January 27, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s decision today to sign an executive order that bans the arrival of Syrian refugees; suspends the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days; and reduces the overall number of refugees who will enter the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000.
“The President’s actions today are a drastic contradiction of what it means to be an American. To halt the U.S. refugee program for any length of time and impose bans on specific groups of people who are fleeing violence and persecution, is reprehensible and completely disregards the values on which our country was founded,” said Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO. “The U.S. refugee program has always been emblematic of American values – protection of the most vulnerable, freedom, and family unity. The President’s actions place thousands of vulnerable refugees at risk and fail to make our nation safer.”
“As Christians we are compelled to serve our neighbor and welcome the vulnerable,” said Hartke. “It is deeply troubling that President Trump is grounding some of the first actions of his new administration in fear and misinformation. We are counting on his leadership to be rooted in American values that fulfill his promise to make our nation even stronger, our people more united, and our world more peaceful.”
“Some of the most often repeated messages of the Bible call on us not to be afraid of others and to live in hope. We need our President to lead from such foundational themes,” added Hartke.
‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.’1 John 4:18 NRSV
At a time when the world is facing the largest global refugee crisis since World War II, LIRS remains committed to prioritizing and sustaining policies that support refugees and migrants. Refugees are assets to our communities and LIRS recognizes that their protection and resettlement is part of the opportunity to demonstrate our global leadership as a nation.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency 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.