Detailed Information on the
Refugee Admissions to the US Assessment

Program Code 10000394
Program Title Refugee Admissions to the US
Department Name Department of State
Agency/Bureau Name Department of State
Program Type(s) Competitive Grant Program
Assessment Year 2004
Assessment Rating Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 88%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 75%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $159
FY2008 $166
FY2009 $213

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The Administration will work to more closely align the budget request with the establishment of the annual ceiling for refugee admissions.

Action taken, but not completed Action for OMB.

In FY 2008, PRM will work with interagency partners to address fraud in the P-3 program by adding additional procedures including, as appropriate, biometric measures and new screening policies.

Action taken, but not completed

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The 2008 budget request for this program reflects the President's commitment to sustain the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program by maintaining the funding increase appropriated in FY 2007 to continue to resettle individuals to the United States."


Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Total average cost per refugee arrival in the U.S.


Year Target Actual
2002 BASELINE $4,445
2003 NONE $4,428
2004 $4,000 $3,500
2005 $3,700 $3,565
2006 $3,600 $4,296
2007 $3,500 $4,103
2008 $3,400
Long-term Output

Measure: Number of refugees admitted to the U.S. as a percentage of the regional ceilings established by Presidential Determination.

Explanation:Refugees admitted to the U.S. within established ceilings based on an assessment of the number of refugees at risk overseas and U.S. capacity to respond.

Year Target Actual
2002 100% 39%
2003 100% 57%
2004 100% 106%
2005 100% 108%
2006 100% 69%
2007 100% 97%
2008 100%
2009 100%
2010 100%
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Security, health, and anti-fraud measures are fully implemented in refugee processing.

Explanation:Security, health, and anti-fraud measures are fully implemented in refugee processing. The targets for this measure are held separately, as there is no way for them to fit in the cells and be uploaded.

Year Target Actual
2004 full implementation full implementation
2005 full implementation full implementation
Annual Output

Measure: Percent of free-case employable adult refugees employed by the 180th day in the United States.

Explanation:This indicator measures the programs' ability to provide training and other support for free-case refugees to achieve self-sufficiency in a timely manner.

Year Target Actual
2006 Baseline 73%
2007 71% 69%
2008 72%
2009 73%
Annual Output

Measure: Number of individual and group refugee referrals to the U.S. from UNHCR.

Explanation:Assist UNHCR to strengthen its capacity to identify appropriate durable solutions for refugees, including third-country resettlement.

Year Target Actual
2002 BASELINE 5,000
2003 NONE 14,690
2004 15,000 18,000
2005 15,000 17,942
2006 15,000 28,025
2007 15,000 22,793
2008 15,000
2009 15,000
2010 15,000
Annual Output

Measure: Percentage of refugees moved to U.S. within 6 months of DHS approval.

Explanation:Strengthen domestic and overseas refugee processing operations to ensure that all security, anti-fraud, and health screenings are accomplished in an effective and timely manner.

Year Target Actual
2002 BASELINE no data
2003 NONE 48%
2004 60% 57%
2005 70% 64%
2006 73% 87%
2007 76% 83%
2008 80%
2009 80%
Annual Outcome

Measure: Percentage of agency affiliates in the Reception and Placement (R&P) program found to be in compliance with established basic standards of care, which ensure that refugees' basic necessities (housing, employment, health, child education) are met upon arrival and during an initial period in the U.S.

Explanation:Ensure that standardized essential services (including decent housing, employment opportunities, and education for children) are provided by sponsoring agencies during the period of refugees' initial resettlement in the U.S. (Measured by compliance rate).

Year Target Actual
2002 BASELINE 75%
2003 NONE 81%
2004 90% 87%
2005 93% 71%
2006 95% 96%
2007 96% 93%
2008 96%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The program purpose, as authorized in law, is to resettle refugees of "special humanitarian concern to the U.S." There is consensus among the interested non-governmental organizations, Members of Congress, and the Executive Branch as to the purpose of the program, but there is not consensus as to how to implement the program.

Evidence: a. Refugee Act of 1980 BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest or need?

