Statement from Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk:
“With congressional negotiations linking an emergency budget supplemental to border policy now on the brink of falling apart, it is past time to de-link these issues and refocus on ensuring adequate funding for global crisis response. The framework for this deal was always baldly political, and its potential collapse just underscores the folly of linking these two unrelated issues to each other in the first place.
A good-faith approach to address rising asylum claims is possible – but it will not be achieved by legislative hostage-taking amid a charged political atmosphere. And the contours of the current deal under negotiation are just bad policy: further restricting access to asylum, expelling more people at the border, and curtailing the use of humanitarian parole authority would evade the responsibility to protect, increase insecurity at the border, and drive-up unauthorized crossings.
Meanwhile humanitarian crises are continuing to worsen, and the 2024 humanitarian appeal is among the largest ever. U.S. leadership has long underpinned the global humanitarian system and motivated other countries to give. Yet U.S. humanitarian funding declined drastically last year, from $17.3 billion in 2022 to $11.6 billion in 2023 – a drop of one third. The abrupt declines in global humanitarian funding are visible in every crisis that Refugees International reported on over the past year:
- Half a million new refugees have fled from Darfur to Chad amidst war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly once again, genocide in their homeland – but underfunding leaves them unable to access basic services.
- Many South Sudanese citizens have fled the war in Sudan and returned home after decades away. They face a near-total absence of support due to a lack of donor funding.
- The World Food Program has slashed food rations well below needs for many populations, including the Rohingya in Bangladesh and Syrian refugees.
These gaps are only set to worsen in 2024, as the war in Ukraine continues to disrupt global food markets and the conflict in Gaza adds yet more grave humanitarian needs to overstretched aid budgets. The human costs of this are very real: children go unfed, refugees and internally displaced people go without shelter, sick people go untreated.
Congress and the administration must work together urgently to mobilize more resources toward these severe needs.”
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