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LIRS Warns Against 40% Reduction to Current Refugee Ceiling

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PRESS STATEMENT – LIRS Warns Against 40% Reduction to Current Refugee Ceiling

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2018

Danielle Bernard; 410-230-2888

As the Administration prepares to announce a new ceiling for refugee arrivals in Fiscal Year 2019, reports emerged today that the White House is considering yet another round of devastating cuts to the number of refugees provided safety through the U.S. refugee resettlement program.

“In the midst of the worst global displacement crisis in history, it would be simply unconscionable to further close our doors to refugees seeking freedom from persecution and violence,” said Kay Bellor, Vice President for Programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). “This decision is about more than just a number. Right now the Administration is weighing the lives of men, women, and children.”

Today the New York Times reported that the Administration is discussing one plan that would reduce the current refugee admission cap by more than 40 percent – setting the limit for refugee arrivals at just 25,000.

In FY 2018, the administration cut the ceiling for refugee arrivals from 110,000 to an unprecedented low of 45,000. Lowering that number to 25,000, if implemented, would reflect more than a 77% decrease to the U.S. refugee ceiling in just three years.

“America is better because of the hardworking and contributing refugees we resettle here,” continued Bellor. “They are customers in our stores and businesses, small business owners who pay payroll taxes, and our neighbors who give to local churches and charities. Much of our continued success as a nation will rest on our ability to embrace those who come here seeking protection and better opportunities for themselves and their families.”

“For over a century this country has been a beacon of hope for persecuted individuals across the world. We are at our finest when we have acted on the ideals of freedom and hard work and welcomed refugees and asylum seekers. To see that legacy further undermined would be devastating to America and to those who look to us for global leadership.”


For the last several months, LIRS has been leading an advocacy effort to encourage the Administration to set the refugee ceiling at 75,000 in FY19. You can support this effort today by visiting

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 nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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