"Robust Budget" Urged for Refugee Needs

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Refugee Council USA, a coalition of organizations, is urging the Bush administration to develop a “robust budget” that will allow the government to expand its refugee admissions and services.

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In a letter to President George Bush signed by Mark Franken, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and chair of RCUSA, the coalition said “sufficient funding is essential if this lifesaving work is to be accomplished.”

Specifically, RCUSA recommended the president’s fiscal year 2007 budget include:

— $1.2 billion for the Migration and Refugee Assistance account, which would allow for the admission into the United States of 90,000 refugees, a goal articulated by the president in 2001. In addition, funding at that level would enhance the nation’s ability to avoid shortfalls in food, medicine and other vital supplies abroad.

— At least $764 million for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. This funding will be used to provide transitional assistance to refugees, social services for refugees and asylum seekers, Cuban-Haitian entrants and victims of trafficking and torture.

In addition, funding from this account is used to assist more than 7,000 unaccompanied alien children who come into federal custody each year.

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