UPDATE : Thanks for making calls today! However, a massive snowstorm (dubbed “The Snowquester” by the weather pundits for its government-paralyzing effects) means that some Congressional offices in Washington, DC may not be open. If you have trouble reaching your three members of Congress or Speaker Boehner, try calling again on Thursday or Friday.
Five days after the sequester deadline has passed and with a looming expiration of the Continuing Resolution currently funding the federal government, I’m pleased to share the thoughts of Kimberly Haynes, Director for Children’s Services at LIRS, on the funding crisis facing the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). As she explains, we need your help on Wednesday with a national call-in day!
As I think about the dangerous journey thousands of unaccompanied children endure as they seek protection, safety, and family reunification in the United States, I’m grateful for my staff and our network of partners across the country working to provide support like foster care and family reunification services to these highly vulnerable young migrants and their families.
As you may recall from a recent blog post, the funding allocated by Congress for unaccompanied children in fiscal year (FY) 2013 is based on estimates that 14,000 such children will arrive. However, new estimates indicate that as many as 20,000 children will come to the United States in FY 2013.
In light of the higher numbers of children arriving alone and seeking protection or to reunite with family, ORR predicts a budget shortfall of nearly $100 million unless the agency receives increased funding from Congress. This shortfall would severely impact the ability of the agency to adequately serve all the populations it is mandated to protect.
As debates on the federal budget continue on Capitol Hill, now is the time to make our voices heard and lift up the stories of those whom a budget shortfall will most severely affect. I invite you to join LIRS tomorrow, Wednesday March 6, for a national call-in day to support critical services to refugees and unaccompanied migrant children. Ask your members of Congress for their leadership in protecting migrants when you call and send a message online through LIRS’s Action Center.