LIRS Denounces Administration’s Plans to Close Key Immigration Operations Abroad as a Backdoor Attempt to Halt Legal Immigration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 18, 2019
BALTIMORE—The Administration’s announcement last week of its plans to close international immigration offices is nothing but an attempt to halt legal immigration to the United States.
“Closing the very same offices that help the most brilliant minds in the world come to our universities and ensure that spouses and children reunify with their loved ones in America directly correlates to the President trying to dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” said Krish Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service).
The responsibilities of the International Operations Division (IO) of USCIS’ Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate include reuniting families, enabling adoptive children to join permanent families in the U.S., considering parole requests from individuals outside the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, and providing information services and travel documents to people around the world, among others. The logistical support provided by the office to teams of refugee officers when traveling abroad to interview refugees is of essence to the success of their mission.
“The unnecessary delays that this decision will create will cause additional pain and suffering to those seeking asylum and to the families of those who already were granted asylum in the U.S. As an example, the Administration has often talked about helping the people of Venezuela, many of whom are either in the process of getting asylum or have family members waiting to be granted the opportunity to join their relatives here,” added Vignarajah. “For refugees and asylees, this decision will crush their dreams of family reunification. How do you explain that to a 5 year old waiting to see her mom or dad?”
Founded in 1939, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.