This week we celebrate refugees' courage in overcoming adversity and the many gifts they bring to our community. As refugees and friends of refugees, we know the challenges newcomers face and the need for improved policies and services to help refugees rebuild their lives in the United States.
This year in particular, it is vital that the Office of Refugee Resettlement receives additional funding so that they can care for the growing number of unaccompanied children while maintaining services for refugees. If ORR does not receive additional funds, they will likely cut funding for refugee services.
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR REFUGEES by urging our Members of Congress to ensure that the Office of Refugee Resettlement receives additional funding in FY14 and FY15 to meet the needs of both refugees and unaccompanied children.
BOTH CHAMBERS OF CONGRESS are considering legislation that would greatly assist refugees both in the United States and internationally. Please call your Senators and Representative and urge them to support refugee funding and co-sponsor these bills that will improve the lives of refugees.
Call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 to connect with the offices of your Senators and Representative. Urge them to support:
- The Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account in the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill funds the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), helping refugees integrate in their new communities.
- The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account in the State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations bill funds the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), which provides initial assistance for refugees resettled in the United States and helps refugees and displaced persons internationally.
The Refugee Protection Act (H.R. 1365, S. 645)
- Make refugee and asylum case processing more timely and efficient.
- Better assist torture-survivors and others with mental health issues resulting from the traumas refugees suffered.
- Continue support services beyond the initial resettlement period to help refugees access education, advance their careers and participate fully in their new communities.
The Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act (H.R. 651)
- Increase refugees' access to English and job training programs as they await resettlement processing
- Provide green cards to refugees resettled in the U.S., rather than making them wait a year to apply
- Ensure access to Supplemental Security Income benefits for refugees who are elderly or have disabilities
- Increase initial assistance for refugees every year, extend assistance from 8 to 12 months, expand the Matching Grant Program, improve case management services, and create a fund to help with secondary migration
The Domestic Refugee Resettlement Reform and Modernization Act (H.R. 1784, S. 883)
- Elevate the Office of Refugee Resettlement and strengthen its ability to deal with secondary migration.
- Improve the formula for state funding by considering projected refugee arrival numbers for the upcoming year