Lutherans Advocate for Syrian Refugees in DC

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LIRS representatives delivered hundreds of Syrian petition signatures to White House officials.

On October 26–27, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) brought together over 30 Lutheran bishops, pastors, service partners, and leaders for the annual Lutheran Immigration Leadership Summit (LILS). This event draws leaders who commit themselves and their communities to the mission of welcoming migrants and refugees. This year, LILS focused on welcoming refugees in the midst of the global refugee crisis.

Advocacy Training Day

LILS kicked off with a day of in-depth advocacy training led by noteworthy experts and advocates. LIRS staff prepared participants to call on Congress and the Administration to champion positive refugee resettlement legislation, protect families by rejecting the practice of family detention, and invest in robust resources for refugees. The day drew to a close with a dinner reception that included remarks from Robert Carey, Director for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, who praised and inspired LILS participants for their dedicated work.

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LIRS representatives speak with Representative Roybal-Allard.

Advocating for Syrian Refugees

The following day, LILS participants and representatives from several congressional offices gathered for a Lutheran Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill. Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), a staunch advocate for increasing aid to and resettlement of Syrian refugees, motivated our participants with his call for action.

After the inspiring messages from Congressman Cicilline, congressional staff, and Lutheran religious leaders, LILS participants headed off for a day of congressional visits. They met with 50 offices in both the House and Senate —including 10 in-person meetings with members of Congress. In addition, LILS participants attended a meeting with White House officials, including representatives from the National Security Council, Domestic Policy Council, and the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. They demanded an end to the practice of family detention and delivered petitions from thousands of Lutherans asking for the resettlement of more Syrian refugees.

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Representative Cicilline speaks at the Lutheran Prayer Breakfast during the Lutheran Immigration Leadership Summit.

Moving Forward

We would like to thank all of our participants for sharing their time, talents, and passion for welcoming refugees. As they return to their congregations, ministries, and hometowns across the nation, we anticipate they will continue using the tools, skills and support obtained during our time together. Most importantly, we know our shared work of welcoming the stranger continues.

Continue to advocate for welcome and support our efforts working with Syrian refugees by donating at LIRS.org/supportsyria.

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