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Increase to Refugee Reception and Placement Grant

According to a State Department Press Release, the Reception and Placement Program grants will increase this month to help address the challenges refugees face during their first 30-90 days in the United States. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) resettles tens of thousands of refugees each year to safety in the U.S., including over 18,000 Iraqis in 2009. The Reception and Placement Program administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration includes a one-time per capita grant to recent arrivals, but according to the press release, the grant has declined by more than 50% since its inception in 1980. With the challenges refugees face during their initial months in the U.S. and with the economic downturn and decline in availability of jobs, the State Department increased the Reception and Placement per capita grant effective January 1, 2010. While much of the increase will be used to provide direct services and support (such as housing), there will be some flexibility in how some of the funds are used.



Another positive note: the State Department will continue its review of refugee resettlement led by the White House.




Bombings in Baghdad:

The bombings January 25th and 26th have rocked the capital city, with bombers targeting government offices and landmark hotels. The timing of the attacks has encouraged speculation that the bombings are in retaliation to the hanging of “Chemical Ali”, but Gen. Ray Odierno states that he sees “absolutely no connection between the attacks and the execution.



Coordinated attacks on the major city since August have left nearly 450 people killed and hundreds wounded. The recent attacks are believed to have been carried-out by Sunni extremists determined to unseat Iraq’s U.S.-backed Shiite-led government, according to the Washington Post. The banning of hundreds of candidates promoting the Baath Party from the March 2010 elections has aggravated sectarian tensions and threatens the security of the country. For additional coverage and more information on the upcoming election please check out The Ground Truth.



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