GOP Reps: Office of Refugee Resettlement Is Violating Federal Law

Washington, D.C.

Four members of Congress, U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) are releasing a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell telling her the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is violating federal law.

The letter, released Thursday, notifies Burwell that ORR has still not submitted an annual report to Congress.

“Section 413(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, requires the Secretary of HHS to submit an annual report to Congress ‘no later than the January 31 following the end of each fiscal year” the letter says. ” The FY2014 report – which was due no later than January 31 of this year – is still outstanding, and must be produced immediately.”

The letter also notes the giant increase in tax dollars that ORR has requested.

In its FY2016 ‘Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committees,’ HHS requested over $1.6 billion for ORR. This request illustrates the exponential growth in ORR’s budget in recent years. Indeed, as recently as FY2012, ORR received $768,334,000 in funding – or less than half of what it currently seeks.

Our nation is presented with serious economic and security threats emanating from our refugee resettlement programs.  Congress cannot, and must not, issue a blank check to ORR, especially at a time when the Administration is actively in defiance of federal law.

The ORR has become a hot button political issue, after President Obama announced that his administration would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year.

Congress is currently debating adding a provision into the must-pass spending bill that would defund the ORR.