STATEMENT – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) Severely Disappointed in Congress for Allowing another Pointless Government Shutdown
For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S., released the following statement today on Congress’ decision to shut down the government.
“LIRS is severely disappointed in Congress’ failure to reach an agreement to fund government operations for the remaining eight months of this fiscal year and is instead allowing the government to shutdown. They also missed a golden opportunity to provide a legislative solution to DREAMers. This is in no way acceptable. A government shutdown has many harmful effects on Americans, including migrants and refugees, who depend on government services and personnel. Every member of the House and Senate swore an oath when they took office, saying ‘I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.’ It’s time for Congress to do its job – pass a budget and reach a sensible bipartisan solution that protects the 800,000 DREAMers.
“As Americans and people of faith, we cannot undercut the value we place on keeping families together. Each day we fail to address how we will maintain DACA, we are one step closer to destabilizing the status of thousands of people who live in our communities, work hard, worship in our local churches, and call America home.
“Not only does the shutdown let DREAMers down, it also impacts the non-profit organizations like LIRS and the tens of thousands of refugees and migrants we serve because of our faith. The wait and the temporary loss in vital services could be life-threatening. A shutdown can also translate into a prolonged family separation.
“It is unfortunate that for the second time this decade, a government shutdown is being used as a political weapon, with disregard for the real-life consequences for vulnerable communities. We urge Congress to seek a prompt solution to ensure we keep our promise of hope to the hundreds of thousands of people looking to build a life in America.
Founded in 1939, 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.