SALT LAKE CITY / AP
Refugee resettlement organizations are bracing for significant funding cuts and possible layoffs over the coming months during President Donald Trump’s temporary refugee ban.
The agencies receive a certain amount of federal dollars per refugee they help resettle, which means they would lose a key source of funding unless the Trump administration provides funds in the interim during the 120-day temporary halt to refugees entering the US.
Catholic Charities USA says the executive order will cost the organization millions of dollars and put at risk about 700 jobs out of the 54,000 jobs at its agencies around the country, according to spokeswoman Patricia Cole.
The group launched an $8 million fundraising campaign this week to help replace the funding it expects to lose during the four-month moratorium.
Catholic Charities agencies resettled roughly 23,000 of the nearly 85,000 refugees that entered the U.S. last year, Cole said. Most of them were women and children.
It is one of nine agencies that handle refugee resettlement. Another agency, International Rescue Committee is asking its donors to help raise $5 million to ensure its 29 offices around the country can continue to support refugees already here.
Making matters worse for agencies is that President Barack Obama’s administration told resettlement organizations to staff up in anticipation of an increase in refugees this year, said Mark Hetfield, president of HIAS, formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
The organization resettled nearly 4,200 refugees last year and was expecting nearly 4,800 this year, he said. Hetfield said agencies receive a set amount of $2,075 per refugee for initial reception and placement. The amounts organizations get after depends on many different factors.
“We’re not going to be able to keep staff on over several months if the funding disappears,” Hetfield said. “If they really are serious about this continuing, they’ll have to provide some kind of infrastructure support so our staff can survive the pause.”
Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, which includes Detroit and suburbs, said it laid off four people in January from the refugee program, leaving a staff of 10.