Business profile of Volags Recognized by Judges

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on September 7 that refugee resettlement agencies have an interest in being able to bring in approved refugees despite the Trump administration’s temporary suspension of new arrivals from specified countries that have active jihadist movements. These agencies label themselves Volags, meaning voluntary organizations, to project the image of volunteers working altruistically to provide succor to endangered refugees.

We who have observed the work of these Volags over the years know that, in fact, they have a business model centered on obtaining U.S. government funds plus charitable contributions to keep a cadre of often open border enthusiasts employed. The business model of the Volags benefited greatly by the Obama administration’s decision to double refugee admissions to over 100,000. They have had to slash their budgets when the Trump administration restored that refugee ceiling to a more traditional level of 50,000.

No doubt there are many well-meaning, dedicated volunteers who contribute their services to the Volags, but the underlying structure of the organizations – frequently religious based, as in the case of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society – is operated as a business, and the health of the business depends on a steady flow of new refugees. By accepting that Volags would face a “hardship” if approved refugees are not able to travel, the Appeals Court ruling appears to have recognized that interest.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).

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