The revolving door and why there likely won’t be an investigation in Bowling Green

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?

Oh, one more question, does anyone know why USCRI grants are not listed on USA   If anyone finds it, please send it my way.

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.

14 thoughts on “The revolving door and why there likely won’t be an investigation in Bowling Green

  1. HI,
    I just wanted to say that I am a Bosnian refugee who lived in Bowling Green KY for 8 years. My family and I first moved to Spokane WA through World Relief and after living there for a year we moved to Bowling Green. Bowling Green International Center made me sick to my stomach with the way they treated refugees. Even though most of the employees there are my own people I didn’t want to deal with them. They made my family and I retake all of our shots needed to apply for Green Card after we brought in sealed envelopes with all of our medical stuff from WA. Luckily my English was very good so I questioned everything. I went to the Health Department and gave the nurse my medical history asking for shots needed to apply for Green Card and that’s when the nurse informed me that I was super up to date with all my shots. My whole family went to get their shots with an interpreter from the International Center and they all had to get a shot each (God knows what kind of shot). The main reason behind this was so the International Center can collect the ‘filling fee’ for the Green Card and the interpreter services. A lot of friends and family asked me to interpret for them if they had a doctor visit, delivering a baby, unemployment filing, medicaid filing and I would do it but then one day I started being told that if I was not associated with the International Center I couldn’t interpret. So what happened here is that people from the International Center contacted all the major agencies in town and convinced them that anybody interpreting and not associated with the IC is not truthful and they should not use their services. But the real truth was that IC interpreters collected state funds for interpreting plus the fees they would charge innocent people who were struggling with English. I avoided International Center for years until the time came for me to apply for my citizenship. I told my parents that I was going to apply for my American Citizenship and after they realized that my intention was to apply online, or print my application online and mail it myself they started telling me that I will never get an appointment because the International Center told them that the only way you can apply for citizenship is to go through them. They have to give you an application, they fill it out for you and they will get you new copies of all the documents you need and if you try going any other way it won’t work. I was speechless! I told my parents that they were full of s@@t and I was going to do it my way. I have had my citizenship for almost 3 years now. I graduated from WKU with a B. S. in Business Economics and currently work for a worldly known hospital. Oh did I mention that I no longer live in Bowling Green? Yep, I moved 3.5 hours away looking for a better future and representing my culture and my background in the best way possible. All of the stories I have read here about Bowling Green and Bosnians are unfortunately true but I have to say that not all Bosnians are bad. Bowling Green is populated with Bosnian Gypsies and Albanians who are prone to violence and the actual Bosnians who cause trouble are the ones from very very rural areas in Bosnia and unfortunately the life in US (very modern country in the world) didn’t teach them anything.
    Oh by the way, I was told that the reason why there are so many Bosnians in Bowling Green is because some 15 years ago Bowling Green wanted to become a metro so they accepted refugees to increase their population and that’s why the International Center was set up. Who knows what’s true and what’s not. One honest truth here is that I cannot thank enough to whomever brought me here because I created a wonderful life for myself without anybody’s help, not government, not parents, not international center. I live your typical American life: pay taxes (most people don’t believe that), pay student loans, got my first FHA mortgage all on my own, live with my boyfriend before marriage (who is by the way American because I couldn’t stand dating Bosnian guys in Bowling Green), got two adorable cats, and love my job.


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