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As Fewer Refugees Settle In Houston, Nonprofits Struggle To Maintain Operations

Refugee resettlement in the United States is at historic lows as the government slows down the processing of refugee families.

A young refugee mother poses with her children at The Alliance’s spring festival held at the Arab American Cultural and Community Center in Houston.

The Alliance of Houston is historically one of the largest refugee resettlement organizations in Texas.

Before Trump took office, the nonprofit resettled roughly 750 refugee families a year. Then the president lowered the cap for refugee admissions, and The Alliance was contracted to take in some 450 families over the course of a year.

But Alliance CEO Dan Stoecker said he doubts is organization will even reach that number. He said if refugee resettlement continues at its current rate, he estimates end-of-year numbers somewhere in the 200 range.

“When the numbers aren’t even half now of even what the government promised that we should count on,” said Stoecker, “it makes it very difficult for all the non-profit agencies in Houston and across America to really have stable business operations.”

Stoecker said when the government doesn’t send families to resettle, his organization loses out on the reimbursements they were anticipating. He’s having to adjust budgets, programs and staffing to balance the organization’s budget.

Stoecker said he’s disappointed by the administration’s cap to refugee resettlement and is considering offering assistance abroad as an alternative way to address the refugee crisis. 

“This is the biggest refugee crisis in history, but at the same time America isn’t really doing its equal part,” Stoecker said. 

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