Last night, appropriators introduced a $1.1 trillion government spending bill (H.R. 3547) which is expected to move through the House and Senate later this week. The bill includes a one-year extension of the Lautenberg Amendment, which previously expired on September 30th. This important legislation, which facilitates the resettlement of religious minority groups including Jews seeking to flee Iran and the former Soviet Union (FSU), will now be extended through September 2014 and as usual it will be retroactive to the beginning of this Fiscal Year. Please take action here to thank key legislators including Senators Kirk, Menendez, Durbin, and Leahy, and Representatives Waxman and Franks, for their leadership.
The omnibus bill also includes funding for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, which has been a matter of great concern to HIAS and our resettlement colleagues, particularly given the growing number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) fleeing violence in Central America. The bill includes an increase in funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and an additional $3 billion to support international refugee protection and humanitarian assistance, but with the rising number of UACs, funding for refugee resettlement will likely be a challenge this year.