More than 500 Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations Demand Restoration of the U.S. Refugee Program


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2019        


More than 500 Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Organizations Demand Restoration of the U.S. Refugee Program

Washington, D.C. – Today, CWS joined 403 religious leaders and 108 faith-based organizations from across the United States and faith traditions to send a letter to the Trump administration demanding a restoration of the life-saving and bipartisan refugee resettlement program to historic norms. This comes following recent reports that the administration is considering zeroing out the refugee resettlement program, and news this week that the Trump administration is weighing a new discriminatory proposal that would allow states and localities to stop refugees from being resettled in their communities.

“We are called by our sacred texts and faith principles to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner. Our congregations, synagogues, and mosques have historically played key roles in assisting refugees with housing, language, employment, and social supports necessary for rapid and effective resettlement into U.S. communities. Yet, our commitment to offer refuge from violence and persecution requires our government to demonstrate the moral leadership upon which our nation was founded,” wrote today’s signatories.

“Faith communities in particular remain ready and eager to welcome refugees and decry the policies that are preventing refugees from receiving protection at this time. For decades, people of faith have welcomed refugees into our homes, houses of worship, and communities.”

Signatories included Bishops Thomas Aitken, Steven Delzer, Robert F Humphrey of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and Bishop Galvan of the United Methodist Church, who joined faith leaders to say “People of faith are especially distraught by the implications of low refugee arrivals for particular populations of concern such as families seeking to reunite, religious minorities, and children.”

Despite the administration’s promises to religious communities in the United States that persecuted religious minorities would be given safety in the United States, the low arrival numbers mean all communities are being kept in danger’s way. “We express our deep concern for the impact of low arrivals on religious minorities, including Christians, Muslims, and others who find themselves persecuted because of their religious affiliation and are thus left without options to safely practice their faith.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our refugee and immigrant work at