The U.S. refugee admissions program in Austin : the story of one Congolese family
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In 2013, the U.S. Department of State allocated nearly $45 million to the Texas Office of Refugee Resettlement to help aid with the resettlement of 6,922 refugees. Approximately 10 percent of all refugees who were brought to the U.S. that year were resettled in Texas. Austin received 716 of those refugees. For 30 years, the U.S.'s Refugee Admissions Programs has been providing aid and money to help refugees fleeing religious and political persecution resettle in the U.S. The program is a system of public-private partnership in which the U.S. Department of State hands out funds to local non-profit organizations to oversee the initial six months of the resettlement. The current program is largely underfunded and is based on a self-sufficiency model that requires refugees find a job within four months of arrival setting many refugees on a path towards poverty as they are often come from conflict zones with minimal English skills, knowledge of how the U.S. works or programs to help them use whatever skills or education they have to find better paying jobs. This paper critiques elements of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program through the case study of one family that has recently arrived in Austin, Texas, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.