Refugees at a United Nations camp in South Sudan. At least 95 percent of the refugees sent to the U.S. are picked by the U.N.

Refugees at a United Nations camp in South Sudan. At least 95 percent of the refugees sent to the U.S. are picked by the U.N.

Refugee-resettlement agencies are scrambling to cut staff and, in some cases, close entire offices as they prepare for a reduction in refugee arrivals to the U.S. under President Donald Trump’s unfolding policy.

A pro-refugee group leaked an “official guidance” from the U.S. State Department to NPR Wednesday that said refugee arrivals will begin to dry up after March 3.

As WND reported last week, the one part of Trump’s embattled executive order that was not blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court, was his reduction of the fiscal-2017 cap on refugees from 110,000 set by Barack Obama to 50,000. The fiscal year ends Oct. 1.

Since 35,000 refugees have already arrived, that would mean another 15,000 would be allowed in by Oct. 1. The fact that the State Department is now saying new arrivals will end by March 3 means Trump could be planning to lower the ceiling further since it would be nearly impossible to hit the 50,000 cap in a little over two weeks.

“I guess it could be done, but they would have to ramp up from about 300 or 400 a day to 2,000 a day, and that’s a monumental task,” noted Ann Corcoran, who runs the watchdog website Refugee Resettlement Watch.

The court also did not rule on a provision of Trump’s executive order that would make it easier for states and cities to veto refugee placements.

America is on the same suicidal path as Europe but is it too late for Donald Trump to fix the problem? Get all the facts in Leo Hohmann’s brand-new investigative book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”

After the jihadist attack on Paris in November 2015, more than 24 U.S. governors, most of them Republicans, notified the Obama administration that they did not want to receive any refugees from Syria, since two refugees from that country were implicated in the coordinated attacks that killed 130 and wounded more than 300.

But Secretary of State John Kerry quickly informed the governors that they had no authority under the Refugee Act of 1980 to block the placements of refugees in their states. Trump wants to give them that authority, which would mean the refugees would continue to arrive at “welcoming cities” but not those putting up barriers.

Of the 85,000 refugees resettled in U.S cities and towns last year, a record 40,000, or nearly half, were Muslims.

260,000 Muslims per year entering U.S.

Of course, the refugee program is not the only avenue through which Muslims migrate to the U.S.

Muslims also come to the U.S. on various other visa and green-card programs. According to Center for Immigration Studies, about 130,000 Muslims come to the United States every year on green cards, which offers them permanent lawful status. At least that many more come on temporary visas, including student visas, work visas, entrepreneurial visas, religious visas for imams, fiancé visas, the diversity visa lottery and family related visas. That makes for a grand total of about 260,000 foreign nationals entering the U.S. from Muslim-majority nations every year.

So refugee resettlement is a fairly modest but still important slice of the overall pie, especially for people from Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan who come from illiterate backgrounds and have no job skills, meaning they can’t get to the U.S. on a student or work-related visa.

The average annual number of refugees entering the U.S. has been around 60,000, so the 50,000 target set by Trump is not far from the historic norm. Corcoran has suggested he cut it further, down to 35,000 this year, and even lower for fiscal 2018, which starts Oct. 1.

Closing offices, cutting staff

Meanwhile, the nine volunteer agencies, or VOLAGs, which get paid by the State Department to resettle refugees in more than 300 U.S. cities and towns, often without the knowledge of local officials, are scrambling to downsize before the funds run dry.

World Relief, a division of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the nine primary resettlement agencies that contract with the U.S. State Department, announced it is closing five offices, including the one in Columbus, Ohio; Boise, Idaho; Baltimore, Miami and Nashville. Columbus has been a hotbed of Somali refugee resettlement for years, building up the second-largest enclave of Somali refugees after Minneapolis.

World Relief said the offices being closed in the above cities have resettled more than 25,000 refugees over the last 40 years. The closures will eliminate 140 staff positions.

