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State Letter #04-19

Published: October 25, 2004


FROM:  Nguyen Van Hanh, Ph.D.
Office of Refugee Resettlement 

SUBJECT:  Data Collection: ORR-11 (Refugee State-of-Origin Report)

It is time again to prepare for the annual submission of the ORR-11 (Refugee State-of-Origin Report). The report is due on January 5, 2005, reflecting secondary migration during the 36-month period that ended September 30, 2004.

As in previous years, each State must submit the documentation it used to determine the number of secondary migrants claimed. The supporting documentation for secondary migrants must list all secondary migrants (including refugees, entrants, and Amerasians) who have resided in the U.S. for 36 months or less and who are residents of the State on September 30. The documentation may include persons drawn from State public assistance rolls, social service provider case files, Mutual Assistance Association (MAA) lists, and other organizations. The State must remove all duplicates from its documentation. As in past years, we request that each State submit its documentation in an Excel-compatible E-file rather than through paper documentation. The E-file should include the full name, the SSN, and the date of arrival in the U.S. Please submit this file to Ella Hayes at the following E-mail address: EHayes@acf.hhs.gov. States without this capability should contact Loren Bussert at (202) 401-4732..

As in past years, we have included FAQs to assist State Coordinators in the preparation of this form.

Question: How does ORR use this report?

Answer: The Refugee Assistance Amendments of 1982 amended the Refugee Act (section 412(a)(3)) directing ORR to compile and maintain data on the secondary migration of refugees within the U.S. for the purpose of adjusting the formula social service grants. ORR developed the ORR-11 and the current method of estimation in 1983 in response to this directive.

The method of estimating secondary migration is based on the first three digits of social security numbers which the Social Security Administration assigns geographically in blocks by State. With the assistance of their sponsors, almost all arriving refugees apply for social security numbers immediately upon arrival in the U.S. Therefore, the first three digits of a refugee's SSN are a good indicator of his or her initial State of residence in the U.S. If a refugee currently residing in California, for example, has a social security number that begins with the digits "530", we would consider him as having moved from his State of initial resettlement in Nevada to current residence in California.

ORR first examines the documentation accompanying the ORR-11 and compares these data with our ORR Refugee Arrivals Database. After removing duplicates, we then record each ORR-11 on a 50 x 50 State matrix, which allows us to track migration from State to State. For example, New Hampshire's ORR-11 report indicates how many people have migrated into New Hampshire from other States. The reports from other States—when combined—indicate how many people have migrated out of New Hampshire into other States.

The matrix of all possible pairs of in- and out-migration between States can be summarized into a total migration figure for each State. This number—positive for States with net in-migration, negative for States with net out-migration—is then combined with the State's arrival number for the past three years, as computed from ORR's refugee database, to determine the State's proportion of social service formula funds. For example, suppose a State identifies 500 in-migrants on its ORR-11 while other States identify a total of 750 out-migrants from this State on their ORR-11s . The net-migration of this State (-250) is then added to its gross arrival number (2,000) to produce its total three-year arrival population (1,750) for the social services formula.

Question: The ORR-11 reflects data as of September 30. Does this mean that the refugee must be on the welfare rolls or in the service provider system on that date?

Answer: No, it means that the State may compile data only on individuals who arrived in the U.S. during the 36-month period ending on that date. The refugee need not receive assistance or services on that date. A State may identify refugees who received assistance or services during an earlier month as long it deletes duplicates. For example, a State may wish to compile a file of all refugees that received employment services during FY 2002, FY 2003, and FY 2004, deleting all duplicate entries from different years. 

Question: Must we count only employable adults?

Answer: No, you may count other individuals in the family, including persons too old and too young for employment services. However, they must have social security numbers that indicate migration from another State.

Question: May a State count a secondary in-migrant in the year(s) after his migration?

Answer: Yes, as long as he arrived in the 36-month timeframe and still resides in the State. For example, assume that a refugee enters the U.S. during FY 2002 and obtains an SSN with first three digits of 331, indicating Illinois as his State of arrival. Oregon subsequently provides employment services to his family and includes him in its ORR-11 for that year. The State may also count the family on the ORR-11s filed for FY 2003 and FY 2004, provided, of course, he does not migrate out of the State.

Question: Does a State need to supply a number for its initial arrivals in the blank next to its name on the ORR-11?

Answer: No. For example, Ohio would not need to report on refugees with social security numbers in the ranges of 268-302, since these numbers were issued to refugees arriving to Ohio. We do not need this number because ORR calculates initial arrivals from its own refugee database.

Similarly, States need no longer report a number in the "No SSN on file" blank on the ORR-11. These data were once used in estimating secondary migration for non-funding purposes. We are now able to obtain data from our Annual Survey of Refugees for these purposes.

Question: Does ORR use the ORR-11 for the Targeted Assistance program?

Answer: The ORR-11 provides data on State, rather than county, residence and is therefore not comparable to the county-based Targeted Assistance program.

Question: Many aliens residing within this State apply for and receive asylum. We also find that persons granted asylum in other States have migrated here. Which of these groups should be reported on the ORR-11?

Answer: Neither. Do not include any asylees on your ORR-11. Instead, compile a list of persons granted asylum during the 36 months ending September 30, 2004, who have accessed refugee benefits or services. The list should include both persons granted asylum within the State and persons granted asylum elsewhere who have migrated. A State should send this list of asylees during the comment period after the Notice of Proposed Allocation for Social Services.

Question: Some Russian secondary migrants refuse to divulge their full social security numbers to service providers. May we include them if the first three digits confirm that the SSN was emitted in another State?

Answer: No. This report is used to adjust social service funds among the States. It would not be fair to one State to reduce their formula funds without a confirmed SSN in the possession of another.

Enclosed is the version of the ORR-11 that is in clearance with the Office of Management and Budget. We will send you an updated, approved version as soon as possible. Please do not use previous versions. If you cannot submit your report by E-mail, please mail the original and one copy directly to the Data Unit—Sixth Floor, Office of Refugee Resettlement, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20447, Attention: Ella Hayes.

We appreciate your efforts and hope for equally good results this year. If you have any questions, please contact Loren Bussert by phone at (202) 401-4732, by Fax at (202) 401-5487, or by E-mail at LBussert@acf.hhs.gov.