Explanation: The State/USAID 2004-2009 Strategic Planning Framework lists "Humanitarian Response" as a national interest. This means "offering assistance and international leadership to help alleviate human suffering." A strategy to achieve this goal is ensuring the protection and assistance of refugees by promoting durable solutions, one of which is resettlement to a third country.

Evidence: a. State/USAID 2004-2009 Strategic Planning Framework b. FY 2005 Bureau Performance Plan c. U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 BPP Evidence: A/S Statement:

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: There is no other program, Federal, state, local or private, which identifies, processes, transports and receives refugees arriving in the U.S. There is some overlap with HHS with regard to care of refugees once in the U.S. The State funding for the first 30-90 days refugees are in the country may be supplemented by HHS funding for Matching and Preferred Communities grants during the same period. While funds are to be used for different purposes and have separate financial reports, at the caseworker/refugee level, there can be confusion as to the differences between the two "pots" of money.

Evidence: a. Refugee Act of 1980 b. FY 2005 Foreign Operations Congressional Budget Justification c. Examiner observations during monitoring trip

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The program is implemented through cooperative agreements with NGOs, agreements with international organizations and use of in-house resources, depending on which vehicle is most appropriate to the given situation. For example, in some locations in-house embassy staff perform refugee processing functions when access issues preclude NGO or IO access or the caseload is too small to merit a processing entity. Cooperative agreements allow the USG to be involved with the implementation of the program. The program competes cooperative agreements among NGOs, thereby encouraging administrative and operational efficiency among these organizations. A standard value for the assistance package provided to refugees ensures that the program adequately supports the well-being of refugees while achieving efficiency gains in operational and administrative costs.

Evidence: a. Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977 BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 20%

Is the program effectively targeted, so that resources will reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: Program beneficiaries are identified through a variety of mechanisms intended to ensure that those most in need of this durable solution are served. In particular, the program emphasizes and supports the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in identifying and referring refugees to the program. UNHCR has the worldwide mandate to protect refugees and determine what solution is most effective for their situation. That said, the Admissions Program does not rely exclusively on UNHCR for these determinations and has mechanisms in place to identify refugees for access to the program based on a USG finding that they should benefit from the program (as being of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. or for reasons of family unity). Program funds are targeted at the identified populations and reach only them throughout the process of overseas screening and resettlement in the U.S. Without the program, none of this would occur.

Evidence: a. FY 2004 Report to Congress. b. 2003 UNHCR Analysis of Worldwide Resettlement Need. c. U.S.-UNHCR 2004 Resettlement Initiative Budget. d. FY 2004 Admissions Implementation Plan and Budget. BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The program has worked with OMB to create a limited number of specific and ambitious long-term goals which relate to the program purpose. These goals are focused, measurable, and outcome-oriented.

Evidence: a. PRM Bureau Performance Plans, FY 2004 and FY 2005 BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: In the past year, the Department has adopted a revised long-term goal related to the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. as a percentage of regionally allocated ceilings. This goal measures program performance against the Department of State's operational planning. This goal does not measure performance against the total ceiling (allocated and unallocated). There are ongoing discussions in the Administration as to whether the goal is the total ceiling or the allocated ceiling.

Evidence: a. PRM Bureau a. Performance Plans, FY 2004 and FY 2005. BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: All four annual goals are quantifiable and measurable and directly related to the three long-term goals. While the indicator for Annual Goal 3: Standardized Essential Services and the indicator for Long-term Goal 3: Self Sufficiency for Resettled Refugees both serve the same long-term goal of integration and self-sufficiency, the annual indicator is distinct from long-term indicator because the former measures inputs i.e. the quality of services provided to resettled refugees, while the latter appropriately measures outcomes i.e. employment in a given timeframe.

Evidence: a. PRM Bureau Performance Plans, FY 2004 and FY 2005 BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: All four of the annual goals listed above present ambitious targets for the program, each with a quantifiable baseline. Although they may appear static, FY 2006 and FY 2007 targets for the fourth goal related to UNHCR account for the fact that increased repatriation options are likely to be available to several primary resettlement nationalities beginning in FY 2005. Increased repatriation leaves fewer eligible candidates for referral under this program. Thus, FY 2006 and FY 2007 targets are not static relative to the pool of available candidates anticipated in these years.

