Thursday, November 19, 2015

PCUSA Joins 24 Faith Groups to Advocate for Full Funding for Refugee Resettlement

November 12, 2015

Senate Leadership
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515

House Leadership
Members of the House Appropriations Committee U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Member of Congress,

We, the undersigned national faith-based organizations, write to urge you to allocate necessary funds for refugee assistance and resettlement in fiscal year 2016.

Our many faith traditions call us to welcome the stranger; a sentiment that is not simply an ideal it must be a reality that we practice. As we grapple with increasingly heartbreaking and tragic reports of Syrian refugees seeking safety in the region and in Europe, coupled with the over 60 million people displaced worldwide, there is a clear imperative to respond. The United States has a responsibility to act with historic leadership and compassion in response to the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

With the President’s call to increase refugee resettlement from the current 70,000 level to 85,000 in FY16 and 100,000 in FY17, Congress must also stand strong with those seeking safety and provide the initial assistance needed to build a new life. From administering life-saving assistance overseas to supporting local communities with the resettlement process, these funds are crucial in ensuring the success of the U.S. refugee resettlement program at all levels. When we invest in the lives and success of refugees, we strengthen both our position internationally and our local communities. In the face of this overwhelming need, we strongly urge you to robustly allocate specific funds for refugee assistance during the FY16 appropriations process.

We ask that the subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies allocate:
  • $2.42 billion for International Disaster Assistance, to respond to the growing numbers of persons internally displaced, particularly in Syria and Iraq. 
  • $3.6 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance to assist refugees abroad and identify, process, and provide initial integration assistance to refugees resettled in the United States.  
  • $250 million for Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance to enhance the United States' ability to respond quickly and effectively to unanticipated crises, such as those in and around Syria.

We ask that the subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies allocate:

  • $2.44 billion for Refugee and Entrant Assistance to ensure local communities have the resources they need to help refugees integrate and thrive as they rebuild their lives.

We ask that the subcommittee for Homeland Security allocate:

  • $49.6 million for the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to screen refugees for resettlement to the United States, a process that is currently fee-funded.

Now is the time for this nation to take a leading role in response to this ever-growing crisis. With these funds, Congress can ensure safe and expedient resettlement for those most at risk, aid individuals internationally displaced, prepare communities to welcome refugees, and ensure their success and self-sufficiency in the United States.

As people led by faith we recognize this as an opportunity to truly put our faith into action and live up to our responsibility to welcome the stranger, love our neighbor, and accompany the vulnerable. We ask that Congress seize the occasion to act.


African American Ministers in Action
American Jewish Committee (AJC)
Bread for the World
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada Christian Reformed Church in North America

Church of the Brethren
Church World Service
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Islamic Society of North America
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Council of Jewish Women
National Justice for Our Neighbors
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society