Oct. 31, 2013 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Helps U.S. Reach Refugee Admissions Target for First Time Since 1980 | LIRS
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Oct. 31, 2013 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS Helps U.S. Reach Refugee Admissions Target for First Time Since 1980

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For Immediate Release        

Press Contact: Jon Pattee
(202) 591-5778, jpattee@lirs.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 31, 2013 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) resettled over 10,000 refugees in fiscal year 2013, thereby contributing, as America’s second-largest resettlement agency, to the United States reaching its refugee admissions target for the first time since 1980.

“LIRS has resettled 10,095 refugees in 2013, including many refugee kids who arrived without a parent or guardian and in desperate need of protection and human care,” said Terry Abeles, LIRS Director for Refugee Resettlement. “This achievement comes as we approach our 75th anniversary in 2014, and marks an important new milestone in a history in which we’ve helped nearly 400,000 refugees rebuild their lives.”

“LIRS is proud to have worked with our outstanding affiliates to play a key role in the nationwide effort that brought 69,930 refugees to safety and new lives in the United States in fiscal year 2013,” said Abeles. “That number is nearer to the authorized ceiling – 70,000 in 2013 – than in any year since 1980.”

“Reaching this threshold demonstrates this Administration’s efforts to create a refugee admissions program that meets the important security screening standards required by the American people and the growing humanitarian need,” added Abeles. “Research shows that refugees become successfully employed, tax-paying citizens and contribute in a relatively short period of time to the well-being of the United States.”

In fiscal year 2013, refugees were resettled in 186 communities in 49 states. For FY2014, President Barack Obama has authorized the admission of up to 70,000 refugees. Over 60 nationalities are expected to be admitted, with continued strong arrivals from Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan.

“Thousands of people overseas and across the United States make the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program possible each year,” added Abeles. “Their successes are a testament to the effective partnership between the public and private sectors, and express America’s commitment to being a country of refuge.”

LIRS welcomes refugees and migrants on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, thereby following God’s call to welcome and lifting up the importance of congregations in the work of welcome.

LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership for and with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration, and other vulnerable populations. LIRS serves migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners nationwide. LIRS advocates for comprehensive immigration reform that will provide adequate resources and protections to ensure the successful integration of refugees, asylees, unaccompanied minors, and other vulnerable migrants.

LIRS has received a number of awards, including the National Leadership Award of the Vietnamese American National Gala and the Checago Bright Foundation, Inc. Outstanding Achievement Award in Community Service. LIRS’s 2012 accomplishments included welcoming 9,933 refugees, providing foster homes for 277 refugee and immigrant children, working towards the release and legal protection of 318 survivors of torture in detention, and reuniting 324 migrant children with family in the United States.

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