This weekend, Congress passed the “2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act,” which will fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year. This bill included several important provisions related to immigrants and refugees such as:
- Re-authorization of the “Lautenberg Amendment” which provides a safety valve for for religious minorities from Iran, Ukraine, and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union who seek safety in the U.S. The legislation will now be extended through September 30, 2015 and — as in previous years — is retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year.
- Increased funding to allow the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to better meet the needs of refugees, asylees, unaccompanied children, Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients who served alongside U.S. troops, Cuban and Haitian entrants, victims of torture and trafficking, and other vulnerable populations.
- Increased funding for the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to provide greater due process for individuals going before immigration court, including children and families who have fled violence in Central America.