Refugee Funding Cuts Proposed for FY 2012

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On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOps) approved its fiscal year (FY) 2012 spending bill, which overseas funding to the Department of State that is integral for refugee protection and admissions.

LIRS is concerned that the bill would cut life-saving aid to refugees around the world. Specifically, the bill would cut funding for the Department of State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account by $190 million from FY 2011 funding levels. The MRA account provides funding for refugee protection and admissions, including services to resettled refugees when they first arrive to the United States. This cut in funding will mean that fewer refugees will receive assistance in the form of food, shelter and basic health needs that they desperately need both abroad and at home.

The measure would also decrease funding for the Emergency Refugee Migration Account (ERMA) by 68%. ERMA is reserve funding that allows the Department of State to respond suddenly to emergency humanitarian crises. Cuts would have an impact on international peace and security.

Additionally, the bill would cut the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account by $108 million, this after IDA funding was already cut by $460 million in FY 2011. The IDA provides funding to internally displaced people in places like Haiti, Afghanistan and Colombia. A cut to this account will mean that when countries experience a devastating natural disaster, like the earthquake in Haiti, the Department of State will be less equipped to offer assistance. It would mean that people fleeing their homes to escape persecution and violence in countries like Colombia would be at further risk.

The United States is a world leader in providing protection and assistance to the most vulnerable victims of world conflicts. If these funds are cut, the United States risks failing to live up to its humanitarian obligations. Join LIRS in calling for a preservation of life-saving assistance to refugees seeking lives free from oppression.

LIRS’s advocacy office works for justice for all of America’s newcomers—immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, torture survivors and migrant children. Advocates engage in dialogue with the White House, Congress, and federal agencies to reform laws and promote a fair and humane system for newcomers.

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