TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to Invest in Welcoming Policies, Avoid Government Shutdown

September 14, 2023

Right now, Congress is negotiating federal funding legislation for the upcoming fiscal year, FY 2024, which starts October 1st. This is particularly important because September 30th marks the end of the current fiscal year, and if funding legislation isn’t passed by then, the federal government would shut down. A shutdown grinds to a halt refugee admissions and negatively impacts our ability to care for the most vulnerable among us. Now is a critical time to call for robust investments in the U.S. resettlement program and equipping our communities with the resources they need to help newcomers integrate and thrive. 

Conflict, persecution, and climate change have resulted in an unprecedented 110+ million people displaced worldwide, and ongoing crises in Sudan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela and elsewhere have forced more than 37 million refugees to flee their homes. Bold humanitarian leadership – and bold investment in refugee resettlement – is needed now more than ever. 

But as the September 30th funding deadline approaches, the House and Senate remain far apart on even topline funding numbers. Certain Members of the House are reportedly insisting on dramatic spending cuts – as well as the potential inclusion of harmful asylum restrictions – in order to write a simple short-term “Continuing Resolution” to keep the government funded temporarily while negotiations continue. A Continuing Resolution copies and pastes the previous fiscal year’s budget, with opportunities to include supplemental funding to support certain programs.

Join us in calling on Congress to provide robust funding to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, reduce reliance on immigrant detention, deportations, and border militarization, and ultimately avoid a government shutdown that could inflict devastating consequences on humanitarian programs.


On the right hand side, you can send an email or make a phone call that connects you to your Members of Congress.

Sample Script/Email: My name is [insert name], and as your constituent from [City/Town) and a [person of faith/refugee/member of my community], I urge you to support provisions in an upcoming Fiscal Year 2024 funding package that live up to our legacy as a nation of welcome. Specifically, in a potential Continuing Resolution or supplemental package, I urge you to:

  • Support robust funding for international assistance to refugees around the world and to address delays in the refugee pipeline overseas. I urge you to support $1.2 billion for the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) Account and $1.3 billion for the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) Account, as was included in the White House’s August 10 supplemental request. Concerning international assistance, I further urge you to support $100 million for the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Account. 
  • Support investment in the long-term integration and economic success of newcomers. I urge you to bolster funds for the Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account, which supports the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), including by supporting the $1.9 billion in REA funding in the administration’s anomaly request and the $100 million in REA funding dedicated towards the ongoing resettlement of Ukrainiains fleeing the Russian invasion included in the supplemental request. I further urge you to support housing assistance for all vulnerable populations served by ORR, including by creating a newcomer housing voucher and by authorizing ORR-eligible populations to receive housing support.
  • Include authorization language that lives up to our promises to those fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine. I urge you to support the language that was included in the supplemental request that extends access to refugee benefits for Ukrainians arriving after September 30 via the Uniting for Ukraine program. I further strongly urge you to support the inclusion of the Afghan Adjustment Act (S.2327 / H.R.4627) in any upcoming funding package, as well as bipartisan language to ensure Ukrainian parolees have access to driver’s licenses and a path to permanent status.
  • Reject additional funding for immigrant detention, deportations, and border militarization, instead investing in community wholeness and bolstering local community’s efforts to welcome arriving asylum seekers. Concerning DHS accounts, I urge you to reject additional funds for CBP and ICE enforcement efforts – and to support the $600 million for the Shelter and Services Program that was included in the supplemental request, as well as $600 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to tackle processing backlogs for benefits and status. 

Even a short-term government shutdown could have a devastating impact on refugee resettlement and other critical federal programs. I urge you to come to the table on the critical investments described above – and to reject inhumane proposals that restrict pathways to protection like asylum and parole. Welcoming newcomers is part of what makes this country and our community strong. Thank you.


Share this message with national leaders on social media! See below for sample social media posts and click here for sample graphics

@legislator it’s a fact: Refugees make our communities strong. It is critical for Congress to invest in welcoming programs that allow newcomers to integrate and thrive. #RefugeesWelcome

@legislator Even a brief government shutdown could  devastate the refugee resettlement program. Congress must seek solutions that support the most vulnerable – & reject inhumane poison pills that would harm asylum seekers and others seeking protection!

@legislator Three ways you can invest in our capacity to welcome:
Support overseas refugee assistance accounts
– Support funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement
– Invest in USCIS staffing to address processing backlogs

@legislator The billions of dollars ICE gives to ICE and CBP enforcement should be directed towards programs that welcome the newcomer and accompany the vulnerable!

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