Your help is needed!
Take Action NOW: Contact your Senators and Representative by e-mail, phone, FAX or U.S. Mail:
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
- Send the e-mail below. (You can also send the email by clicking on “Take Action”.)
- Additional contact info can be found on Members’ web site at: www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.
- Share this action alert with your social media networks.
Problem: As Congress negotiates a spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2012, it is imperative that you weigh in with your Senator and Representative and urge them to oppose drastic cuts to funding for refugees and other vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad.
Two subcommittees of the House Committee on Appropriations provide the bulk of funding for refugee-related agencies, departments, activities, and functions:
- State Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, which appropriates funds for the federal government’s refugee admissions & overseas refugee assistance (MRA), and Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) accounts. The allocations announced last week would cut that Subcommittee’s allocation from $48.16 billion in fiscal year 2011 to just $39.57 billion in fiscal year 2012. This would represent a cut of by $8.593 billion, or 17.8 %, in fiscal year 2012 relative to fiscal year 2011.
- Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which appropriates funds for the federal government’s refugee resettlement, unaccompanied alien children, trafficking victim assistance, and torture victim assistance programs. The allocations announced last week would cut that Subcommittee’s allocation from $157.436 billion in fiscal year 2011 to just $139.218 billion in fiscal year 2012. This would represent a cut of $18.218 billion, or 11.6 %, in fiscal year 2012 relative to fiscal year 2011.
The next step in the process is the mark-up of these bills in their respective House subcommittees, which will happen in late July. The Senate will likely mark-up its appropriations bills after the August Congressional recess.
The Catholic Church has long advocated on behalf of refugee populations. In his most recent World Day of Migrants and Refugees message, Pope Benedict XVI declared that “welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is for everyone an imperative gesture of human solidarity, so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and disinterest. This means that those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety …” (click here). For this reason, we urge you to let your Senators and Members know that refugee protection is an important humanitarian priority and that cuts of this magnitude would have devastating effects on their constituents and programs within their districts.