Over the past several years, the number of refugees that the United States has resettled has dropped drastically, from more than 80,000 in 2016 to just over 20,000 last year. Reports have now surfaced that some administration officials are proposing that the U.S. resettle zero refugees in 2020 — all during the worst refugee crisis in world history. Across the globe, over 70 million people have been forced from their homes, including more than 25 million refugees — half of whom are children.
Zeroing out refugee resettlement would amount to a full refugee ban which is unconscionable in any moment in history, and inexcusable now. Turning our back on the world’s most vulnerable will have grave long-term implications, devastating thousands of refugees who are in dangerous situations and who we have promised to protect. Our ability now to resettle refugees is strong and capable. We have a thorough, safe, and orderly resettlement system and decimating the program will destroy that capacity for the future.
As people of faith and those called to love our neighbor; we care deeply about refugees. Hundreds of our congregations in the United Church of Christ have helped resettle and support refugees fleeing violence through the UCC’s Refugee and Asylum Ministries. Now is not the time to stop these efforts and turn our back on those in need. We must urge Members of Congress to publicly denounce this proposal and let the administration know directly that we should not stop the welcome. Instead of closing the door on those in need, we should instead commit to resettling 95,000 refugees (the historic average) next year.
We must live up to our nation’s highest ideals and remain a beacon of hope to all those “yearning to breathe free.” Tell your Member of Congress that you oppose any proposal to cut refugee resettlement and let them know that congregations and faith communities stand ready and willing to shelter and provide solace to refugees.