Please note before reading: Anyone wishing to set the record straight or challenge my assertions regarding this information, you are welcome and I will post your comments and corrections (no foul language and no name-calling, just the FACTS).
This morning I had intended to work on a post I’ve been procrastinating on for the last ten days—a post on Targeted Assistance—when I came across something much more interesting. I must admit those posts on the refugee program, although of critical importance to our stated mission of informing the public about how the refugee resettlement program works, can be pretty boring. So, if I find something more interesting—like what crimes the Somalis are up to, or stories on refugee neglect—I procrastinate on those posts about bureacracy. I will do the Targeted Assistance post later, but this is much more intriguing and is related to one of the most read stories we’ve had recently—the mess in Bowling Green, KY.
This is what I have learned—nearly 3 months late! First, awhile back I reported that Lavinia Limon, now head honcho of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) had headed the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Dept. of Health and Human Services (the agency that passes out the bucks to the non-profits)—the revolving door between government and the supposed private sector in action!
Checking some recent Form 990’s for USCRI, I see in their most recent one on record, here, that USCRI got $22,136,689 from the federal government out of total ‘contributions’of $23,138,672. That makes them around 95% federally funded! I thought these were supposed to be public-private partnerships! Where is the private part?
In that same year they passed through $14,514,962 to their subcontractors (you will see the amounts at the end of that Form 990 I’ve linked). One of those subcontractors is the Western Kentucky Refugee Mutual Assistance Assoc. (aka the Bowling Green International Center). I told you in my first post on October 25th that I didn’t know why they needed two names. But, then consider that USCRI itself has had at least 3 names! What is up with that?
The revolving door continues….and why the questionable circumstances in Bowling Green will likely be swept under the rug!
This is what I’ve learned 3 months late, the former Vice President of USCRI is now head of the funding source for refugee programs—the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, appointed USCRI VP Eskinder Negash to that post in August. Eskinder Negash would have overseen the expenditure of federal tax money that passed through USCRI to its affiliate the Bowling Green International Center!
So what do you think the chances are that USCRI and the Bowling Green International Center will ever be investigated on the charges that the refugees are not being well-cared for?
A question for the US State Department: Since you put out the Operational Guidance that agencies must follow when resettling refugees, who really runs this show? The State Department or Health and Human Services? I’m sure Mr. Negash is a very nice man, but can he really be objective in evaluating a program he ran prior to entering government service?
Endnotes: I searched RRW for Mr. Negash and see the only time we mentioned him was in relation to that horrible shooting in Binghamton, NY last spring, here.
Here he speaks to the staff and affiliates of ORR.
Also, I found it interesting that Ms. Limon and Mr. Negash both started their “refugee” careers at the International Institute of Los Angeles which is almost completely funded by taxpayers, here.
Under Ms. Limon’s and Mr. Negash’s management, USCRI was also overloaded (maxed out!) in Albany, here. That is in addition to the Waterbury, CT mismanagement, here, but at least the State Department stepped in to rectify that problem.