Bill to Improve Refugee Services (H.R. 1475)

Every year, the United States welcomes refugees who have fled their homelands due to the fear of persecution, terror, violence and even death. However, once refugees reach our shores, too often the U.S. does not have the sufficient resources and capacity to help them find employment and fully integrate into their new communities. The current economic crisis has made more evident the need for reform, as many refugees are now facing evictions, homelessness, unemployment, and destitution.

The Domestic Refugee Reform and Modernization Act (H.R. 1475) would put the United States in a better position to adequately welcome refugees and help them on their path to integration and success in their new home.

Contact your Representative today and urge them to co-sponsor this critical legislation!

How would the bill improve our refugee system?

The Domestic Refugee Reform and Modernization Act is a bi-partisan bill that would strengthen the efficiency and transparency of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. These reforms would improve the program for all refugees and bring new assistance to state programs without increasing the cost to taxpayers.

More specifically, the legislation would:

  • Give the Office of Refugee Resettlement broader authority to address needed structural changes and direct resources more effectively
  • Improve the process by which refugee resettlement funds are allocated to states
  • Improve transparency and responsiveness through better reporting on housing needs, health and mental health issues, and long-term employment outcomes

These reforms would greatly improve the U.S.’s resettlement programs by reversing its long term neglect of the needs of newly arrived refugees. In the thirty years since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, the resettlement program has been put in a state of crisis by its expanding mandate, drastically scaled back assistance, a more diverse refugee population, and the realities of the current economic recession.

H.R. 1475 would enable greater attention to the initial needs of refugees, so they can sooner achieve self-sufficiency, become tax-paying residents, contribute their skills back to the community, and ease the burden on states and resettlement agencies.