Refugee Program

Initial Reception and Placement of New Arrivals Should Be Improved Gao ID: NSIAD-86-69 April 7, 1986

GAO reviewed the Department of State's initial refugee reception and placement program to assess: (1) the management of the refugee resettlement program; (2) the distribution and use of grant funds; and (3) the extent to which grant funds have helped refugees move toward self-sufficiency.

GAO noted that State awards per capita grants to voluntary agencies to provide refugees with core services such as food, shelter, clothing, and employment assistance during their first 90 days in the United States. GAO found that: (1) 94.3 percent of the refugees who arrived in the United States in April 1984 received food, clothing, and shelter and at least 84.1 percent received employment-related services; (2) refugees that needed vocational or academic training and those who were not aggressively seeking employment were more difficult to place in jobs; (3) State does not use measurement factors such as employment/welfare dependency rates to evaluate agency performance; (4) voluntary agencies participating in the refugee placement program are not required to submit audited financial statements; (5) State places few restrictions on the agencies' use of grant funds and, therefore, financial reports do not disclose the total costs incurred in resettling refugees or provide an adequate basis for evaluating the appropriateness of program expenditures; and (6) since State exercises minimal control and accountability over the agencies' use or refugee reception and placement funds, it can neither determine if the federal share of resettlement costs is sufficient nor substantiate the need for additional per capita grants.


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