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May 9, 2019

Update--Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S.

  •  The security situation in the Northern Triangle is deteriorating, forcing people to leave their homes.  The number of children and families fleeing has increased over the years. From the IRC’s experience in the region, the fears of persecution among those fleeing the Northern Triangle are very real. Violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador is amongst some of the worst in the world outside of an active war zone. 

  • The $8.6 billion the President requested in FY2020 for a wall is almost 20 times more than the amount requested to address the root causes of violence and displacement in the region.  Threats of pulling aid only undermine U.S. allies who are in a position to address the root causes, not just the symptoms, of this crisis. Instead of cutting aid, the U.S. should support Central American countries’ efforts to reduce violence and poverty  – the core reason people are fleeing north.

  • Increasingly, recently released asylum-seeking families in the U.S. are being abandoned by the Trump Administration with no access to food, shelter and clothing rather than being met with a formal reception system. Many have small children or infants. They often speak little English, have no means to travel, or information on how to reach their final destinations or reunite with family in the U.S. Many have been given no guidance on when to attend their immigration court hearings.

  • Communities along the border are trying to support these asylum-seeking families, but their resources are being stretched to breaking point. IRC is providing additional capacity in order to meet these needs, mobilizing with resources, volunteers, and utilizing our emergency expertise to help as many people as possible.

  • The IRC calls on the U.S. Administration to follow domestic and international law, and uphold America’s humanitarian commitments.Congress must act to reverse the systemic attacks on protections for vulnerable populations, refugee resettlement, and legal pathways for asylum seekers, to protect American values and American interests. In recovering America’s humanitarian leadership, Congress must override the President’s veto of the revocation of his unnecessary Emergency Declaration, restore funding to address violence and insecurity in Central America, vote to prevent the deportation of those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and uphold the rights of people seeking asylum.

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Mar 28, 2019

Update--Support Refugee Children

Responding quickly to disasters is key to the IRC's mission, and the impact of our programs depends on this timeliness as well as quality of delivery. In Zimbabwe, this was recently demonstrated in the rapid response to Cyclone Idai, which hit Zimbabwe on the evening of March 15.

The cyclone has caused massive flooding and landslides, forcing many Zimbabweans to flee their homes and seek higher ground to survive. Some areas have been cut off due to roads and bridges being swept away, and many who need help are unreachable by rescue and evacuation teams. Most of Chimanimani district is only accessible by helicopter, but poor weather conditions have hindered access since the start of the week. The IRC deployed medical staff and supplies to Skyline in Chimanimani, where a mobile clinic has been set up to support those displaced by the disaster. The IRC is also supporting those displaced with food and kits for women.

“Our teams have been on the ground since Monday supporting the response in Chipinge, and are on standby with emergency supplies to immediately deliver assistance to the most affected district Chimanimani as soon as access is restored. While immediate life saving support is the most pressing need, the impact of this cyclone will continue to be severe in the coming weeks and months. We are expecting the situation to worsen and to see a surge in malaria and other water borne diseases," said Paolo Cernuschi , Zimbabwe Country Director.

 

 

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Mar 28, 2019

Update--Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reacts this to President Trump’s veto of the “Resolution of Disapproval” passed by the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was passed to terminate the national emergency declared by President Trump on February 15, which sought to secure funding to build a physical barrier on the southern border. The President invoked national emergency powers after Republicans and Democrats alike, representing a wide swath of Americans, clearly rejected the President’s request for border wall funding.

Congress and the American people want common sense solutions, not walls. Even as President Trump is using extraordinary measures to override the will of the people and secure funding for his border wall, the President’s FY2020 budget does far too little to address the reasons people are fleeing in the first place. Levels of violence and insecurity in Central America rival those of war zones, but the $8.6 billion the President requested in FY2020 for a wall--that experts across the political spectrum have panned as ineffective--is almost 20 times more than the amount requested to address the root causes of violence and displacement in the region.

Overall, the President’s budget slashes humanitarian aid by 34 percent at a time when 14 million people are on the brink of famine in Yemen alone, Ebola is resurgent, and nearly 70 million people are displaced by conflict worldwide.

Congress has repeatedly rejected the President’s request for money to build a wall, including by rejecting the President’s National Emergency declaration. The crisis on which this ‘emergency’ is based is a manufactured one. The number of irregular border crossings is at their historic lowest and the chaos sown at the border - under the continuing policy of zero tolerance - is of the Administration’s own doing.

The true crisis is the instability in Central America that has forced people to flee for their lives, coupled with the administration’s systematic attacks on these same vulnerable individuals. In particular, violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador is amongst some of the worst in the world outside of an active war zone.

The Administration has slashed funding to address the violence in these countries, rejected asylum seekers at the border, detained thousands seeking asylum including children, and has threatened to return hundreds of thousands of Central Americans legally residing in the United States under Temporary Protected Status to the very nations from which people are fleeing.

Congress must act to reverse the systemic attacks on protections for vulnerable populations, refugee resettlement, and legal pathways for asylum seekers, to protect American values and American interests. In recovering America’s humanitarian leadership, Congress must override the President’s veto, restore funding to address violence and insecurity in Central America, vote to prevent the deportation of those with Temporary Protected Status, and uphold the rights of people seeking asylum”

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