Press Contact: Miji Bell
WASHINGTON, DC — With 4 million Syrian refugees seeking protection, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) calls on the United States to join with European countries in demonstrating courageous leadership and preserving our long legacy of providing welcome.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement this weekend that the United States will increase refugee admissions to 85,000 in 2016 — 10,000 of whom will be those fleeing war and ISIS in Syria — is an incremental move towards compassion and welcome, but remains woefully inadequate as a response to the global refugee crisis.
In recent weeks, Refugee Council USA, a coalition of advocates for refugees of which LIRS is a member, has urged the U.S. government to do far more by resettling 200,000 refugees in fiscal year 2016, including 100,000 Syrians. In past global crises, the U.S. has led the effort to resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees — a tiny fraction of those who are displaced — and America has always been better and stronger as a result. With the support of local churches and communities, our nation has the capacity to take a bold stance in welcoming far more of these vulnerable refugees into the United States.
“We are confident that if the political will in the Obama Administration grows to match the community will for welcome, it is absolutely possible to receive and resettle larger numbers of refugees successfully, while keeping our country safe with the intense security screenings that take place before refugees are admitted to the U.S.,” says Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO.
The United States has always demonstrated the political will, the global leadership, and the community engagement to welcome the world’s refugees with a generosity of spirit. Our national legacy of welcoming those fleeing violence has helped to stabilize crisis situations, while strengthening the social fabric of our country and growing our economy.