December 23, 2022
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) applauds Congress for passage of the FY23 Omnibus Appropriations package which will ensure that vital refugee assistance programs continue to be funded at a time of historic need. Today, more than 103 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes and new and protracted crises continue to cause instability throughout the world.
“U.S. Government support for global and domestic refugee protection programs provide critical assistance to individuals and families affected by crisis and conflict,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, JRS/USA. “From supporting education and psychosocial support initiatives around the world to ensuring that asylum seekers arriving at our border have access to the services they require, U.S. funding and policy directives send an essential message that refugees must be prioritized.”
The FY23 Omnibus includes more than $4.4 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance programs and $970 million for international basic education, both increases over FY22 funding levels. International basic education funding includes $30 million for Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, a $5 million increase from FY22. JRS/USA, along with partners, also calls on the U.S. to make a substantial financial commitment to ECW at its High-Level Financing Conference taking place in February 2023.
Access to post-secondary education for refugees is also highlighted with the inclusion of report language submitted by JRS/USA. This language encourages the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to support efforts to increase enrollment of refugees in technical and vocational training and traditional degree and diploma programs that prioritize local market needs, career counseling, and gender equity.
Disappointingly, the FY23 Omnibus did not include the Afghan Adjustment Act which would have offered thousands of Afghans evacuated to the U.S. after the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021 the opportunity to apply for legal permanent status. The future of Afghans currently in the U.S. under a temporary protection measure called humanitarian parole is now in question.
“We are deeply disappointed that our Afghan brothers and sisters will continue to face uncertainty as they work to rebuild their lives in the United States,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy, JRS/USA. “We look forward to working with new and returning members of the upcoming 118th Congress to ensure that all refugees and asylum seekers receive the protection and security they are afforded under U.S. and international law.”