2010 Lobby Day Ask
Given the choice, most people would prefer to stay close to their homes and families: yet every day, thousands of people worldwide are faced with the heart-wrenching decision to leave their loved ones and migrate. Lack of economic opportunity to provide for their families, due in part to U.S.-promoted global economic policies, drives much of the migration to the United States and other countries where jobs may be found. Meanwhile, conflict, violence, persecution and environmental degradation have resulted in the forced migration of millions who become refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs). To ensure “a place to call home” for all our sisters and brothers, we must work to address the root causes of displacement around the globe, as well as treat economic and forced migrants in the U.S. and abroad with humanity and dignity. Because we are commanded in scripture to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger, we call on Congress to act on the following legislative initiatives:
As people of faith who witness the human consequences of our broken immigration system, we understand that the United States needs immigration reform now more than ever. We urge Congress to enact humane, equitable immigration reform this year that:
- Allows undocumented immigrants and their families to earn lawful permanent residency upon the satisfaction of reasonable criteria and eventually pursue citizenship
- Expands legal avenues of entry for families who are separated and for those who seek work
- Aligns border policies and internal enforcement policies with humanitarian values and due process protections
Separated families, exploited workers, and broken communities cannot wait any longer for Congress to fix our broken immigration system. We urge all members to make immigration reform a priority.
Root Causes of Migration – Jubilee Act
We urge Congress to enact the Jubilee Act, which would expand debt cancellation and provide a framework for responsible lending to poor countries. In order to fight global poverty and address the push factors behind economic migration, people of faith from around the world achieved Jubilee debt cancellation for many of the world’s poorest countries in 1999 and 2005. The Jubilee Act (HR 4405) will broaden and deepen debt cancellation. This would allow countries to invest more in education, health care, and public infrastructure, thus reducing the number of people forced to seek economic opportunities away from home.
Assist Forcibly Displaced Persons [For Appropriator Visits]
We urge Congress to provide adequate funds for life-saving assistance to refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in fiscal year 2011, such as:
- Helping Refugees in the United States: Provide $987.9 million for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services. ORR helps refugees, asylees, and victims of torture and human trafficking find employment, learn English, and begin new lives in the U.S.
- Assisting Refugees Overseas: Provide $2.31 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) through the U.S. State Department. These funds help refugees in camps and urban situations across the world find safety, nourishment, and protection.
- Assisting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Provide $1.6 billion for International Disaster Assistance (IDA), administered by USAID. These funds provide urgently-needed assistance and protection to forcibly displaced people in over 62 countries – including Sudan, Haiti, and Sri Lanka.
- Supporting displaced Haitians: Provide funding for the displaced population of Haiti as part of a $3 billion assistance package for use over the next two years, to meet the immediate and long-term needs in Haiti for relief, reconstruction and development following the devastating earthquake.