If you know much about JFCS, you know that we are committed to the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger. One of the most prominent ways we do this is through our annual MOSAIC Awards, which is an event to recognize outstanding contributions made to our community by “International Americans,” those immigrants and refugees who proudly call Louisville their home. We recognize that people of all nationalities and backgrounds contribute to the diversity of culture and opportunity that we all love about our city.
The MOSAIC Awards is widely known as our premier annual event, but it barely scratches the surface of how JFCS works with Louisville’s international community. Our offerings to multicultural clients include counseling, microenterprise assistance, career services and even specialized financial initiatives. Through these programs, refugees are able to find the help they need to start businesses, transfer their professional credentials, find jobs and even save money to buy homes and attend college.
Many of these programs are funded to some degree by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a federal agency that was established in 1980 to serve the refugee population. The U.S. is expected to resettle a total of 70,000 refugees by September 30 of this year. Refugees receiving ORR assistance have fled war and violence in their native countries; a limited number of refugees are invited to move to the U.S. each year.
Unfortunately, ORR’s budget has become strained by an additional program that has grown more than expected in the past decade (watch our blog for more information tomorrow). We are asking our U.S. Representatives and Senators to take steps to increase ORR funding so that they do not have to make major budgetary cuts to the programs that help us serve our clients.
What You Can Do
The ORR budget for the next fiscal year will be decided before July 4, 2014. We are asking Congress to increase the ORR budget to $3.1 billion to prevent reductions in refugee resettlement services and meet the needs of the UAC program.
Call and write your Senators, your U.S. Representative, and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Ask them to take action to increase the ORR budget to $3.1 billion to prevent reductions in refugee resettlement services and meet the needs of the UAC program.
• Everyone should contact Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. His district covers Eastern Kentucky, but no refugees are directly resettled there. There are populations of secondary migrants living in his district.
• Kentucky residents should contact Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul. McConnell is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
• Louisville residents should contact Representative John Yarmuth.
• Lexington residents should contact Representative Andy Barr.
• Bowling Green and Owensboro residents should contact Representative Brett Guthrie.
Tell your reps that w/o an increase to ORR funding KY will lose $2.28 million in funds to provide self-sufficiency services to refugees
— KYOfficeForRefugees (@KYRefugeeOffice) June 25, 2014
Spread the word through social media. Send tweets to your senators and representatives (see listing below), as well as the House and Senate appropriations committees (@SenateApprops, @HouseAppropsGOP, @AppropsDems), urging them to increase ORR funding for FY2015.
• Everyone should tweet @RepHalRogers.
• Louisville residents, tweet @RepJohnYarmuth.
• Lexington residents, tweet @RepAndyBarr.
• Bowling Green and Owensboro residents, tweet @RepGuthrie.
Stay informed. Follow @KYRefugeeOffice as they tweet daily to urge the appropriations committees to increase funding to ORR. Follow @JFCSLouisville for more information about this issue, JFCS programs, outcomes, success stories and much more!
Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers
Click here to contact the Appropriations Committee.
Click here if you live in Rogers’ district.
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