More than 200 leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are asking President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to commit to resettling more refugees in Fiscal Year 2021.
“As people of faith, we believe that we must honor the dignity of every human, regardless of national origin,” reads the letter to Trump and Pompeo. “We have a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus and to uphold our nation’s tradition of protecting the persecuted.”
The letter was signed by 243 leaders working with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a faith-based group that helps immigrants.
The letter asks that refugee admissions increase to at least 95,000 in Fiscal Year 2021, which starts Oct. 1.
In 2020, Trump cut the admissions goal to 18,000, but as of Sept. 24, only 10,845 refugees have been resettled, according to LIRS.
“Our nation’s once pristine reputation as a place of refuge for the oppressed and persecuted of all faiths has been gravely damaged,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president & CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and a former refugee from Sri Lanka. “I question if my own family would be welcomed and embraced in America today were we fleeing the ethnic and religious persecution that drove us from our home.”
In many refugee resettlement cases, the federal government works with nonprofit groups to welcome immigrants.
According to a press release from LIRS, by the end of 2019, nearly 80 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their home and of those, 26 million were refugees.
“We have seen refugees work hard, become self-sufficient and become cherished friends, family and neighbors who enrich our lives and strengthen communities and the fabric of our nation,” it concludes. “We hope you will support refugees now and in the future by resettling at least 95,000 refugees in fiscal year 2021. To restrict thousands of people from seeking safety would be to forsake our nation’s values of compassion and welcome.”