Emergency Refugee & Migration Assistance

FY2016 Funding Recommendation:  
$100 million

 

Funding History

       Enacted   

       President's FY2016 Request   

       InterAction's FY2016 Recommendation


Justification

 Key Facts

  • ERMA ensures that the U.S. has sufficient resources for refugee assistance in unanticipated and urgent humanitarian crises.

  • In recent years, the account has been used in Sudan, Mali and Syria.

The Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund is a drawdown account designed to ensure that the U.S. government has sufficient resources for refugee assistance in unanticipated and urgent humanitarian crises. In FY2012, these funds were used to support the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) response to the needs of refugees who fled the crisis in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as to provide protection and support for hundreds of thousands of Malian refugees in the Sahel. In FY2013, ERMA was used to provide assistance to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

While more frequent and severe humanitarian emergencies have placed increasing demands on this drawdown account, ERMA has been funded at a much lower level than the authorized cap. To ensure adequate funding for unanticipated emergencies, InterAction recommends – consistent with the President’s previous budget request – that Congress increase the authorized ceiling for the ERMA account to $250 million and fully fund the current ceiling of $100 million. Furthermore, both PRM and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) should be able to access these critical funds. In addition, to enhance U.S. capacity to respond quickly and effectively to unanticipated crises, the secretary of state, rather than the president, should be given the power to authorize the use of ERMA funds to speed up the response to emergencies. The current requirement of a presidential certification is cumbersome and too often results in unnecessary and costly delays in delivering critical assistance.

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