Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Report to Congress 2006


Full Report (PDF 3.1MB)

Annual Report to Congress 2006 coverThe year 2006 was  another step forward  in the historic story of refugees, representing a variety of ages, nationalities, and cultures, finding a new life  of freedom and hope on America’s  shores. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) contin- ued to experience success, as it funded and coor- dinated a network of service providers who serve refugees, as well as Cuban-Haitian entrants, asylees, victims  of torture, unaccompanied alien children, and victims of human trafficking.

Refugee admissions  in  FY  2006 totaled 41,279, compared with 53,813 the previous year (in 2003 and  2002,  refugee  admissions   averaged  only 27,594). An  additional  16,700 entrants  arrived from Cuba and Haiti. The principal groups of arriving refugees in FY 2006 included Hmong and Burmese from Thailand, Bantu from East Africa, Liberians from West Africa,  Vietnamese from the Philippines, and Meskhetian Turks from Russia. ORR provided resource material and hands-on technical assistance and emergency funding to agencies resettling Hmong and Bantu refugees.

ORR  worked  in close cooperation with  Federal, State, and local partners, and with national volun- tary agencies (VOLAGs) and Refugee Mutual Assistance Associations (MAAs). ORR’s goal was to ensure that incoming refugees had the needed services and assistance to help them attain economic self-sufficiency as early as possible after their arrival.

Through careful budget control and data analysis, ORR  was able to preserve eight months of cash and medical assistance for newly arrived refugees during 2006. ORR also provided funding for for- mula and discretionary social services to serve refugees up to five years after their arrival.

Major accomplishments during 2006 included the following:

From July 19 to August 2, 2006, ORR offered so- cial services to over 12,400 U.S. citizens and others returning to the U.S. from Lebanon, due to the international conflict between Lebanon and Israel. ORR  mobilized personnel from the Federal government, state agencies, and non-profit social service agencies, to be on site at four major airports to meet incoming Americans from Lebanon, to ensure their safe and expeditious processing. During  the  17-day operation,  HHS/ACF/ORR and its partners offered services to incoming citizens and their dependents who arrived on 61 different flights. This successful emergency opera- tion effort resulted in the largest repatriation of Americans since World War II.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program continued to make strides in helping to identify, certify, and provide care for victims of human trafficking. In  2006, ORR  awarded  a per capita contract to make financial support available to organizations throughout the country that provide  services to victims.  ORR also awarded 18 street outreach grants to organizations in direct contact with vulnerable populations. The street outreach grantees were on-the-ground in their communities to identify victims, make referrals to law enforcement for their rescue, and to initiate support services.  In 2006, the street outreach grantees identified over 1,000   potential   victims    of   human    trafficking.  Overall, ORR certified 234 victims of human trafficking in 2006.

With an operating budget of $77.3 million in 2006, ORR’s Division  of Unaccompanied Children’s Services   (DUCS)   funded   approximately   1,300 beds and placed 7,746 children in its various shelter facilities, which number more than 30 in eight states nationwide.  In FY  2006, DUCS  hired four additional  Federal  Field  Specialists  to work  in areas  of  high  immigration  apprehensions (Chicago,  Harlingen/Brownsville, El  Paso,  and San Antonio).

ORR focused on addressing some of the long- standing challenges that can, at times, impede refugees’ assimilation into American society. The Office of the Director created five Work Groups to investigate and recommend solutions in areas that are consistent challenges for  new  arrivals. The Work Groups were designed to provide creative strategies to help refugees establish a new life in  America,  founded on dignity  and self sufficiency. Specific Work Groups were created for integration, economic self-sufficiency,  social services formula funding, housing, and health. Part- ners include members from state governments, VOLAGs, Mutual Assistance Associations, technical assistance providers, and federal partners.

In support of measures to increase the health and well-being of high-risk incoming refugee populations, ORR  continues to conduct activities under the Points of Wellness refugee health promotion and  disease prevention  initiative.   Those  measures include providing  State and local governments, as well as local community based organizations, access to the Points of Wellness Toolkit and  training  workshops  to help  them develop and implement refugee health promotion and disease prevention activities and programs.

Additionally, ORR  provided  national leadership in examining and promoting the relationship  of refugee health and access to health and mental health  services,  with  healthy  social  integration into American  society.  In partnership with  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ORR convenes the Refugee Medical Screening Protocol Work Group to update the medical screening services for refugees when  they are admitted into the U.S.  All States revised their State Plan to permit the continuation of operations in the event of a pandemic or other emergency. All  of these activities   were  completed  in partnerships   under interagency agreements with  HHS’  Office of Global Health Affairs  and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In other areas of its operations, ORR:

  • Continued  its  support  for  development  of Refugee Mutual Assistance Associations, eth- nic community-based organizations estab- lished and run by various refugee groups. In 2006, 45 such organizations in 21 States were funded  through  discretionary  grants  for  a total of $7.3 million.
  • Awarded   $4.4 million  in  Healthy  Marriage grants to 11 grantees to promote stable mar- riages and family  life and to prevent family conflict and divorce.
  • Supported  12  Wilson/Fish  projects  in   11 States and  one California  county,  and  also launched a new  Wilson/Fish project operation in Louisiana.
  • Provided $19 million  to localities most heavily  impacted by Cuban and Haitian  entrants and refugees, particularly  where their arrival numbers in recent years have increased.  Services under this program include health and hospitals, employment, adult and vocational education, refugee crime or victimization  and citizenship and naturalization preparation.

ORR’s FY 2007 goals include:

  • Ensuring  that all ORR  programs provide for the safety and well being of children;
  • Expanding  efforts to increase the number of persons identified, certified, and served as victims of trafficking;
  • Identifying and addressing changing needs of our increasingly diverse refugee population;
  • Focusing  on the importance  of integration, self-sufficiency, and civic responsibility;
  • Continuing  to improve  the quality  of care, and family  reunification and foster care services provided  to unaccompanied alien children, and;
  • Developing     relationships     and    fostering greater collaboration with Federal partners to enhance the availability  of services to incoming populations.

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