State Letter #01-26

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

Publication Date: September 28, 2001


FROM: Carmel Clay-Thompson
Acting Director
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 October 31, reflecting secondary migration during the 36-month period ending September 30, 2001.

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, asylees, 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 lists. This year 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 E-mail this file to the E-mail address listed at the end of this letter. 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 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.

We record each ORR-11 from each State on a 49 x 49 State matrix. This 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 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 numbers 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, in FY 2000, Colorado identified 377 in-migrants on its ORR-11, and other States identified 219 Colorado arrivals on theirs. Colorado's net migration number (158) was then added to its gross arrival number (3,102) to produce its total three-year arrival population (3,260) for the social services formula.

Question: The ORR-11 is due on October 31 of each year reflecting 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. However, 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 1999, FY 2000, and FY 2001. Of course, many refugees would receive services in more than one year. accordingly, the State must delete all duplicate entries. 

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.  For example, assume that a refugee enters the U.S. during FY 1999 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 2000 and FY 2001, provided, of course, he does not migrate out of the State.

Question: Does ORR adjust the lists received from the States?

Answer: No, this practice was stopped long ago. Some years ago, when the time eligibility period for ORR reimbursement was 18 months, ORR would double the secondary migration numbers of States that compiled their lists exclusively from welfare rolls. We did so because States that used service provider lists could identify secondary migrants during the full 36-month period, while welfare rolls could identify recipients for only 18 months. This policy proved unworkable when the time limitation for RCA and RMA was reduced to eight months for RCA and RMA and benefits for AFDC, Medicaid, and general assistance were no longer reimbursed.

Question: The instructions for the form ORR-11 define a secondary migrant as an individual who has migrated into the State and currently resides there. How can the State verify the current residence of a secondary migrant?

Answer: The State does not need to verify that each secondary migrant still resides in the State. Instead, the State should instruct its employment service providers to delete from its provider list any refugees whose cases were closed due to migration to another State.

Question: Does a State need to supply a number for itself 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 separately 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 of limited value to the county-based Targeted Assistance program. Nevertheless, ORR still intends to use secondary migration in the eligibility determination for the upcoming year through county-provided documentation, rather than through the ORR-11.

Question: The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) grants asylum to many aliens residing within this State. May we report them on the ORR-11?

Answer: No, you may not include an asylee on this form unless he is a secondary migrant from another State. Over the past year, we have worked closely with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to develop a comprehensive list of asylum approvals in each State. We used these numbers in the determination of the formula for FY 2001 social service allocations. We are currently working with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to add asylees to the refugee database. If we are successful in merging these databases, we will be able to use asylees in the Targeted Assistance formula allocations as well.

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.

Question: The October 31 deadline is difficult to meet. May we submit the ORR-11 at a later day if we need more time to identify secondary migrants?

Answer: Yes. States should contact Loren Bussert to arrange for a late report.

Enclosed is an approved copy of the ORR-11. Please do not use previous versions. For this year's report, please mail the original and one copy directly to the Division of Refugee Self-Sufficiency, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Sixth Floor East, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20447, Attention: Loren Bussert.

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.DHHS.GOV .

Enclosure:  Form ORR-11

Important Note
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently informed us that no social security numbers have been emitted in the following ranges:
659-665 Louisiana
676-679 Arkansas
681-690 North Carolina                      
691-699 Virginia

Last year, however, nine States reported a total of 86 secondary migrants with numbers in these ranges. As a consequence, ORR will need to research these numbers and work with SSA to resolve these discrepancies. If anyone presents an SSN in any of the above ranges, please highlight these cases in your documentation so that we can easily identify the refugee for research purposes.

Last Reviewed Date: