1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

President’s Budget Proposal Fails Refugees, Betrays American Tradition of Welcome

By Yasmine Taeb, May 26, 2017


The President’s proposed cuts to several refugee accounts would jeopardize the long-standing tradition of the U.S. welcoming vulnerable populations fleeing violence and persecution. In the midst of the worst global refugee crisis, by reducing our commitment to welcome refugees and cutting vital funding, will send a deeply troubling message to international partners in terms of the U.S. role in humanitarian assistance.

If enacted, President Trump’s proposed budget would hamstring the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program and undermine U.S. support for refugees around the world.

Overall, the President proposes reducing all Refugee and Entrant Assistance Activities by $218 million from FY 2017 levels; reducing Migration and Refugee Assistance by $0.313 billion; reducing International Disaster Assistance by $1.3 billion; and completely eliminating the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account which was funded at $50 million in FY17.

The President also proposes reducing annual refugee admissions to 50,000 which will be the lowest in the history of the U.S. refugee resettlement program.

Specific cuts to the Refugee Assistance Accounts include:

  • Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) (\$1.675 billion) reduced to $1.457 billion. The Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) Account provides critical initial investments in the long-term integration and economic success of certain new Americans, including people who are building new lives after surviving persecution, torture, trauma, and human trafficking.

  • Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) ($3.059 billion) reduced to $2.746 billion. The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) Account is administered by the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in order to help ensure that families fleeing life-threatening situations can find temporary protection in countries where they are displaced.

  • International Disaster Assistance (IDA) ($3.811 billion) reduced to $2.508 billion. IDA funds humanitarian assistance to people displaced by disaster, conflict, and war.

  • Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) eliminated ($50 million). The Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Account is an emergency draw-down account that is administered by the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). It provides an important safety valve during emergencies, allowing the U.S. to meet rapidly-occurring and unforeseen humanitarian needs which will allow the U.S. to respond quickly and effectively to unanticipated crises.

President Trump’s proposed budget would not only prevent thousands of refugees from resettling in the U.S. this year, but it would also do lasting damage to the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program as a whole. Resettlement offices that are forced to downsize or even close, would struggle to recover from this blow. But only Congress has the authority to pass a budget. To show true leadership, U.S. Senators and House Members must speak out and reject these cuts. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to reject the President’s immoral budget.

Press Release 32 Faith-Based Organizations Share 2017 Environmental Vision 

Thirty-two religious organizations released a letter to the President-elect and his transition team, urging him to support policies that will safeguard God’s creation, address the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable, and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations in the United States and internationally.

Yasmine Taeb

  • Legislative Representative for Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Yasmine directs FCNL’s work on a number of human rights and civil liberties issues, including lobbying for increased resettlement of Syrian refugees, more transparency and oversight of the U.S. lethal drones program, calling for the closure of Guantanamo, and for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF, among other issues.