Refugee caps ordered by Trump are resulting in job loss and charity closures

The Washington Post is reporting on how the fallout from Trump’s executive order is affecting church-run refugee resettlement programs. World Relief, an evangelical-run organization that is one of nine which work with the United Nations, is cutting 140 jobs and closing five of its centers, calling it “a direct result of the recent decision by the Trump Administration.”

Episcopal Migration Ministries is one of those nine affected.

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program combines partial funding from the federal government to cover the costs of resettling new refugees with money raised by nonprofit agencies. Most of the agencies are religious, including World Relief and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which raise funding from donors and churches and organize volunteers.

For instance, the Episcopal Migration Ministries was expecting $14.2 million from the U.S. State Department and $6.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services, according to spokeswoman Kendall Martin, and they are working to raise private support. On Feb. 8, Martin said, the Episcopal Church’s executive council gave the agency $500,000 to provide a financial bridge during Trump’s ban.

In 2015, World Relief received about $42 million in government grants, which made up nearly three quarters of the ministry’s total revenue of $62 million, according to the ministry’s latest available Internal Revenue Service filings. It will shutter offices in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami; Nashville; and Glen Burnie, Md.

Trump’s capping of refugee intake at 50,000, rather than 110,000, is a major factor. And the job loss goes deeper than able bodies.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in a statement that the layoffs will impact many staff members who brought specific expertise to helping refugees. For instance, many of their employees speak languages not widely spoken. “This represents a loss of more than 140 jobs — which by itself is deeply troubling — but also decades of organizational expertise and invaluable capacity to serve the world’s most vulnerable people.” Breene said.

Photo: World Relief Spokane

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  1. Bill Louis

    Well, you could channel your efforts to help homeless vets and those with PTSD. How about poor children without families or the hungry. There’s plenty of work right here at home.

    • Jay Croft

      That’s a rather cavalier response, Bill.

      The issues of homeless veterans and those with PTSD require a lot of agency involvement, government regulations and in the case of PTSD, professional help that most of us are not qualified to give.

      Housing and caring for refugees, on the other hand, is something that many churches can do. Providing cooking utensils, food, teaching English–all these are more possible at the congregational and individual level.

  2. Bill Louis

    Jeff, I guess this doesn’t count as government involvement:
    “For instance, the Episcopal Migration Ministries was expecting $14.2 million from the U.S. State Department and $6.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services”
    In addition the Episcopal Church Executive Council gave the agency $500,000.
    As a vet I believe we take care of our own first. I guess we don’t live in the same tent.

    • David Allen

      As a vet I believe we take care of our own first.

      As a disciple of Christ, I am called to a different ethic, to not be a respector of persons, but to help everyone.

    • Bruce G. Kozak

      Many of our Veterans have been asked and many have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Our resources need to take them in consideration first before others individuals are considered. We step over the homeless and disabled veteran ever day while taking in and meeting the needs of the refugee first. It is a national and spiritual disgrace.

      • David Allen

        34 “The King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for those whom you deem to be your own first, rather than one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

  3. Bruce G. Kozak

    And at this point, “one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” are our forgotten men and women in uniform, who served this country with distinction and without complaint or reservation. It appears that they have been overlooked by the many who they have served. I am probably woefully unaware of the programs that have been provided by the Episcopal Church to help our veterans. Please let me know what are these programs, so I can support them.

    • Gregory Orloff

      Simply Google “Episcopal veterans ministries” and “Episcopal Wounded Warriors project,” and you’ll find many links online to just what many Episcopal dioceses and parishes are doing to help veterans in need, while still managing to find the wherewithal to the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters in the form of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the homeless, the sick and the jailed, in whom he told us we would find him.

      • Bruce G. Kozak

        Thank you for this information. It is much appreciated.

  4. Norman Hutchinson

    I am baffled by some of these responses. Helping those in need is not a zero-sum game.

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