STATEMENT – Administration’s 2020 Budget Proposal Fails to Provide Safe and Secure Conditions for Children
For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2019
BALTIMORE—On March 11, the Administration submitted its 2020 spending proposal, in which funding for critical programming to protect children was an afterthought in a fiscal love note to border enforcement.
“In the midst of a growing humanitarian crisis at our border, this budget proposal is dangerously misguided,” said President and CEO of LIRS Krish O’Mara Vignarajah. “At a time when programs for unaccompanied children are needed more desperately than ever, it is shameful to prioritize building walls over child welfare.”
The budget proposal, which allocates upwards of ten billion dollars for border wall construction and immigration detention, sets aside just 480 million dollars for the care of unaccompanied children – a total of 734 million over the next four years.
Meanwhile, the proposed budget increases defense spending to a staggering $750 billion.
“Imagine if we diverted just a fraction of that defense spending toward family case management and expedited vetting of refugees and asylum seekers,” said Vignarajah. “These are investments that could truly change the landscape of immigration for decades to come.”
Although the president’s budget lays out a blueprint for the Administration’s priorities in the coming year, the 2020 spending bill will undergo rigorous negotiations in Congress, as representatives seek to balance the budget to address competing priorities.
“A budget is a moral document. It is a declaration of this country’s commitment to its people, to those that rely on us – and it is a reflection of the values we choose to uphold,” said Vignarajah. “It is my deepest hope that, while deliberating on immigration spending, Congress will prioritize humanitarian solutions over brute-strength enforcement.”
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest immigration and refugee resettlement agencies in the United States, and only one of two agencies that helped reunite children with parents after family separations. LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.