JRS Advocates for Strong Refugee Aid in Federal Budget

13 March 2019

Executive Director, Joan Rosenhauer, testified before the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs in support of refugee education. (Jesuit Refugee Education)

Yesterday, the Trump administration released their Budget Request for the Fiscal Year 2020. For the third year in a row, the Administration has proposed cuts to humanitarian and development assistance programs with significant impacts on refugees. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is deeply concerned about this proposal, which includes a 34 percent decrease in overall humanitarian assistance funding and a 62 percent cut in International Basic Education funding, compared to FY19 enacted levels.

Programs funded by the U.S. Government help provide assistance to the more than 68 million refugees and other forcibly displaced persons around the world. The proposed budget would cut funding at a time when the need for U.S. engagement and leadership is at its greatest. From the Venezuelan crisis in our own hemisphere to the Syrian conflict entering its ninth year, this is the time for the U.S. to remain engaged in helping those who are at their most vulnerable.

Today, JRS/USA testified before the House State & Foreign Operations Subcommittee to make the case for investing in programs that improve access to education for refugees around the world. “Helping the millions of children around the world who have been traumatized by violence and forced displacement recover and build toward a brighter future is not only a moral obligation but a wise global development strategy,” says Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, JRS/USA.

Often the most vulnerable are children and youth striving to achieve an education and build a future for themselves and their families. Girls, in particular, are at a disadvantage as they are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in countries affected by conflict.

JRS/USA’s new policy brief – Her Future: Challenges and Recommendations to Increase Education for Refugee Girls – notes that, despite substantial progress in increasing access to girls’ education around the world over the last two decades, refugee girls remain left behind.   While the FY20 Budget Request acknowledges the importance of “placing a greater emphasis on educating children and youth who are facing adversity, conflict, and crisis, particularly girls and those who are displaced,” there must be sufficient resources to meet these global challenges.

“In the midst of record levels of global displacement, the U.S. must prioritize assistance to the most vulnerable, rather than diminish its leadership role in providing critical humanitarian assistance,” says Giulia McPherson, JRS/USA Director of Advocacy & Operations.

JRS/USA urges Congress to oppose these proposed cuts and to continue investing in humanitarian programs that create real impact in the lives of refugees and displaced people each and every day.