LIRS Fiercely Opposes Administration Plan to Divert Military Funding to Vanity Border Wall Project | LIRS
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LIRS Fiercely Opposes Administration Plan to Divert Military Funding to Vanity Border Wall Project

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September 4, 2019: For Immediate Release

LIRS Fiercely opposes administration plan to divert military funding to vanity border wall project

Baltimore, MD – Amid reports that the Trump administration intends to divert $3.6 billion in military construction project funding to build a border wall, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service unequivocally opposes this latest attempt to militarize the southern border. In a letter to congressional leaders, Defense Secretary Mark Esper specified that a total of 127 military projects in the United States and abroad would be terminated or delayed in order to finance 11 projects on the border.   

“This is the most costly vanity project in American history, and comes at the expense of our national interests at home and abroad, no less,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president & CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “We made a sacred vow to the men and women who serve our country to do everything in our power to protect them as they put their lives on the line for this country. It is disgraceful that we would cut vital funding to our military in the name of a man-made ‘national emergency’” continued Vignarajah. 

This controversial funding maneuver comes in addition to the $2.5 billion the Pentagon had already diverted from its budget this spring in favor of border barriers, despite objections from leaders on the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees. Similarly, Tuesday’s decision has sparked concerns over the legality of such a re-appropriation.  

“The power of the purse is firmly vested in Congress, and to bypass constitutional responsibility in pursuit of a downright un-American wall is deeply disturbing,” remarked Vignarajah.  

The news of diverted funding for a wall also follows the deployment of 6,600 active duty, National Guard and Texas National Guard troops to the southern border earlier this year. 

“The facts are quite clear – we are witnessing the creeping militarization of our border,” noted Vignarajah. “If we put half as many resources into welcoming and integrating newcomers into our communities, our country could simultaneously embrace its legacy as a place of refuge and renew the promise of the American Dream that so many have achieved


Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is one of the largest immigration and refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. 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. 

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