Mormon church is getting on the refugee resettlement bandwagon
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 19, 2016
But, they aren’t a resettlement contractor (yet!).
I previously told you about the Mormon donation to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, here. And, now here is more news (a puff piece) about contributions to the other eight contractors featuring Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. I can only assume the Mormon church has run out of poor Americans to help as they are moving on to helping what is becoming a massive flow of needy Muslims from the Middle East and Africa entering the US.
When I read this story at Utah’s Deseret News, my first thought was to wonder if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was actually ultimately angling to become a resettlement contractor in order to receive lucrative government grants.
The nine contractors*** working for the federal government have a monopoly on the program at the moment. Are the Mormons attempting to buy good will?
In order to break in to the club, to become a contractor, an organization must prove it has experience with the program. Is that what is happening here as we learn that the Mormons are being trained by LIRS in this case?
For new readers, the contractors are paid by the head to resettle the refugees and representatives of the nine meet in DC weekly to divvy-up the refugee cases coming in (they bid for bodies as one of our most astute observers quips). Do the Mormons want in?
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A flash flood of Mormon volunteers was a spring surprise for Lutherans who run refugee resettlement organizations in 25 U.S. states.
Motivated by statements of church leaders encouraging them to help refugees, the influx of Mormons prompted resettlement centers of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to add volunteer training sessions in places like South Carolina, Colorado and Arizona.
On Tuesday, the budding relationship expanded again, as LIRS leaders visited Salt Lake City and received a check for $130,000 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church also pledged an additional $520,000 in commodities such as food and mattresses. [I would really like to understand this mattress thing because there were mattresses involved somehow in the resettlement that happened in my MD county back in 2007!—ed]
“We’ve been chomping at the bit on building this relationship, which is evolving on two levels,” said Linda Hartke, president and CEO of LIRS. “On the local level, we’re seeing greater interest and more volunteers coming forward.
Tuesday’s donation was part of $5 million in cash and commodities the LDS Church has pledged to the nine U.S. refugee resettlement agencies, which operate over 300 affiliates helping newly arrived refugees settle into local communities.
In August, the church gave $2 million to the two resettlement agencies that work in Utah — $1.25 million to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and $750,000 to the International Rescue Committee.
On Monday, church officials will travel to the East Coast to give $2.35 million to the remaining six resettlement agencies.
If you are a Mormon and not thrilled with importing more unvetted Muslims from Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Burma (Esar Met!), you might want to start speaking up at church.
These are the nine members of the federal resettlement contractor club. If the Mormons are trying to break in, I’m going to love reporting on the battle.
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)