Refugee reports for your winter reading pleasure!

Someone asked me about refugee reports, and in this particular case where one could find information on welfare use by refugees.

Annual Reports to Congress

The best place that I know of for that information may be found in the Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Reports to Congress.  (Not to be confused with the reports submitted by the State Department in September in conjunction with the Presidential Determination for the next year.)

Annual Reports to Congress are very useful. In the FY2014 report ‘Public Benefit Utilization’ tables begin on page 105. See example below.

Annual reports are listed here.

Federal law requires that the reports be submitted to Congress within 4 months of the close of the previous fiscal year.  So unless ORR has failed to update its website, they are now behind for FY2015 (and if they don’t get that one done by the end of January 2017, they will be two years behind!).

There was a point a few years ago (and we wrote about it often and loudly) that ORR was behind by as much as 3 years.  I did some research to see when they went off track with following the law and found out it was during Lavinia Limon’s tenure as the Director of ORR during the Clinton Administration.  What they apparently did during those years was to take the dates off of the covers, so you never really knew when it was actually submitted.  It might say FY1987 (oops typo supposed to be 1997), but with no date for its delivery to Congress.

But the fact that they were so far off also highlighted the fact that Congress clearly did not care whether they were on time.

See here that Senator Jeff Sessions and Rep. Marsha Blackburn did ultimately go after ORR in late 2015 to force the agency to comply with the law.

So go to the Annual Reports and you will find welfare use for refugees.  However, I want you to see page 112 at the end of FY2014 and understand that the reports for such things as welfare use are based on a small sample number of present and former refugees who are able to be found and who are willing to admit to welfare use!

Frankly, there should be a requirement to obtain that data from local welfare agencies, thus forcing local social service agencies to keep track of refugee ‘clients.’

One more thing, since only keeps data back to 2002, you can go back to extensive tables at the end of older annual reports.  That is how I found all this information about Somali resettlement all the way back to the beginning.

Proposed refugee admissions for coming year report to Congress

The annual reports I mentioned above are done after the fact, while this report (which is still pretty useful) is sent to Congress usually in the month of September and informs Congress of what the President plans for the upcoming fiscal year.  See the most recent one here.

ORR’s Key Indicators

This is a relatively new report and I don’t know if ORR has ever done more than maybe two of these.  But, the purpose was to identify states that have the best situation (vis-a-vis social services) for refugeesHere I told readers about how if your state expanded Medicaid, you had a better shot at getting more refugees. This report also tracks secondary migration something that I was told was not done way back in 2007 when I started writing about the Refugee Admissions Program (RAP).

Key Indicators for FY2014 is here.

Congressional Research Service Reports

I have not read the latest one issued just a few weeks ago, but these CRS Reports by Andorra Bruno have been very useful in the past.  See the most recent one by clicking here.

General Accounting Office Reports

There is a really good (useful) GAO Report issued in July 2012 which was commissioned by then Senator Richard Lugar entitled, ‘Greater Consultation with Community Stakeholders Could Strengthen Program.’

Go here to see that report.

I think there are more reports, but that is all my old brain can remember at the moment.  Will add more if you know of more!

Example of a table found near the end of the FY2014 Annual Report to Congress linked above (be sure to read the note under the table!). After 5 years 60% of refugees were still on Food Stamps!



I have a category here at RRW entitled ‘Where to find information’ but it is huge and pretty unwieldy now, but ambitious readers might want to scroll through some of the material archived there.

ORR Annual Reports to Congress are very useful

Someone asked me today where to find the number of refugees who were resettled in each state in the US over the years and it reminded me that we have many many new readers every day who are just beginning to try to get a handle on how the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program works.

Annual Report to Congress
Most recent Annual Report to Congress

Very useful documents are the Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Reports to Congress*** which are full of all sorts of data, not just the statistics on how many refugees were resettled in your state, but they include data on welfare use, employment, housing, and medical assistance, among other things.

They also include reports from the VOLAGs (the federal contractors) and discussions of special problems that some refugee populations encounter here. And, of course there is information about the myriad grants these contractors receive each year.

I can’t say it enough, but knowledge is power.  If you want to begin to understand what is happening in your towns and cities, start by looking at one of these documents.

Click here for a list of available reports.

By the way, the Refugee Act of 1980 specifies that this report should be completed and sent to Congress by the end of January following the close of the fiscal year.  Thus, the 2015 Annual Report should be available, but they are behind in producing it.

So what else is new! At one point a few years ago, they were three years behind!

For new readers we have a category entitled ‘where to find information,’ and you might want to have a look at it from time to time.

P.S.  I just spent a few minutes examining Table 1 (of the Appendix) in the FY2009 Annual Report where it cataloged how many refugees and from what countries were resettled in each state between 1983 and 2009. Wow! Amazing!

***This is not to be confused with another report to Congress that accompanies the President’s proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.  That report also has much useful data but is not as comprehensive as the reports found here.


Office of Refugee Resettlement finally gets around to releasing 2014 report to Congress

Back to our daily grind (after yesterday’s record-breaking day)—working to educate you about the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program….

Annual Report to Congress
Annual Report to Congress

The law says that the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement must get their Annual  Report to Congress out by January 31st of the year following the close of the fiscal year.  The fiscal year closes on September 31st, so the Annual Report for 2104 was over a year overdue when it was released a few days ago.

Their flagrant lawbreaking is nothing new and at one point a few years ago they were THREE years behind.  Until recently no one in Congress said boo!

Senator Jeff Sessions and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (and others) here in December 2015 did write to the Secretary of the Dept. of Health and Human Services demanding the 2014 report.  But, you should know that ORR is now behind (as of January 31, 2016) in producing 2015!

There are only a couple of reasons for the lawbreaking—incompetence, or they are hiding information until it is out of date.

Go here to read about the 2014 Report and follow links to the entire report. (Hat tip: Joanne) If you take the time to review it, you will see it is a treasure-trove of information for anyone wishing to learn more about how the refugee program effects you and your city (and the nation!).

Bob Carey
That is the Director of ORR Bob Carey (on right and responsible for the report) campaigning on the prevention of refugee suicides. He came over to ORR from a lucrative job as a federal resettlement contractor. Photo:

I haven’t had time to open it, but the best sections are the statistics on refugee welfare use etc. (always shocking!).

Go here to see the list of annual reports going back decades.

For energetic researchers:  Do you know how the interactive data base, here, only goes back to 2002?  Well, using these reports you can go all the way back to the first one for 1980 and get statistics on who came to your state, etc.  I wrote this 2008 post on how many Somalis the US admitted every year by going back through those annual reports.

Are you a new reader?

For all of the new readers who arrived here this week, we have a category entitled ‘where to find information’ with hundreds of posts where we cataloged reports and documents and so forth.  I also recommend our fact sheet (a little out of date) and our Frequently Asked Questions both of which are linked in our header.

About the photo:  Why are refugees committing suicides?  They have found out that America’s streets are not paved with gold. Some have a very tough time transitioning to American life and they miss their culture, their homes.  I wonder if the do-gooders ever consider that they may not being doing the humanitarian thing by ripping people from their cultures so they can become the cheap labor force, for example, BIG MEAT.