Request for Increased Funding to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement

Request for Increased Funding to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement

February 28, 2013

February 28, 2013

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama and Members of Congress:

We, the undersigned faith, refugee, and humanitarian leaders and organizations, write to ask for your leadership as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program faces a crisis.  Without your intervention, America’s ability to provide persecuted refugees and vulnerable migrant children with safe haven and a chance at a new life could be dramatically diminished.  Currently, the federal agency responsible for responding to refugees and unaccompanied migrant children lacks the robust funding required to succeed. 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the populations most vulnerable to organized crime in Central America are unaccompanied children, as well as single women and female heads of household with young children. A recent surge in widespread organized crime and violence in the region has led to an unanticipated increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.  Thousands of children in the region are fleeing their homes to escape extortion, killings, forced recruitment, and generalized fear.  As these children flee the dangers of their home countries, their age and vulnerability place them at special risk for abuse, exploitation and trafficking during their journeys.

As a result of several acts of Congress, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is responsible for caring for these children after their apprehension in the U.S. and prior to the conclusion of their immigration cases.  In FY 2013, ORR budgeted for the arrival of 14,500 of these “unaccompanied alien children” (UACs), anticipating the number of UACs to be consistent with FY 2012 levels.  However, current ORR and DHS projections anticipate that 20,000 children will arrive this fiscal year, creating a significant budget shortfall. 

Unless ORR receives additional funding to respond to this crisis, ORR will have to find the funding to care for these children elsewhere in their budget.  We fear that ORR will have no choice but to take funds from programs supporting refugees and the communities that welcome them. Reprogramming funding in this way may force ORR to reduce or disrupt services to refugees and the other vulnerable populations that fall under its mandate, hampering the road to self-sufficiency and integration.  In addition, the funding that ORR provides to states, counties and cities that welcome refugees would also be at risk.  

Further, a lack of additional funding to respond to this crisis would impact the future of refugee arrivals.  This could be the beginning of a downward spiral for the U.S. refugee program, wherein our inability to appropriately serve refugees would cause the United States to reduce the number of refugees we welcome each year. Our nation’s leadership in offering hope and safety to the world’s most vulnerable persons is at risk unless increased funding allows ORR to meet the needs of all the populations it is expected to serve. 

One of the greatest strengths of the resettlement program is the partnership between the U.S. government and private organizations.  Refugee resettlement agencies, houses of worship, local community groups, and dedicated citizens have worked together for decades to create successful and sustainable partnerships and welcoming communities for refugees across the country.  We are committed to continue our support to refugees and vulnerable migrant children. We respectfully and urgently request your immediate intervention to ensure we can continue to work together to offer hope and safety to refugees and vulnerable migrants to the United States.

Sincerely,

 

National Organizations

Agudath Israel of America

American Forum of Russian Jewry

American Jewish Committee

Anti-Defamation League

Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies

B’nai B’rith International

The Center for Victims of Torture

Church World Service

The Episcopal Church

Ethiopian Community Development Council

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights (Chicago, IL)

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

International Rescue Committee

Jewish Council on Public Affairs

Jewish Federations of North America

Jewish Labor Committee

Keshet

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepard

National Council of Jewish Women

Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids, MI

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Reformed Church World Service, Reformed Church in America

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Women’s Refugee Commission

World Relief

 

Local Organizations

Catholic Social Services Alaska

Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services

Catholic Charities Community Services of Phoenix

Catholic Social Services Arizona

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, Tucson, AZ

Refugee Focus, Division of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, Phoenix, AZ

Alliance for African Assistance

American Immigration Lawyers Association, Northern California Chapter

Catholic Charities CYO, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Los Angeles (CLUE-LA)

Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Immigrant Legal Resource Center – San Francisco, CA

Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice – California)

Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service, Los Angeles

Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the East Bay

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley  

Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley

Jewish Labor Committee Western Region CA

Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California

Opening Doors, Inc., Sacramento, CA

Program for Torture Victims (Los Angeles, CA)

Survivors of Torture, International (San Diego, CA)

Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services, Denver, CO

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition

IRIS - Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, New Haven, CT

Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT)

AJC Miami and Broward

AJC Palm Beach County

Catholic Charities Northwest Florida

Church World Service Miami, FL

Coptic Orthodox Charities, Inc.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services

Lutheran Services Florida

Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, GA

Catholic Charities Hawaii
AJC Chicago

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Lutheran Advocacy- Illinois

RefugeeOne, Chicago, IL

The American Red Cross, St. Joseph County Chapter, South Bend, IN

Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., Indianapolis, IN

Lutheran Services in Iowa, Inc.