Evidence: a. PRM Bureau Performance Plans, FY 2004 and FY 2005. b. U.S.-UNHCR Resettlement Initiative Budget for 2004 and quarterly performance reports. c. WRAPS Pipeline Reports. d. Reception and Placement Monitoring Reports. e. WRAPS Deployment and Upgrade schedules for FY 2004. BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: The Reception and Placement Grant Cooperative Agreements include goals regarding basic necessities, core services, and employment. The agreement also defines these terms, making the goals measurable (e.g., refugees should have one chair for each family member). Overseas processing agreements include output goals (number of refugees to be processed by entity) that grantees must meet. Reporting requirements and monitoring allow the Bureau to verify if goals are being met.

Evidence: a. Reception and Placement Cooperative Agreement b. Overseas Processing Entity Cooperative Agreement c. FY 2005 Bureau Performance Plan d. Refugee Processing Budget Worksheet BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: State OIG began an audit of the R&P program in FY 2003. Its report is expected by the end of FY 2004. As part of the program review being conducted by the agency, it has also engaged an independent expert consultant to evaluate the program. His final report is expected late in FY 2004.

Evidence: a. FY 2003 OMB PART review b. State OIG audit (ongoing) c. Draft Report on Study by David Martin BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 12%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: The budget request for this program is not explicitly tied to the accomplishment of the annual and long-term goals. Budget documents do not mention the ceiling level that the budget supports and the actual admissions ceiling is set 7-8 months after the budget is submitted to Congress. OMB will work with the Department of State, the National Security Council and other USG partners to explore aligning the budget and ceiling determination processes so that there is a clear link between the budget and performance goals.

Evidence: a. FY 2004 Implementation Plan and Budget. b. FY 2004 and FY 2005 Bureau Performance Plans

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: OMB commends the program managers for their efforts to improve the FY2004 plan and build on it in FY2005; the new plans are a significant improvement from the previous plan. The program did not have a procedure in place to identify strategic planning deficiencies. However, when such deficiencies were pointed out by the Department of State's Strategic Planning office or OMB, the program managers worked with these offices to move toward improved goals and indicators, as was done with the FY 2004 performance plan.

Evidence: a. FY 2003 OMB PART review b. PRM Bureau Performance Plans, FY 2004, FY 2005 and FY 2006 c. Department of State Strategic Plan

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 88%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The domestic and overseas cooperative agreements require a number of reports from program partners (some quarterly and some annual). In addition, if organizations want to renew their contract or are seeking to renew a cooperative agreement, State program managers make recommendations regarding budget, staffing, and affiliate office capacity to resettle refugees. Agreements are only signed once the organizations agree to the recommendations.

Evidence: a. R&P Free Case Employment Reports, b. R&P Quarterly Affiliate Monitoring Report, c. R&P Annual Report, d. R&P Financial Reports, e. Overseas Processing Entity Program Report, f. OPE Financial Reports BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 10%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: Program partners are held accountable for past performance, based on the guidelines agreed to in the cooperative agreement. There are adjustments made to the next agreement based on prior performance. For program managers at State, personnel evaluations take account of program results and performance.

Evidence: a. Reception and Placement Cooperative Agreement, b. Overseas Processing Entity Cooperative Agreement BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 10%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: In FY 2004, the program has obligated all available funds consistent with the overall program plan. The program plan details have been revised during the year to account for the new security environment and therefore differ from those outlined in the FY 2004 President's Budget. PRM is working to address those temporary measures that may contribute to higher costs by collaborating closely with CDC, IOM, and DHS to reduce the need for such measures, or where they are used, to reduce their costs e.g. charter planes. In FY 2004, procedures were put in place to ensure that partners are paid for actual expenditures and grantees must take action to address any deficiencies found in audits in order to continue being a program partner. In addition, for both overseas operations and reception and placement, the partners provide expenditure reports demonstrating that funding is used directly in support of program goals.

