CWS Urges Congress to Protect Refugees, Maintain Ability to Welcome in Budget Negotiations

November 13, 2023

Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today called on Congress to prioritize refugees and our newest neighbors as they consider any continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. The call follows the recent proposal by Republican members of the House of Representatives—led by Speaker Mike Johnson—for a budget that excludes critical services for Afghan and Ukrainian humanitarian parolees who have arrived since October 1st. CWS notes that these groups were wrongfully excluded in earlier budget proposals in September, and this negligence must be rectified. 

A clean CR that is intended to maintain the status quo and preserve current protections and critical programs should extend eligibility for Afghan and Ukrainian humanitarian parolees for services and provide additional funding for vital refugee-related accounts. Undermining vital services for refugees and new Americans is an active choice to neglect and harm families seeking safety in the United States. In the last two years, American communities overwhelmingly turned out to welcome these vulnerable families, as well as others forced from their homes. This is not the moment to betray our spirit of welcome, it’s the time to enforce it. We call on Congress to prioritize this vital support in any continuing resolution moving forward,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy with CWS.  “We see first-hand that American communities are continuing to welcome, they simply need their elected officials to provide the resources to help our new neighbors achieve success. Any CR without additional dollars for ORR or PRM represents a funding cut; one that places unneeded stress on our local communities to fill the gaps left by Congress. We call on Congress to heed both the will of their constituents and the moral imperative that our nation was founded upon.” 

CWS notes that as the deadline for the government shutdown looms, it is imperative that Congress avoids proposals that leave asylum seekers, refugees, and other vulnerable groups as collateral damage. Importantly, any continuing resolution must include additional resources and congressional authorizations for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to ensure our local communities have the resources they need to help new arrivals integrate and achieve self-sufficiency. To forego those elements now is to intentionally divest in the lives of those attempting to rebuild their lives in safety. 

For more information, or to speak with Owen, contact