U.S. Funding for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Background Information on Funding Accounts for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

RCUSA urges the U.S. Government to provide adequate funding to continue to expand our nation’s ability to aid the millions of refugees and internally displaced overseas and to increase the number of refugees offered protection through resettlement in the United States. Below is a brief summary of what each account covers.


The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account includes overseas assistance funding to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance; support international protection for refugees and conflict victims; and facilitate durable solutions. 

The other major component of the MRA account is to fund the initial 30-90 days of refugee resettlement in the United States.  This Reception & Placement work is carried out by the nine national voluntary agencies that contract with the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. Department of State

Additionally, MRA funds will support activities to promote international understanding of migration with a special emphasis on protection.

The Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) account is funded at a ceiling of $100 million, to be drawn upon by the President to meet unexpected urgent overseas refugee and migration needs whenever the President determines that it is important to the national interest to do so.  This fund is also administered with the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. Department of State.  RCUSA continues to advocate for the ceiling to be raised in reflection of the costs of today’s urgent refugee needs.

The International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account funds life-saving assistance to persons internally displaced by conflict and natural disasters, including emergency food, water, and shelter assistance. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development administers these programs. Vital protection assistance has also been provided through these funds, including treatment for survivors of sexual and gender based violence and care for separated or unaccompanied childrend.

The Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account funds the Office of Refugee Resettlement and its partners to provide refugees, asylees, Cuban/Haitian entrants, victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied alien children, and survivors of torture with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.  ORR services include Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA), Matching Grant, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, employment services, and many other programs.


To find information on appropriations for each of these accounts, see the Library of Congress legislative information website Thomas.

See RCUSA backgrounders on funding for humanitarian accounts:

Humanitarian Funding Priorities

Torture Victims Relief Act and Funding for Victims of Torture

To learn more about the current funding advocacy work of Refugee Council USA, you can contact us.


Photo credits: (Top) LIRS/K. Haynes; (Bottom) EMM