CWS Opposes President Trump’s Budget Request that would Gut Life-Saving Humanitarian Assistance, Balloon Irresponsible Deportation Force

May 23, 2017

The humanitarian agency urges Congress to protect funds for the vulnerable and restore U.S. leadership

Washington, D.C. – CWS condemned President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request, released today, which attempts to significantly reduce funding for international poverty-focused assistance and refugee resettlement, while expanding a deportation force that separates families and destroys communities.

“This is a devastating blow for the mom, dad and kids across the globe who are struggling to survive in poverty, as well as refugees seeking safety and immigrants pursuing a better life in the United States, which prides itself on being a beacon of hope,” said The Rev. John L. McCullough, CWS President and CEO. “The sacred responsibility of government is the well-being of the human person. All people should have access to nutritious food, clean water, adequate shelter, good schools, reasonable health care, and protection of their human rights. The United States helps make this possible by giving much-needed financial and technical support throughout the developing world.

“CWS member communions, international offices, and local refugee resettlement offices know first-hand how critical these funds are for people working to lift themselves out of poverty, as well as both refugees and the local communities that welcome them. We are outraged by this budget, which would turn our backs on the world’s most vulnerable and resilient people and dismantle the reputation of U.S. leadership in combating hunger and poverty and welcoming new Americans. We urge Congress to reject this budget request and fully fund these humanitarian and refugee protection programs.”

Trump’s budget would completely zero out international development assistance to poor countries and global health programs, including funding for HIV-AIDs, nutrition assistance, food aid, and international climate funding. The budget request would cut refugee resettlement services by 30 percent, hurting local U.S. communities that promote refugee integration and provide services for refugees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders who served alongside U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, unaccompanied children, asylees, and Cuban and Haitian entrants. And while the administration inaccurately asserts that reducing resettlement can increase assistance to refugees overseas, the Migration and Refugee Assistance account would be cut by 10 percent, and the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account, which allows the United States to respond to displacement emergencies and prevent regional instability, would be eliminated completely. The International Disaster Assistance account, which provides life-saving assistance to internally displaced persons so that they do not have to become refugees, would also be cut by 34 percent.

While dismantling U.S. leadership on international assistance and refugee protection, Trump’s budget would increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by seven percent to deport members of our communities, separate families, and destroy communities. This includes $2.6 billion to further militarize U.S. border communities, $300 million to hire 1,500 additional deportation officers, and $1.5 billion to expand efforts to detain and remove undocumented members of our communities. CWS calls on Congress to restore funding for international poverty-focused assistance and refugee protection and resettlement, and to reduce DHS funding that harms and divides communities.

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.

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