Sacramento to welcome large number of Syrians says resettlement contractor
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 2, 2015
There is nothing unexpected in this news article about the new CEO of ‘Opening Doors’ another resettlement agency contracted through Church World Service (one of nine major resettlement contractors working for the UN/US State Department), but I bring it to you because it makes some points we have been making lately.
Yes! They are contractors!
I had to laugh when I saw this line on their website. South Carolina readers will recall that when Asst. Sec. of State for PRM, Anne Richard, came to Spartanburg she said that they were not “CONTRACTORS,” but had signed “agreements.” Someone needs to tell ‘Opening Doors:’
Refugees come to us through our affiliate, Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program that is under contract to the United States Department of State.
First and foremost I was interested in the fact that Opening Doors (largely funded with taxpayer dollars)*** doesn’t just resettle refugees, but works with and for illegal aliens as well. That is a point I have been making lately. Many who want to see illegal immigration brought under control say “legal immigration is good,” but these groups we fund—like Opening Doors—are perfectly fine with promoting the rights of illegal migrants right along with their resettlement work that is paid for by you!
Here is the story from the Sacramento Bee:
Deborah Ortiz, a veteran public servant who spent years trying to help immigrants and refugees in Sacramento and the state, will soon be aiding hundreds of new Sacramentans fleeing violence or persecution in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and more than half a dozen other nations.
On Jan. 1, the former city council member, assemblywoman and state senator will take over as CEO of Opening Doors, a nonprofit agency that helps refugees, immigrants and human-trafficking survivors achieve self-sufficiency through job training, small-business loans and access to legal and social services. Last year, the agency served more than 650 immigrants and refugees and helped resettle 423. It also assisted 94 human-trafficking survivors.
Since 2011, when the Syrian conflict started, 1,500 Syrians have been resettled nationwide. Sacramento ranks third in the nation among cities receiving them. Since April, Opening Doors, one of several resettlement agencies here, has resettled 25. [97% of those arriving in FY2015 are Muslims, does Church World Service not advocate for persecuted Christians? Guess not!—ed]
Is Opening Doors keeping a huge chunk of the refugees cash?
Then this (below) gave me pause. Refugees are given cash by the federal government in the amount of $1,975 per person and the contractor usually pockets around $800 of it (per refugee) for their overhead (they are paid by the head for their work, thus they have every incentive to never slow the flow).
Does this mean that Opening Doors is pocketing an even bigger chunk?
Note again, that the contractor’s job is to sign the refugees up for their welfare goodies. You can be sure that no matter how hard they wish it, the refugees are NOT “independent” in three months as they claim.
Refugees receive $925 in federal funding for the first 30 days. It helps pay for setting up their households, food, housing and nominal expenses. Their refugee status many help them qualify for other income-based public assistance programs including cash assistance, Medi-Cal, and CalFresh (food stamps) for up to eight months for adults without dependent children. Families with children are eligible to receive benefits for four years.
Opening Doors supports them for three months from the date of arrival in Sacramento. The agency enrolls refugees in ESL classes, human services and employment services to help them to become independent at the end of the three months.
Maybe it’s the reporter’s fault, but someone needs to see if this contractor is keeping a big chunk of the refugees’ cash.
*** Here is Opening Doors’ most recently available Form 990. They are a $1.3 million a year business with just about $1 million coming from your wallets.
Endnote: An Iraqi refugee wrote this criticism of Opening Doors in 2010.
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