March 16, 2022
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Gregory Meeks, Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Honorable Members Tom Malinowski, Brad Sherman, Albio Sires, Gerald Connolly, Theodore Deutch, Karen Bass, William Keating, David Cicilline, Ami Bera, Joaquin Castro, Dina Titus, Ted Lieu, Susan Wild, Dean Phillips, Ilhan Omar, Colin Allred, Andy Levin, Abigail Spanberger, Chrissy Houlahan, Andy Kim, Sara Jacobs, Kathy Manning, Jim Costa, Juan Vargas, Vincente Gonzales, Brad Schneider, Brian Mast, Christopher Smith, Steve Chabot, Joe Wilson, Scott Perry, Darrell Issa, Adam Kinzinger, Lee Zeldin, Ann Wagner, Brian Fitzpatrick, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Mark Green, Andy Barr, Greg Steube, Dan Meuser, Claudia Tenney, August Pfluger, Peter Meijer, Nicole Malliotakis, Ronny Jackson, Young Kim, Maria Elvira Salazar
Dear Chairman Meeks and Committee Members:
We are writing in response to the devastation caused by the war in Ukraine and its significant impact on neighboring countries that strive to provide essential support to fleeing refugees. In view of this, we are grateful that the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act provides critically-needed humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the five refugee-hosting countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that, as of 15 March, 2.86 million Ukrainians have fled to the five refugee-hosting countries. Of these, Poland has received the largest number of refugees, 1.83 million (64 percent), and Poles have responded with outstanding generosity and compassion. Of this number, approximately 625,000 are children and of these, about 500,000 are of school age who need to be enrolled in Polish schools. The Minister of Education reports that about 42,500 children are now enrolled and tens of thousands more are expected. Additionally, and most importantly, the Polish government has formally obligated itself to provide requisite aid and support to all refugees for an 18-month period with likely extensions.
However, while private and government efforts have been exceptionally laudable, Poland is now struggling to adequately support the unceasing influx of refugees. There is a continuous need for beds, meals, medical supplies, psychologists, interpreters, teachers, and a range of other critical resources and services. Poland is rapidly approaching its reception capacity and this will soon be the case for Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
The 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act states that the purpose of the $2.65 billion allocated for International Disaster Assistance is “to respond to humanitarian needs in Ukraine and in countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine, including the provision of emergency food and shelter”.
Additionally, the $1.4 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance has been allocated to “assist refugees from Ukraine”, most of whom have fled to Poland.
As Polish Americans, we are well aware of the serious impact this crisis continues to have on Poland and want to ensure that adequate levels of funding from the combined humanitarian aid total of $4.05 billion are provided.
We therefore respectfully request the following:
1. We ask that you direct the immediate disbursement of these funds to the governments and humanitarian agencies of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
2. Because Poland has received over 64 percent of Ukraine’s refugees and will most assuredly continue to receive this share or more, we ask that you ensure at least 64 percent of the funding is provided to the government and humanitarian agencies of Poland.
3. As there is no end in sight to the destruction in Ukraine, and as there is no end in sight to the flow of refugees into Poland, we ask that this funding serves as a first tranche that will be successively supplemented in response to changing conditions.
EDWARD W. JESMAN, President
Polish American Strategic Initiative