Evidence: a. Reception and Placement Financial Reports, b. Foreign Operations Congressional Budget Justification, c. Migration and Refugee Assistance Financial Plan, d. Refugee Processing Budget Worksheet BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Partner Accountability

YES 10%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: Program managers at the State Department have suggested ways to gain efficiencies in the program, such as increasing the number of refugees allowed to travel on commercial flights and increasing the points of entry to which they can arrive. These ideas are under review by an interagency working group focused on furthering program goals and suggesting ways to improve program performance. In addition, the program has created an efficiency indicator: "Total average cost per refugee arrival in the U.S." with ambitious targets to measure and achieve efficiencies. To help achieve these gains, Admissions program expenditure reports and budgets are evaluated regularly. Line item costs are compared to program per capita averages to assess efficiencies and effectiveness. Partners are required to take corrective action in order to be eligible for future funding.

Evidence: a. Correspondence with grantees regarding budget caps and line item limitations b. BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S. c. Interagency meetings

YES 10%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The Department of State, the DHS and HHS all have a role in refugee admissions. The three agencies coordinate effectively, as evidenced by the jointly produced yearly report for Congress, which explains the current situation and suggests a ceiling and allocation for the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, State works closely with DHS in the field to institute new procedures (such as security measures) related to overseas processing and with HHS to figure out where (States/regions) refugees should be resettled and the types of orientation materials that are needed. The Department also works with State refugee coordinators when reviewing proposals, in order to best determine where refugees can be placed upon arrival in the U.S.

Evidence: a. Report to Congress, b. Letters from Department of State to State refugee coordinators, c. Responses from State refugee coordinators BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.

YES 10%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Each program partner must have an independent audit conducted and these have not resulted in any finding of material internal control weaknesses. Also, payments are made to partners only as funds are needed. The Comptroller's office signs the cooperative agreements and keeps a close watch on obligations and payments, even examining documents that they do not have to examine. The Department is required to have yearly independent audits. Further, PRM divides financial magement functions between its Comptroller's Office and its Office of Policy Resource & Planning, therey providing a system of checks and balances for funding actions.

Evidence: a. Audit reports, procedures exist to identify improper payments. BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Partner Accountability

YES 10%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: For reception and placement grants, the agency works with program partners and State refugee agencies to ensure that proposals fit the needs of the program. Therefore, if the Department believes that a partner is proposing to resettle too many refugees from a certain ethnic group in a certain state or region, the Department of State will adjust the proposals to fit the needs of the program and the abilities of the resettlement organization. Since cooperative agreements are signed every year, the Department must determine the needs of the program every year and enter agreements that fit those needs. PRM has also established a standardized, week-long Monitoring & Evaluation course fro all program officers that enhances the Bureau's review of this an other programs.

Evidence: a. Letters from State to voluntary agencies b. PRM M&E Supplementary Explanation (5/26/04)

YES 10%

Are grants awarded based on a clear competitive process that includes a qualified assessment of merit?

Explanation: Requests for proposals define the criteria that must be met to qualify for a cooperative agreement for both overseas operations and reception and placement. For both types of programs, the Admissions office uses panel review, involving other offices in the Bureau and outside agency participation when appropriate. Proposals are scored and recommendations made according to those results. The reception and placement proposals are subject to fair and open competition, however, there have not been any new grantees for some time. Additional organizations have considered applying, but have lost interest after reviewing program guidance (organizations must have nationwide networks and be social service providers in order to apply; few providers exist that have nationwide networks). For efficiency, overseas processing entities are required to be familiar with the U.S. resettlement program. Though reasonable, this parameter further limits the number of organizations eligible for funding.

Evidence: a. Reception and Placement Proposal Guidance, b. Request for Proposals- Overseas Processing Entities

YES 10%

Does the program have oversight practices that provide sufficient knowledge of grantee activities?

Explanation: PRM staff meet regularly with UNHCR, IOM and NGO partners to receive updates and discuss program activities. For reception and placement, program staff conduct monitoring visits to headquarters and affiliate offices, including home visits to refugees. The program officers interview refugees, caseworkers, affiliate directors and HQ staff to assess agency compliance with program requirements. They examine case files and survey houses to ensure refugees received all required supplies and goods. Financial reports from agencies show how funds are being expended. For overseas processing entities, there is a less standardized monitoring process, but PRM staff regularly travels to New York to manage cooperative agreements and overseas processing locations to meet with grantees and discuss program progress and activities with managers. PRM program officers complete a week-long, standardized monitoring and evaluation course to enhance review capacity and program oversight.

