LIRS Plays Key Role in Bringing Refugees to Safety in 2013

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lirslogothumb-100x100I’m very proud to share that 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.

Terry Abeles, LIRS Director for Refugee Resettlement, has some reflections on this milestone that I’d like to share:

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. 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. 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. 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.

Thousands of people overseas and across the United States make the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program possible each year. 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.

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.

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.

We serve migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners nationwide, and we advocate 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.

I’m proud of the LIRS refugee resettlement team and grateful for the work of all our friends and allies. Whether you’re a congregation member who welcomes refugees, a staff member at a partner organization who works on resettlement every day, or someone who supports this tremendous effort in any other way — thank you!

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