April 29, 2021 | by Program Staff, General Board of Church and Society
Throughout Scripture, we read stories of refugees finding welcome in new lands. Jesus began his life fleeing persecution as a refugee in Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-18) As United Methodists, we are called “provide wherever possible pastoral care and crisis intervention to refugees.” (Book of Resolutions, 3281)
For almost forty years, the United States’ average annual refugee resettlement goal was admitting 95,000 refugees per year. For the past four painful years, the United States drastically reduced the refugee resettlement program to historic lows of 15,000 refugees, almost gutting the program entirely. This year the Biden administration promised to restore the program-—increasing the 2021 admission goal to 62,500 and the 2022 goal to 125,000.
Last week the Biden Administration announced the decision to keep the refugee admissions goal at 15,000, the all-time low set by the Trump Administration. While the Biden Administration restored regional allocations for resettlement based on vulnerability and reversed the previous administration’s discriminatory resettlement allocations, the administration is backing out of their promise to restore the program. As a result, thousands of refugees are left in harm’s way without opportunity to be resettled in the United States. The White House later issued another statement, committed to re-issue a new, higher admissions goal by May 15th.
While we welcome the administration reconsidering the admissions goal by May, we know that they could increase that goal today. There is no reason for the delay in restoring regional allocations and there is no reason to delay increasing the refugee admissions goal.
Click here to read more and to send your congressperson a letter urging the Biden Administration to immediately restore the moral leadership in the US in protecting and resettling refugees.