Part I: Refugee Council USA has recommendations for Obama and Congress

The Refugee Council USA is a consortium of groups involved in the refugee industry.   Recently I came across their briefing book for the new Administration and the 111th Congress.  You will find it here.

There are many recommendations and so I’ll write about this in a couple of posts.    Since we have been discussing the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) funds recently, I’ll start there.  First go back and read Judy’s post of two days ago in which she clarifies a misunderstanding that had developed in the blogosphere about ERMA funds going to Gaza.    The  US taxpayer-funded ERMA account is used for “humanitarian assistance” elsewhere in the world and is not for the purpose of resettling refugees in the US.

Here is what the Refugee Council USA says about ERMA.  Not surprisingly they want more money, but they also want the President out of the loop.

ERMA provides the Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State with an emergency pool of $100 million that it can draw on in the event of an unexpected crisis.  Currently, draw downs must be approved by the President.  This requirement can considerably slow down the process.  Moreover, the $100 million ceiling on the account has not been updated in over a decade, even though costs and demands on the account have risen significantly.  The ERMA ceiling should be raised to $200 million and the Secretary of State should be given the authority to approve ERMA draw downs.

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