From: The Honorable Juan Vargas
Sent By:
Date: 3/10/2016

Support Refugee-Related Accounts in FY17 Appropriations

**Programmatic Request**
Deadline: COB on March 21st, 2016

Click here to add your boss to the letter

Supporting Organizations: Church World Service, Refugee Solidarity Network, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Human Rights First, HIAS, Florida Council of Churches, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, UURISE – Unitarian Universalist Refugee & Immigrant Services & Education, National Immigrant Justice Center, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Survivors of Torture International, National Council of Churches, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, Islamic Relief USA, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, International Rescue Committee, Episcopal Migration Ministries, National Immigration Forum, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, National Immigration Law Center, and Oxfam International

Cosigners (34): Sheila Jackson Lee, Barbara Lee, Ruben Gallego, Gwen Moore, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Filemon Vela, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charles B. Rangel, Keith Ellison, Paul D. Tonko, Seth Moulton, Jan Schakowsky, Luis V. Gutiérrez, James R. Langevin, John Yarmuth, Mark Takano, Sander Levin, Susan A. Davis, Mike Quigley, Frederica S. Wilson, Anna G. Eshoo, Chellie Pingree, Grace F. Napolitano, Earl Blumenauer, Joe Courtney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Lloyd Doggett, Donald S. Beyer, Jr., Raul M. Grijalva, William R. Keating, Bobby L. Rush, Yvette D. Clarke and Adam Smith

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to join us in supporting refugee-related accounts for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 appropriations submissions. As you may know, 60 million people are displaced around the world, the largest number since World War II. Historically, the United States has recognized its moral and legal imperative to lead by example in addressing global issues such as refugee resettlement. That is why our nation is the largest resettlement country in the world, taking in almost 70 percent of all refugees resettled by the UNHCR globally last year.  Last year, the Obama Administration announced an increase in refugee admissions, from 70,000 last fiscal year, to 85,000 in FY2016 and 100,000 in FY2017. In order to meet the needs of refugee assistance and resettlement programs, we must ensure that adequate funding is provided to local communities to help refugees integrate and thrive.

We are asking that the respective appropriations subcommittees substantially increase funds to meet the Administration’s needs for the following refugee-related accounts:

The Refugee and Entrant Assistance account in the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill.
The Migration and Refugee Assistance account in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill.
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill.
The International Disaster Assistance account in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill.
The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

To join us on this letter, please click here to add your boss’s name. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact Aaron Allen at (202-225-8045).


Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress
March XX, 2016
The Honorable Tom Cole, Chair                          The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor              Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor
Health and Human Services, Education              Health and Human Service, Education
and Related Agencies                                       and Related Agencies
2358-B Rayburn HOB                                        2413 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20510                                    Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Kay Granger, Chair                      The Honorable Nita Lowey, Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations                             Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,      Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations
and Related Programs                                       and Related Programs
HT-2, the Capitol                                               1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515                                      Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable John Carter                                 The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Chair                                                                Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Homeland Security                 Subcommittee on Homeland Security
Committee on Appropriations                             Committee on Appropriations
B-307 Rayburn House Office Building                 1016 Longworth House Office Building
United States House of Representatives             United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                                     Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chair Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro, Chair Granger and Ranking Member Lowey, and Chair Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:

As you consider funding for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), we write to urge you to include robust funding for key accounts affecting refugees and other vulnerable populations.  The Administration has proposed to resettle 100,000 eligible refugees by the end of FY17.  Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Committee ensure we can meet the needs of these vulnerable communities by allocating $2.95 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account, $3.604 billion for the Department of State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account, $100 million for the Department of State’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) account,  $2.8 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account, and explore options for enhancing funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education:

The Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account in the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill funds the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which helps states and local communities welcome and support refugees and other vulnerable populations on their path to self-sufficiency.  In addition to refugees, ORR also serves increasing numbers of unaccompanied children, asylees, Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, Cuban and Haitian entrants, victims of human trafficking, and victims of torture.  We request that Congress allocate $2.95 billion for the agency to adequately serve all of the populations within its mandate and respond to unanticipated needs.

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs:

The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account funds the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).  This account provides overseas assistance to displaced refugees, supporting refugee admissions, and funding lifesaving services in humanitarian emergencies.  The crises in Syria and Iraq continue to escalate dramatically, and there are likewise serious humanitarian challenges in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burma, and Central American countries.  Therefore, we request $3.604 billion, which will be critical to ensure that PRM can continue to service currently displaced populations while responding to numerous emerging humanitarian crises.

Escalating violence and instability in many parts of the world have placed increasing demands on the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) account—an emergency draw-down account that provides an important “safety valve” during emergencies.  The ERMA authorized level has not been increased since the mid-1990s.  We request the Committee fund this account at $100 million in order to enhance our country’s ability to respond quickly to unanticipated crises, and expeditious, draw-down authority provided to the Secretary of State.

The International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account funds humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons.  Meeting the needs of internally displaced persons is one way to prevent the need for them to flee their countries of origin and become refugees.  In order to meet these needs, we request that the Committee allocates $2.8 billion in order to meet the needs of growing numbers of persons worldwide who are displaced within their own countries, including those inside Syria and Iraq.

Homeland Security:

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plays an important role in processing applications for refugees, asylees, and other humanitarian programs. Currently, USCIS is fee-funded by applicants for non-immigrant visas and other immigration applications.  Thus, USCIS faces the challenge of increased backlogs and delays in the processing of refugee and asylum applications.  We urge appropriators to work with USCIS to identify whether additional funds could enhance USCIS’s ability to ensure timely processing of refugee and asylum applications, including the carrying out of security screening

The United States remains deeply committed to safeguarding the American public from terrorists, just as we are committed to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. These goals are not mutually exclusive, and can be pursued in harmony. Our first priority is the safety of the American people.  That’s why, even as the United States accepts more refugees—including Syrians—we do so only after subjecting them to the most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveler to the United States.

We deeply appreciate your support for these services and your consideration of these requests, as we seek to provide this critical funding to serve and protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people and maintain our legacy as a global humanitarian leader.