FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2018
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Church World Service Rejects President Trump’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2019
Slashes refugees assistance overseas, dismantles resettlement & throws money at border wall, detention & deportation
Washington, D.C. – Church World Service rejects President Trump’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2019, which was released today. On top of cutting refugee resettlement, the request makes it clear that the administration is opposed to helping refugees overseas, despite their claims to the contrary. While cutting life-saving humanitarian aid, Trump is requesting $1.5 billion to deport and detain our community members, and $2.6 billion to build a wasteful wall. Turning our backs on vulnerable individuals is not only an affront to our faith, which instructs us to welcome the stranger, but also to our values as a country, which has historically led in both assisting refugees overseas and helping them rebuild their lives in the United States.
“The Trump administration has not been straightforward with the American people, claiming that cutting refugee resettlement in the United States would allow them to help more refugees overseas,” said Erol Kekic, Executive Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program. “Clearly, we can see from Trump’s budget request that their plan is to cut off life-saving humanitarian aid while simultaneously negating the values enshrined on the Statue of Liberty. As we face the world’s worst refugee crisis in history – and an exponential increase in the number of human trafficking survivors – now is the time to increase these humanitarian accounts, or at a bare minimum, to fund them at the same levels they were funded in 2017.”
Specifically, Trump’s budget would zero-out the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (EMRA) account, which would severely hamper our country’s ability to respond to displacement emergencies and promote stability in regions dealing with crises. His request to cut the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) by 16 percent cut would deny life-sustaining assistance for refugees overseas and forfeit our credibility on the global stage. Trump’s request would cut resettlement services within the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) by 26 percent, furthering his administration’s dismantling of the refugee resettlement program and breaking the U.S. government’s promise both to refugees and the communities that welcome them.
The President’s request for $2.6 billion to fund a border wall and $1.5 billion to increase detention and deportation would exponentially ramp up discriminatory targeting of our immigrant brothers and sisters. As Leviticus 19:33-34 reminds us: “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”
CWS urges Congress to protect refugee resettlement in the United States and humanitarian assistance overseas by rejecting Trump’s plans to cut funds for these programs. We also urge Congress to keep Trump from throwing money at detention and deportation. We cannot continue to turn our backs on those who deserve our help the most.
Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at GreaterAs1.org.