Jan. 24, 2014 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Welcomes Increase in Funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement

For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Tara Mulder
tmulder@lirs.org, 410-230-2756

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 24, 2014 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) applauds the increase in funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in H.R. 3347, the omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the federal government for the remainder of FY14. The bill includes $1.486 billion for ORR, nearly $500 million more than FY13.

“This is a welcome and significant increase that will go a long way towards providing refugees, unaccompanied children and vulnerable migrants with vital care and services,” said LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke. “Though the amount still falls short of the current estimated needs, that this increase was included proves that vulnerable refugees and migrants will not be forgotten! We’d like to thank key appropriators for their efforts, and for the strength of our Refugee Council USA partners.”

ORR, which is located in the Department of Health and Human Services, invests in the employment, education and health of many vulnerable migrants such as newly arrived refugees, unaccompanied children, asylees, survivors of human trafficking and torture, Cuban-Haitian entrants, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders. Without this funding from Congress, these vulnerable populations would have experienced diminished support.

LIRS and coalition partners advocated for this funding increase, critically needed now as growing instability in Central America has led to a dramatic spike in the number of unaccompanied children fleeing extortion, killings, forced recruitment into gangs, and generalized violence. Each month, thousands of these children cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone seeking safety. The ORR funding will help keep these children safe.

LIRS is nationally recognized for advocating for and with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for serving migrants through 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States.