New York, NY, February 12, 2018 — Today the Trump Administration put forward its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request - echoing last year’s attempt to drastically cut humanitarian assistance, development aid, and refugee resettlement programs. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) denounces the Trump administration’s proposed cuts as counterproductive and misguided. Rather than putting America First, it threatens both America’s values and our interests by crippling a vital component of US foreign policy at a time of increased challenges to global security and stability, and great humanitarian need.
The FY19 Budget Request proposes a 30% cut to the International Affairs Budget from Fiscal Year 2017 levels, including a 43% cut to development assistance, a 23% cut to global health programs, and a 19% cut to humanitarian assistance. Global displacement is at an all-time high with 65 million people displaced worldwide - 55% of whom are from Afghanistan, Syria, and South Sudan. Repeated disease and outbreaks continue to spread with more than one million suspected cases of cholera in Yemen in 2017 - the largest-ever outbreak in a single year. Now is not the time to abandon America’s bipartisan commitment to the world’s most vulnerable.
The request also proposes a 26% reduction to programs that serve newly and recently arrived refugees, asylees, and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients from Iraq and Afghanistan. Refugee resettlement has a long bipartisan history reflecting long-held American values – the IRC has been offering refuge to families fleeing war and oppression for over 80 years. Reduced funding would not only impede the ability of refugees to access fundamental services like ESL and job training and contribute economically to their communities, it would also slash federal funding that goes to states and localities that receive refugees.
Nazanin Ash, VP of Global Policy & Advocacy at the IRC said: “For the second year in a row, the Administration has proposed cuts to foreign aid that endanger lives. The world is facing record levels of displacement and the gap between need and available funding is greater than ever before. A 17% cut to overseas refugee assistance runs counter to the Administration’s call to remain a humanitarian leader, and undermines the partnership and reciprocity envisioned in the National Security Strategy. Low- and middle-income nations host nearly 90% of the world’s refugees. In doing so, they provide safety for those fleeing conflict and support stability andsecurity in some of the most volatile places in the world. They deserve our help.”
Helping the world’s most vulnerable is rooted in America’s values and traditions as a beacon of peace and democracy. US leadership on humanitarian and development challenges enhances US authority and standing in the global community - and advances its interest, and that of its allies, worldwide.
The IRC therefore calls on Congress to protect and support the International Affairs Budget at no less than $59.1 billion for FY19, to allocate at least $1.7 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and restore America’s commitment to those fleeing conflict and persecution.
To read a joint statement by IRC and other leading humanitarian organizations on FY19, click here.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.