Thursday, June 2, 2011

World Relief Refugee and Immigration Advocacy Update June 2, 2011-Funding Update


The FY11 budget deal was approved as HR.1473 on April 15th, and refugee accounts were not substantially cut! We came out amazingly well. We actually got an INCREASE in funding relative to fiscal year 2010 (if you don't include the FY '10 Supplemental or the across-the-board cuts).  And we only took a $25 million hit in the ORR account, which we would have had anyway because they had "rollover" money from the prior year.  The across-the-board cuts only amounted to a .2 percent cut. Attached is a more detailed analysis, as well as the entire bill, and a summary is below:

  • The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account, which funds the R&P grant and overseas assistance to refugees, was funded at $1.69 billion, $160 million less than the total amount appropriated in FY10.  While this is technically a cut, this is a victory for refugee advocates, as the House had proposed a $827 million decrease in funding, and the overall reduction was only a 0.2% cut. Overall this is very good. MRA is lower than the level enacted in FY10 ($1.85 billion, which includes supplemental funding) but higher than the President’s request.
  • ORR was also spared drastic cuts—the bill only rescinds $25 million in unspent ORR funds (mainly from state reimbursement of cash and medical costs and the unaccompanied alien children program), but the House had proposed rescinding $77 million in unspent funds from ORR, so again, this is a victory for refugee advocates.
  • The International Disaster Assistance account was funded at $863 million, which is lower than what was available last year ($1.3 billion – which includes a big supplemental for Haiti), but actually higher than the president’s request. On ORR we are pleased that no funds were cut and they were able to keep some of the funds that were unspent.

  While we avoided massive cuts to the refugee program for Fiscal Year 2011, that's only until the end of September this year. Congress is already working on an appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2012, and many members are proposing drastic cuts, even more drastic than we faced this year, for 2012.

We are asking for FY12 funding for MRA at least at FY11 levels of $1.69 billion, and FY12 funding for ORR at $825 million, the President’s request.  Please continue to call your members of congress, urging them to support adequate funding for refugees in FY12. Keep a look out for additional advocacy alerts and materials as the FY12 process moves forward. 

TAKE ACTION NOW! Ask your Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the bill!

Jenny Yang is Director of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief. Jenny has provide the information in these posts to people how have signed up for advocacy updates on World Relief’s Advocacy website. She is also co-author with Matthew Soerens of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate.