CFA 2008 Program Update

cfa-2008-update-1.jpgChaldean Federation of America
  30777 Northwestern Hwy. #300, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
  Phone: 248-851-3023 Fax: 248-851-9551

Contact: Joseph T. Kassab, Executive Director January 12, 2009
cfa-2008-update-2.jpg248- 882-1912 Mobile,


The most significant undertaking of the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA) in 2008 continued to be its endeavor to address the humanitarian challenge of the over two million Iraqi refugees dispersed around the world. Due to CFA’s relentless efforts, and in collaboration with its many partners, 2008 was a rewarding year, marked by humanitarian aid to countless numbers of refugees both here and abroad. CFA has committed its energy to transforming adverse situations of disparity and tragedy into opportunity and, most importantly, into hope. This could not have happened without the support of its own Chaldean American community, resettlement partners, other caring organizations and a huge cadre of compassionate volunteers and friends, and of course, the community-at-large. We are continually inspired by their commitment and are truly grateful for their support.

Highlighting some of the past year’s accomplishments:

Through its advocacy efforts and in alignment with our Operation R-4 Initiative (Research, Relief, Resettle and Re-Empower), the CFA has globally become a voice of Iraqi refugees who have fled their homeland, to the widespread corners of the world, as well as those displaced within their own country.

With the support of various organizations and legislators, CFA provided testimony on Capitol Hill to highlight the plight of the Christian minorities in Iraq, and participated in a number of U.S. government arranged dialogues on refugee issues. It assisted in the introduction of several bills in the House and Senate, initiated by U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Ted Kennedy, and several U.S. Representatives to increase and expedite legitimate admissions to the U.S. Also, as a CASCA (Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America) member, CFA pushed U.S. Congress to earmark $30 million for economic development and humanitarian relief for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq.

On a daily basis, CFA provided consultation to concerned relatives on how to file refugee status for their family members in countries of first asylum, how to counteract denied asylum or refugee petitions, and other humanitarian and civil rights issues, as well as connecting the most needy refugee families to local humanitarian relief agencies in the countries of refuge.

As member of the Refugee Council USA, a coalition of U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) focused on refugee protection and resettlement, CFA continues to work with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (DOS/PRM) to facilitate and expedite refugee processing and resettlement; and, for those resettled in other states, CFA is working with DOS/PRM to allow them to reunite with relatives wherever they reside in the U.S. To date, more than 20,000 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the U.S since we launched Operation R-4., more than half of whom are estimated to be members of the vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities, 17,000 more are expected to be admitted for FY09.

Collaboration with renowned national universities and law firms offered pro-bono legal clinics to assist Iraqi Christians seeking legal immigration. CFA also provided consultation and translation for the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and the Department of Homeland Security detention centers on behalf of detained Iraqi asylees, to avoid deportation and ensure proper treatment. Scores of disputed asylum cases were granted stay in the U.S. due to CFA intervention and providing Affidavit of Expert Witness to US Immigration authorities.

New arrivals seek out the CFA because they know that they are linked by a common heritage and culture and understand their plight and have confidence, trust in the CFA‘s credibility.

CFA assembled and coordinated a coalition of 23 refugee resettlement agencies, community based organizations and faith-based groups to assist in the resettlement and integration of the new arrivals. On all human levels, physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual, CFA recognizes the importance of enhancing self-worth and confidence by helping refugees become self-sufficient and productive, contributing members of society.

To that end, CFA worked closely with many agencies and NGO’s to ensure job placement, especially finding employment for many within its own community. For the hundreds of professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, engineers, and lawyers, CFA is networking with appropriate agencies to facilitate their degree accreditation and certification.

Another great CFA success story is the Adopt-A-Refugee-Family Program, where in 2008 alone, more than 2900 Iraqi refugees were the recipients of over $600,000 donated. 100% of the contributions reach the adopted family in the country of refuge, and CFA pays all processing and program-management expenses.

Other CFA projects in 2008 included the annual Commencement Program, in which nearly 300 high school, college and postgraduate students participated. $40,000 in scholarships was awarded to the top graduates, and a reception followed the event for families and friends. CFA acknowledges its appreciation to the Chaldean American Student Association (CASA), for having taken the lead on this successful project for the past three years.

In addition, CFA continues to be an active member of the Middle Eastern Census 2010 Council, and in 2008 helped provide testing venues and assistance in identifying Chaldean recruiting officers to test and hire community liaison bilinguals, staff, and enumerators.

Moving forward, 2009 priorities will include helping to ensure that flow of arrivals to the U.S. is governed by a well-planned and transparent U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP); working for the expansion of Priority Two (P-2) admissions category to include the vulnerable Iraqi religious minorities; and, inquiring into the State Department’s formula for determining the level of funding to carry out the domestic aspects of resettlement.

The CFA will continue to exercise leadership in assisting its member agencies and supporting them in their own mission of service. As a lead agency on behalf of the most vulnerable population, refugees and their families, CFA reaches across both the private and public sectors of the community to forge ahead in its advocacy efforts.

The CFA relies primarily on the generosity of donors and sponsors to fund its humanitarian efforts. In order to sustain and increase its capacity, it will launch an expansive public outreach campaign through its website and other sources to raise awareness of refugee needs and the multi-services provided.