIRS.

Ralston H. Deffenbaugh Jr., president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) since 1991, will resign from his post Sept. 1. According to an LIRS news release, Deffenbaugh, 57, said the “organization needs new gifts of leadership.”

“As LIRS president I have always understood myself as standing on the able, solid shoulders of all those who have gone before me,” Deffenbaugh said. “I believe that my gifts have been well used in my tenure at LIRS, that the agency has grown to a degree that no one could have imagined 18 years ago, and that it is now time for a new kind of imagination to light the way. I’ve long been influenced by the adage that our calling is the intersection between our joy and the world’s need. For me and for LIRS, that intersection has shifted.”

During his tenure, LIRS and its partners have resettled more than 100,000 refugees, many from Africa (including the “Lost Boys” from Sudan), Burma, and Bhutan. The organization has revived the international system of resettlement and care for unaccompanied refugee children through collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Deffenbaugh helped form the Refugee Council USA*, which focuses on refugee protection, and served as its first chairperson from 2000 to 2001. He is the longest-serving head of LIRS since its founding in 1939.

LIRS was one of the five government contracting resettlement agencies in that White House meeting two weeks ago here.   LIRS has obviously joined up with powerful unions (SEIU among them!), big businesses looking to keep wages low, and advocacy groups wanting to wipe out our borders altogether.   Maybe this guy got a conscience. I know wishful thinking!

For more on egregious refugee care cases use our search function for ‘Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services’ and see how many times they have come up in the last couple of years.

*Refugee Council USA is a consortium of refugee industry groups that get together to multiply their power in Washington.  I wrote about them here when they sent a report to Obama asking him to double the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the US for 2010.   Of course at least half of those we are bringing now are unemployed and living on various forms of welfare.   By the way, it won’t be long before we know what the refugee ceiling for FY2010 will be when Obama sends his Presidential determinination letter to Congress.  The new fiscal year begins October 1.

5 thoughts on “Industry news: Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services President to resign Tuesday

  1. Maybe you could ask Rallie if he is proud of all the refugee neglect under his leadership. How about the refugees in Utica that talked a year ago about how their LIRS affiliate neglected them, treated them with a lack of compassion, and humiliated them? The refugees said they had little food in their first weeks, were not allowed to have their federal ID cards, and that the LIRS agency would not help to enroll their children in school. The refugees said that the only volunteers that helped them came from outside the LIRS agency, and that the LIRS agency workers became angry with them and made them feel frightened for accepting that assistance.


  2. I can answer that for myself right now. You will have to ask those people overseas who helped process those individuals of whom you speak. I have never helped anyone fill out paperwork to come to the United States. I am not sure what an “illegal Somali” is and I have not seen personally seen any “multiple wives disguised as other relatives”. Ann, you take a story and extrapolate it across the entire refugee program. There is no validity in that.


    1. So your agency doesn’t do any immigration paperwork (e.g. family reunification forms) for your refugee clients? You must be the only one that doesn’t.


    1. Actually, you can ask him a question, this is for you too. Does he (or you) have any remorse about knowingly helping (by filling out their paperwork) to bring illegal Somalis into the country in the P-3 family reunification program? Or, any qualms about also bringing in multiple wives disguised as other relatives?


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