Catholic Charities of Louisville

Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Lexington, KY

Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Louisville, KY

Catholic Charities Maine

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore

Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (Boston, MA)

Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston

Catholic Charities Worcester County

Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

Jewish Family and Children’s Services Boston New American Services

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, Inc.

Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, MI

Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan

Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit

Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

St. Vincent Catholic Charities, Lansing, Michigan

Minnesota Council of Churches, MN

Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri

Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma (St. Louis, MO)

Jewish Vocational Services, Kansas City

St. Louis Mental Health Board (St. Louis, MO)

Southern Sudan Community Association

Jewish Vocational Service of Metrowest NJ, Inc.

Encuentro – Albuquerque, NM

AJC New York

Catholic Family Center, Rochester, New York

Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc.

HealthRight International (New York, NY)

InterFaith Works Center for New Americans, Syracuse, NY

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County

Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc., Buffalo, NY

Lutheran Social Services of New York

UJA-Federation of New York

Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency – Charlotte, NC

Church World Service Durham, NC

Church World Service Greensboro, NC

North Carolina African Services Coalition

American Jewish Committee – Cincinnati Regional Office

Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), Columbus, OH

US Together, Inc.

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon / Sponsors Organized To Assist Refugees, Portland, OR

Advocacy for Justice and Peace Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, PA

Catholic Charities Counseling & Adoption Services - Erie, PA

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Church World Service Lancaster, PA

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Harrisburg, PA

Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota

Nashville International Center for Empowerment

Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi

Center for Survivors of Torture (Dallas, TX)

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services El Paso

Dominican Sisters of Houston, TX

Refugee Services of Texas - Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, TX

Catholic Community Services of Utah

Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

Utah Health and Human Rights (St Lake City, UT)

Church World Service Harrisonburg, VA

Northern Virginia Family Service (Falls Church, VA)

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Jewish Family Service of Seattle

AJC Washington

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Pan-African Community Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community and Faith Leaders

National

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Rev. Dr. Carlos Hernandez, Director, Church and Community Engagement, Lutheran Church-Missouri

Synod Office of National Mission

Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

 

Alabama

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Arkansas

Bishop Anthony Taylor, Bishop of Little Rock, AR

Rev. Stephen Copley, Chair, Arkansas Interfaith Alliance, Little Rock, AR

 

Arizona

Dr. Larry Stoterau, Pacific Southwest District (Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada)

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Rev.  Bishop Stephen S. Talmage, Grand Canyon Synod (Arizona, Nevada), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

California

Rev. Jason E. Bense, Pastor, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Sacramento, CA

The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of San Diego and Retired Bishop of Washington, D.C.

Rev. Monsignor Gregory A. Cox, Executive Director Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc.

Debra DeBondt, Executive Director, Opening Doors, Inc., Sacramento, CA

Debbie Decker, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Mark Diamond, Regional Director of AJC Los Angeles and President of Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders

Most Reverend Jose` H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles

Mark Schroeder, O.F.M., Franciscans for Justice, West Coast, U.S.

