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Across the United States this year, two dozen resettlement offices, which are partially funded by the federal government, will be shuttered. Dozens more are being downsized.
The closing of offices receiving fewer than 100 refugees per year, first reported by Reuters, were directed by the U.S. State Department in response to sharp cutbacks in the number of refugees accepted by the United States under President Donald Trump.
The closure of the offices will make it more difficult for recently arrived refugees to become productive members of their new communities, refugee advocates say. This runs counter to the Trump administration’s stated desire for refugees to assimilate quickly, both to promote national security and to hasten self-sufficiency.
The article goes on to state the following:
Generally, refugees are eligible for at least a month of intense case management and about $1,000 in cash assistance from the government. After that, they can receive up to five more years of services at the centers, including help navigating immigration matters, healthcare, and school enrollment. Half-a-dozen Garden City refugees interviewed by Reuters said the assistance made their transitions far smoother.
Critics of the U.S. refugee program, including Trump, say government resources are better spent helping refugees abroad, nearer their original homes.
According to the article, the main obstacle for these resettled refugees is finding a job. In Garden City, Kansas, a number of refugees are being helped to find work. However, the refugee center which is helping them land jobs and adapt to American life, run by the non-profit International Rescue Committee (IRC), is closing in September. Its closure will reportedly leave refugees in the area without “a key source of support as they start their new lives.” Therefore the center is scrambling to get the refugees placed in jobs.
The loss of the refugee center is also concerning for employers, local businesses and government offices in the area who rely on the center to assist in the town of 26,000 residents when cultural or communication problems arise.
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