It has been more than 7 years since the beginning of the conflict in Syria and more than 11 million Syrians have been displaced. Despite a desperate need for peace, the situation in Syria remains dramatically unstable, forcing Syrians to flee their homes amidst unrelenting suffering.
Yet, the U.S. Government’s response is in retreat. Fewer than 50 Syrians have been admitted into the United States to seek protection through resettlement since October. By comparison, in 2016, the United States admitted 15,479 Syrians. And, though there continues to be bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for robust humanitarian assistance for Syrians caught in or displaced by the conflict, the Administration’s budget request proposes significant cuts to the International Affairs Budget, including a 43% cut to development assistance, a 23% cut to global health programs, and a 19% cut to humanitarian assistance.
Jesuit Refugee Service has been serving displaced Syrians since the beginning of the conflict. We have provided shelter and aid in Syria; education for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon, accompaniment for Syrian families dealing with their trauma in Jordan; public awareness campaigns to help integrate Syrians in France; and legal assistance to Syrian refugees in Croatia. JRS knows, first hand, the impact that this devastating conflict is having on innocent lives.
For this World Refugee Day, June 20, 2018, Jesuit Refugee Service USA is inviting us all to join together in calling on the President to stand with and support our Syrian brothers and sisters. When President Trump decided to retaliate against the suspected use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, he said: “this is about humanity.” Help us remind him and the Administration that we continue to have a responsibility to take humanitarian action during this crisis.
Dear Mr. President,
In the past month you have spoken about withdrawal from Syria and referred to our involvement with the country and its people as “mission accomplished.” But, as you’ve so rightly pointed out, “this is about humanity” and more people remain displaced from the conflict in Syria than ever before.
We still stand with our Syrian brothers and sisters. As supporters of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an organization that works with displaced Syrians throughout the world, we urge you to keep Syrians at the forefront of your foreign policy agenda.
We ask that you do this by:
- Resettling Syrian refugees in the United States. Since the beginning of FY18, only 50 Syrians have been able to seek safety in the U.S. through the refugee resettlement program. The U.S. must live up to its current commitment to resettle 45,000 refugees in FY18 and commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees next year.
- Ensuring robust Federal funding for humanitarian aid. As a global leader, the U.S. must share responsibility for the support of Syrian refugees through robust humanitarian assistance both for host countries and for those who are internally displaced. This funding supports programs that provide the most basic necessities of life, including food, water, shelter and education.
- Providing education for displaced Syrian children. Around 2.8 million school-age Syrian children (36%) remain out of school in Syria and in neighboring host countries. These children have the right to go to school and deserve access to a quality education.