WASHINGTON D.C.- The Daily Caller uncovered evidence that refugee resettlement programs may be allowing public funds to be pocketed by charities. Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Phillip Parrish says there is little oversight on the refugee resettlement.
Refugee resettlement is setup so that funds are given directly to contractors depending on how many refugees they bring into the country (per head). There are nine primary resettlement contractors, known as VOLAGS who work with over 350 subcontractors known as affiliates. The way these organizations receive funding is through providing matching funds to the money the Refugee Resettlement Office, part of the office of Health and Human Services, is providing them. The VOLAGs must provide $1 for every $2 received for a refugee, receiving up to $2,200. So that would bring the amount donated by the VOLAG to $1,100, with some of this coming in the form of donated furniture, clothes, food and other goods, or volunteer time at a specified hourly rate, (at least a quarter must be cash donation though). The idea is that the vast majority of the money will be used on the refugee.
“There appears to be no local oversight and no interest in oversight,” Parrish explained, “The contracted Volunteer Agencies (VOLAGs), which in reality are very well paid subcontractors are pocketing a large portion of the money. Many of the subcontractors only exist on paper and serve to launder money to other organizations. Some of these shell companies are actually funneling money to extremist organizations. This is based on my direct experience with law enforcement investigations.”
Here is where the fraud comes in. Many of the VOLAGs use unpaid volunteers to help refugees in various ways, including accompanying them to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a state id, job hunting, filling out applications, and searching for childcare. Many of these services that the volunteers are providing for free, however, are what the VOLAGs are supposed to be spending the per head funding they are receiving on.
Furthermore, much of the money that is being raised is coming from those who are volunteering. Being that the volunteers also pay for all their own expenses during their time with refugees it is curious where these funds are going.
“I will work with Legislators to prohibit Minnesota agencies and programs from coming into contractual agreement with any resettlement persons or groups without legislative action and local consent,” Parish said, “I will end our participation in the Refugee Resettlement Program.”