Evidence: a. Examiner observations on monitoring trip, b. Volag Affiliate Questionnaire, c. Home Visit Questionnaire, d. Caseworker Questionnaire, e. PRM Monitoring Reports f. PRM M&E Supplementary Explanation (5/26/04) BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Partner Accountability

YES 10%

Does the program collect grantee performance data on an annual basis and make it available to the public in a transparent and meaningful manner?

Explanation: The program collects data on performance and distributes it via its web site.

Evidence: a. www.state.gov/g/prm

YES 10%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 100%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The program has made progress toward achieving each of the three goals, but is still below target for goal 1. Goal 1: Admissions Rates - The program has made steady progress since FY 2002 when stricter requirements were enacted following 9/11, marked by an 18% improvement in performance from FY 2002 to FY 2003; and is expected to achieve its regional target for FY 2004. However, the program did not achieve its goal in FY2003. Goal 2: Processing Reforms - The program is ahead of schedule in achieving program reforms to improve and streamline refugee processing in close collaboration with CDC and DHS. Goal 3: Self-sufficiency for Resettled Refugees - The program continues to improve upon its record for assisting resettled refugees to become self-sufficient in 90 days, with 85% in FY 2003 and is on target to achieve 88% in FY 2004.

Evidence: BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The program has met or exceeded its targets for two of its four annual goals in FY 2003. Although the program achieved gains in FY 2003 for Goal 3, it was slightly below target. Because of security issues related to 9/11, Goal 2 was revised to set a more realistic timeframe for resettlement accounting for more intensive screening activities. The program is on target to achieving all of its annual goals in FY 2004. Goal 1: UNHCR Referral Capacity - The program exceeded its referral target by 47% in FY 2003. Goal 2: Overseas Processing Operations - PRM is on target to achieve its revised goal in FY 2004, an 18% reduction from FY 2003 in the percentage of cases taking longer than six months. Goal 3: Standardized Essential Services - Performance improved by an average of 6% from FY 2002 and FY 2003. Goal 4: Worldwide Database - The WRAPS database has been successfully been developed and deployed worldwide. Now completed, Goal 4 has been discontinued.

Evidence: BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The program has established an efficiency measure: "Total average cost per refugee arrival in the U.S." Per capita costs for FY04 are expected to be 10-15% lower than FY03 at $3,593. To reach its goal of admitting no fewer than 50,000 in FY04, the program has had to incur extraordinary costs (e.g., charter flights, emergency vaccination campaigns). To compensate for unanticipated costs and still bring down per capita cost, PRM managers achieved efficiencies in other aspects of the program. PRM saved $1.7m by consolidating Overseas Processing Entities in the Asia region for FY04, creating 2 regional hubs to cover smaller caseloads and eliminating 2 stand-alone OPEs. PRM negotiated major reductions in R&P agencies' HQ budgets, saving $1.4m (12%). PRM also consolidated IOM's transportation network since FY01, saving $3.5m (20%). Absent these efficiencies, FY04 budget increases to respond to emergencies and accelerate processing in Africa and SE Asia would not have been possible.

Evidence: a. FY 2004 Cooperative Agreements (R&P/OPE) b. 2004 IOM Memorandum of Understanding c. FY 2004 Admissions Program Budgets and Financial Reports BPP Evidence: Goal Papers: Refugee Admissions to the U.S.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: Only a small piece of this program (Reception & Placement with the Department of Health and Human Services) overlaps with another program.


NA 0%

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: In his draft report, independent expert consultant David Martin notes that the program is achieving results, but makes suggestions regarding program direction and ways to improve efficiency in light of the setbacks and challenges of recent years. Results of State Dept IG audit of the program will be available in late FY 2004.

Evidence: a. Martin report b. OIG report (available FY 2004)

YES 25%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 75%

Last updated: 09062008.2004SPR