Dr. Larry Stoterau, Pacific Southwest District (Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada)

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Meghan Tumilty, Executive Director, Attorney at Law, Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service (IRIS) and Chair of the Refugee Forum of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

E. Stephen Voss, President & CEO, International Institute of Los Angeles

 

Colorado

Senator Betty Boyd, Board Vice-Chair, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service, Lakewood, CO

 

Connecticut

Angela Bovill, President/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Chris George, Executive Director, IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, New Haven, CT

Kelly Hebrank, Deputy Director, IRIS- Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, New Haven, CT

Angela Rossi Zurowski, Executive Director , International Institute of Connecticut

 

Florida

Bishop Edward R. Benoway, Florida-Bahamas Synod , Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Oscar Rivera, Director, Church World Service, Miami, FL

Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami

 

Georgia

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Idaho                                                                  

Roberta Nestaas, President/CEO, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

 

Illinois

Laura Lonneman, Housing and Policy Manager, RefugeeOne, Chicago, IL

Bishop Wayne N. Miller, Metropolitan Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Heidi Moll Schoedel, Executive Director, Exodus World Service, Itasca, IL

 

Iowa

Bishop Steven L. Ullestad, Northeastern Iowa Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Kansas

Bishop Gerald L. Mansholt, Central States Synod (Kansas, Missouri), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Kentucky

Elizabeth Kaznak, Executive Director, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Louisville, KY

 

Louisiana

Bishop Michael Rinehart, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Maryland

Tal Widdes, Chief Operating Officer, Jewish Social Services Agency

Bishop Richard H. Graham, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Massachusetts

Angela Bovill, President/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

 

Michigan

The Rt. Rev'd Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., Bishop of Michigan

Kimberly Hassan, Program Advocate, Arab American and Chaldean Council

Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, Chaldean Bishop of St. Thomas, The Apostle Chaldean Diocese

Mark Stutrud, President and CEO, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan

Hanna Sullaka, Pastor, Lutheran Church

 

Minnesota

Rabbi Morris J Allen, Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights, MN

Kitty Goggins, International Institute of Minnesota Board Member

Rosanne M. Hope, International Institute of Minnesota Board Member

Marry Ann Nowak, International Institute of Minnesota Board Member

Mississippi

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

 

Missouri

Anna E. Crosslin, President & CEO, International Institute of St. Louis, St. Louis Missouri

Thuy-Tien Dang, Vice President and Secretary, Representative of Vietnamese American Community in Kansas City

Bishop Gerald L. Mansholt, Central States Synod (Kansas, Missouri), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

New Hampshire

Angela Bovill, President/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

 

New Jersey

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of Newark

 

Nevada

Dr. Larry Stoterau, Pacific Southwest District (Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada)

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Rev.  Bishop Stephen S. Talmage, Grand Canyon Synod (Arizona, Nevada), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

New York

Rev. Kevin J. Agee, Pastor, Hopps Memorial CME Church, Syracuse,, NY.

Linda Alexander, CEO/President, The Jewish Federation of C.N.Y.

Douglas J. Anderson, Director, Church World Service Upstate, NY

Mehtab Bajwa, Sikh Society of Syracuse, NY

Charles W. Beach, President, Board of Directors, InterFaith Works of C.N.Y.

The Rev. Sherry Chayaf,  Zen Center of Syracuse, NY

Manpreet Dhami, Gurinder Dhillon, Sikh Society of Syracuse, NY

Gurinder Dhillon, Sikh Society of Syracuse, NY

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn

Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Executive Director of the Greater New York Labor/Religion Coalition

Rabbi Daniel J. Fellmary Temple Concord, Syracuse, NY

Daryl Files, Volunteer, InterFaith Works of C.N.Y., Syracuse, NY

Rabbi Ari Hart, Founder of Uri L’Tzedek and Rabbi at Hebrew Institute of Riverdale

Stephanie Horton, Program Facilitator, SCSD Refugee Assistance Program, Syracuse, NY

The Rev. Jim Kerr-Whitt, N. Manlius United Church, Kirkville, NY

Mohamed Khater, Islamic Society of Central New York, NY

Helen Malina, Interfaith Works of Central New York, Syracuse, NY

Rev. Simone W. Montgomery, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Syracuse, NY

Rev. William Redfield, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, NY

Molly Short, Director, Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc., Buffalo, NY

Madalyn F. Smith, Coordinator, Rangrig Yeshe of Syracuse, NY

Tiffany Steinwert, New England Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Syracuse, NY

Rabbi Joshua Strom, Temple Shaaray Tefilam, New York, NY

Rev. Edith Washington, Unity of Syracuse, Syracuse, NY

Rev. Jon Werner, Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY

Roberta Yackel, InterFaith Works of C.N.Y.

