This bill aims to spend more resources on helping refugees settle into the U.S. after fleeing war, persecution, or natural disasters. Its general goals are to increase coordination between federal agencies, review the refugee processing system, and find ways to speed it up, while maintaining national security.
The Dept. of State would create work and English language training programs overseas for refugees who have been approved to enter the United States. Refugees and asylum seekers would be admitted into the U.S. as legal permanent residents.
Reception and placement grants — funds that go to helping refugees in their first 30-90 days in the U.S. — are set by the Dept. of State. This bill would require that grant amounts be adjusted for more refugee resettlement needs, and that the Dept. of State makes sure funding is available at the beginning of the fiscal year.
A case management system would be created to help refugees access services. Grants for this system would be given to national resettlement agencies by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Services could be provided by the Office itself, through federal/state/local agencies, and/or private or nonprofit organizations.
Grants could also go to community-based groups, nonprofits, and resettlement agencies that help new refugees integrate into U.S. civic life. The Office would be required to provide refugees with a minimum of 12 months’ assistance and social services for employment, health, and living expenses.
A Domestic Emergency Refugee Resettlement Fund would be created to pay for unexpected refugee resettlement needs. The refugee matching grant program that gives federal-private refugee assistance would be expanded, and eligibility criteria would be loosened.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits would be offered to qualified refugees — including those who were the victims of trafficking or criminal activity and became ineligible for benefits because they didn't apply for citizenship within seven years. Children who have been granted special immigrant status because they were the victim of criminal activity would be eligible for specific refugee benefits.