The Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) is deeply concerned about the proposed cuts to humanitarian aid and refugee services in the Budget Request announced today by the Trump Administration. The FY19 Federal Budget Request includes a 30 percent cut to critical humanitarian aid, with significant impacts on the more than 65.6 million refugees and other forcibly displaced persons around the world. The Budget Request also indicates the President’s desire to continue to limit the number of refugees resettled in the United States.
“We are deeply troubled that the Trump Administration continues to assert a lack of leadership and compassion for our sisters and brothers around the world,” says Giulia McPherson, JRS/USA Interim Executive Director. “We see the effects of war, persecution and trauma on individuals and families as well as the hope, security, and stability that programs like those funded by the U.S. Government bring as refugees recover and rebuild their lives.”
According to UNHCR, we are currently witnessing the highest levels of global displacement on record, with 20 people displaced from their homes every minute. This includes the more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh from violence and persecution, creating the largest refugee camp in the world. It includes places like Syria, close to entering its eighth year of conflict; South Sudan, only second to Syria in the number of people who have been forced from their homes; and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is experiencing a deepening displacement crisis. Now, more than ever, the U.S. must demonstrate leadership by helping to provide food, shelter, and education to those who need it most.
The proposed budget would slash chronically underfunded programs that assist refugees at home and abroad, some of which have a particular impact on displaced children. Of the 6.4 million school-age children under UNHCR’s mandate, more than half – 3.5 million – are out of school, and still education remains one of the least-funded humanitarian sectors. JRS/USA urges the Administration to not back down support for programs for refugee education and to invest in bilateral support and multilateral partnerships like Education Cannot Wait. Through programs like these the U.S. can help address some of today’s most dire crises.
The Budget Request is just that, a request, but is a representation of much more. It is important to continue to inform the Administration that it is not a representation that we all share, and that this budget is a departure from funding that is essential to saving lives, and building a better world not just for refugees, but for us all. Click here to take action.
Serving humanity is a calling second to none.