The private resettlement agencies told NPR they can’t absorb such a drastic decrease in federal funding, even if the numbers were to go back up again next year after new vetting procedures are put into place.

“It’s crushing,” Kay Lipovsky, office director of World Relief Columbus, told the Columbus Dispatch. “I fear the entire refugee program is at risk.”

World Relief was expecting to resettle 250 refugees in Idaho alone this year. It has already resettled 71 in the rural state.

Catholic Charities USA, an arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the single largest government-funded resettlement agency serving about 25 percent of the total refugees brought to the U.S. every year, is also rushing to fill the funding gaps. The agency’s refugee budget was funded 97 percent by the federal government, according to its IRS form 990 for 2014, the latest year available.

But last week, Catholic Charities started an $8-million fundraising campaign to bridge any gap created by the refugee program’s uncertain future, the Dispatch reports. The agency said an estimated 700 of its 54,000 jobs nationwide “might be at risk because of Trump’s executive order.”

Another government contractor, the International Rescue Committee, hopes to raise $5 million in what it called its “first-ever emergency appeal” to help its 29 offices nationwide “continue to support refugees” already in the United States.

Letting cities, states veto refugee placements

Trump has also directed the Homeland Security secretary to “devise a proposal” to give state and local governments “great involvement in the process of determining the placement of refugees in their jurisdictions.”

Mark Hetfield, CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, another of the nine primary resettlement contractors, told NPR he worries that giving governors the power to veto arrivals, one of the things Trump wants to do that the 9th Circuit ruling did not address, could unravel the resettlement program.

“The contractors are scared to death that state and local elected officials will play a greater role in the future, thus possibly messing up their cozy relationship with the feds,” Corcoran says. “They say they do extensive coordination with local officials but that’s only for the friendly ones.”

Mayors like Paul Harpole of Amarillo, Texas, and Ted Gatsas of Manchester, New Hampshire, have literally begged the federal government to slow down the influx of refugees into their cities, but to no avail.

‘Fake charity’ used to transform communities

All but three of the nine resettlement contractors are faith-based groups. “Together, they form a nationwide bureaucracy for resettlement,” NPR reports.

But Corcoran calls them “faux religious charities.”

“True religious charities would be sacrificing their own private money to help the stranger, not reaching in to taxpayers’ wallets,” she said.

Last week, WND reported that a longtime State Department insider, Mary Doetsch, penned an open letter in the Chicago Tribune blowing whistle on a refugee resettlement bureaucracy that is “laden with fraud and abuse.”

Doetsch, who recently retired, confirmed earlier reports by WND that it is not uncommon to have refugees approved for entry into the U.S. based simply on their personal testimony. She said illegal African asylum seekers land on the European island of Malta, where they are given refugee status by the United Nations and shipped to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, when, in fact, the identities of these migrants often cannot be verified.

But for now, it appears the resettlement offices will have to do something they never had to do under Obama – start downsizing their infrastructure. The State Department funds these agencies based on the number of refugees each organization resettles, a fact that Corcoran and others have long cited as the reason they are continuously lobbying for more refugees, which allows them to expand the nationwide resettlement bureaucracy.

Hetfield, in his comments to NPR, confirmed that such criticisms – tying federal dollars to refugee resettlement numbers – are justified.

“We have people that are hired specifically as refugee case workers,” said Hetfield. “If no refugees are arriving and if we are not getting funding to employ them, then we have to let them go and we lose our infrastructure to resettle refugees. That’s a huge issue.”

Corcoran told WND there is no incentive to slow the influx of refugees to any overburdened resettlement city – places like Amarillo and Manchester – because the resettlement agencies get paid by the head for every refugee they bring in.

“I have no sympathy for them because they should have long ago been doing this with private funds for their religious charitable work,” Corcoran said. “If they had, this would not be happening to them. It’s like a Ponzi scheme. The whole house of cards is now falling in.”

America is on the same suicidal path as Europe but is it too late for Donald Trump to fix the problem? Get all the facts in Leo Hohmann’s brand-new investigative book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”

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