UN refugee agency head pleads for funding from Trump administration

UN refugee agency head pleads for funding from Trump administration
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE to reconsider potentially sharp cuts to U.S. humanitarian aid, arguing that he should look at such funding as "an investment in national security."

"Large numbers of refugees can be very destabilizing for a country if you don’t support them sufficiently," U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Wall Street Journal in an interview on Friday. "It is humanitarian but it is an investment in national security."

Grandi's plea comes as the Trump administration is proposing a roughly 20 percent cut to humanitarian aid funding, though it is not yet clear how such a reduction would impact the UNHCR specifically. 


The U.S. currently provides about a third of the refugee agency's budget, making it the largest contributor of funding to the group. 

But Grandi warned that if the Trump administration slashes funding for the agency, the U.S. risks having a destabilizing influence on key allies, such as Jordan, which has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Syria pour into the country.

“If you reduce the funding of large refugee programs, especially in countries that are allies to the U.S., like Jordan, for example, or Lebanon or Ethiopia, you cause a lot of instability,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

The Trump administration has pushed for Syrian refugees to be kept in camps within the country, rather than fleeing to nearby countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.