 

North Carolina

Ruth H. DeHoog, Mercy Ministry Coordinator, Christ Church, Greensboro, NC

Mono Khan, Mercy Ministry Coordinator, Christ Church, Greensboro, NC

The Rt. Rev. Alfred "Chip" Marble, Assisting Bishop of North Carolina and Retired Bishop of Mississippi

 

Ohio

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop of Ohio

Angela Plummer, Executive Director, Community Refugee & Immigration Services, Columbus, OH

Rev. Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro, Assistant Professor of Theology, Xavier University, Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Board of Directors; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Cincinnati, OH

 

Oregon

Roberta Nestaas, President/CEO, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

 

Pennsylvania

Judith Bernstein-Baker, Esq., MSW, Executive Director, HIAS Pennsylvania

Bishop Claire Burkat, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rt. Rev. Michael W. Creighton, Retired Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

 

Rhode Island

Michele Adamo, Marketing Consultant Board Member, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Angela Bovill, President/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Claudia Cardozo, Board Member, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Carol L. Holmquist, CEO, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Rabbi Howard Mandell, East Greenwich, RI

Mary K. Morse, President Morse Search Firm, Board Member  Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Robin A. Smith, Community College of Rhode Island Board Member  Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Colleen E. Stevenson, Esq., Board Member, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Robin Ward, Bryant University Board member  Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

 

South Carolina

George Kanuck, Social Justice Advocate, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry, Bluffton, SC

Bishop Herman R. Yoos, South Carolina Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Tennessee

Leila Buzan, Case-manager, Bridge Refugee Service, Chattanooga, TN

Angel Daugherty, Senior Case-manager, RCA eligibility specialist, Bridge Refugee Service, Chattanooga, TN

Amanda Fackler, Case-manager, Health Navigator, Bridge Refugee Service, Chattanooga, TN

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Marina Peshterianu, Office Coordinator, Bridge Refugee Service, Chattanooga, TN

 

Texas

Elliot Gershenson, President and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IMGH), TX

Ajit Giani, Board member of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and leader of the Bahia Community in Houston, TX

Bishop Michael Rinehart, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Ali Al Sudani, Director of Refugee Services, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, TX

Nancy Tully, Outreach Director, First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, TX

 

Vermont

Lauren Berrizbeitia, LMHC, Diversity Rocks International Youth Group Advisor

Angela Bovill, President/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Todd Centybear, Executive Director, Howard Center

The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Bishop of Vermont

Dr. Karen Fondacaro, Director, Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center at UVM

D. J. Hellerman, Burlington City Arts Curator, Burlington, VT

Dr. Anne Judson, Director , Graduate Education Program at St. Michael’s College

Amy Mellencamp , Burlington High School Principal, Burlington, VT

Nina Meyerhof, Director, Children of the Earth

Reverend Karen Mendes, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Burlington, VT   

Julie Berger Pierson, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity

Carolyn Rushford, Joint Urban Ministry Program Board Member    

Shawna Shapiro, Middlebury College Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing

Rebecca Trudeau , Vermont Department of Labor

 

Virginia

Lisa Gibson, Director, Church World Service, Tidewater Region, Newport News, VA

Bishop Richard H. Graham, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rabbi Amy M Schwartzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA

Rev. Eric Wester, Chaplain, U.S. Army, Arlington, VA

 

Washington

Dianne Aid, President, The Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Kent, WA

Aida Bound, The Hat Project, Wenatchee, WA

Roberta Nestaas, President/CEO, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, Bishop of Olympia

 

Washington, DC

Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Washington, DC

Bishop Richard H. Graham, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Craig C. Roshaven, Witness Ministries Director, Unitarian Universalist Association

Rev. Mari Castellanos, D. Min., United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF, Franciscan Action Network

Rabbi David Shneyer, Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Community of Greater Washington, DC

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