Each year the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration allocates funding to help refugees, other migrants, internally displaced persons and stateless people. The Bureau has a responsibility to the American taxpayer and to those we help to make sure the money is spent as effectively as possible.

How does the Bureau decide which programs to support?

The first step each year is to develop a plan. Working with other bureaus in the Department of State and with other U.S. government agencies, officials in the Bureau identify groups that need assistance and determine priority interventions to address this need. This research becomes the basis for the Bureau Strategic Plan and a Congressional Presentation Document, which detail the Bureau’s priorities and programs. To meet the goals laid out in the plan, the Bureau, on behalf of the U.S. government and the American people, funds the work of international organizations and non-governmental organizations. Most PRM-managed contributions go to international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Organization for Migration.

PRM allocates the majority of the Bureau’s remaining Overseas Assistance contributions to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that also provide essential services to refugees and other people affected by displacement or conflict. NGOs compete for these funds based on Funding Opportunity Announcements, which the Bureau issues on a regular basis.

The Bureau conducts formal competitive reviews of proposals submitted in response to its Funding Opportunity Announcements. The proposals that NGOs submit are evaluated on the criteria and priorities listed in the related PRM funding announcement and in the context of available funding. The Bureau and its grantees sign framework agreements.

How does the Bureau monitor the assistance and admissions programs it funds?

Once a project is underway, Bureau program officers review regularly submitted narrative, statistical, and financial reports and stay in touch with staff from the headquarters of the particular international or non-governmental organization to make sure the programs are going forward as planned. In addition, regional refugee coordinators (based at U.S. embassies) and program officers (based in Washington) visit project sites overseas, while refugee admissions staff (based in Washington) inspect domestic resettlement centers. This oversight is essential to ensure that the programs we fund meet the required standards and produce the results specified in cooperative agreements and international organization appeals.

Meanwhile, the Bureau’s Office of the Comptroller, the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the Bureau’s spending to ensure that programs stay within budget and meet the project’s stated objectives.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future