The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.

Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

LIRS Denounces Administration’s Plans to Close Key Immigration Operations Abroad as a Backdoor Attempt to Halt Legal Immigration

LIRS logo

LIRS Staff

March 18, 2019

Media Contact: Danielle Bernard | | 410-230-2888

BALTIMORE, MD — The Administration’s announcement last week of its plans to close international immigration offices is nothing but an attempt to halt legal immigration to the United States.

“Closing the very same offices that help the most brilliant minds in the world come to our universities and ensure that spouses and children reunify with their loved ones in America directly correlates to the President trying to dismantle the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” said Krish Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service).

The responsibilities of the International Operations Division (IO) of USCIS’ Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate include reuniting families, enabling adoptive children to join permanent families in the U.S., considering parole requests from individuals outside the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, and providing information services and travel documents to people around the world, among others. The logistical support provided by the office to teams of refugee officers when traveling abroad to interview refugees is of essence to the success of their mission.

“The unnecessary delays that this decision will create will cause additional pain and suffering to those seeking asylum and to the families of those who already were granted asylum in the U.S. As an example, the Administration has often talked about helping the people of Venezuela, many of whom are either in the process of getting asylum or have family members waiting to be granted the opportunity to join their relatives here,” added Vignarajah. “For refugees and asylees, this decision will crush their dreams of family reunification. How do you explain that to a 5 year old waiting to see her mom or dad?”

Founded in 1939, LIRS (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.

The Latest

  • Press Release · Immigration and Asylum

    November 29, 2023

    LIRS Opposes Congressional Efforts to End Asylum Protections in Budget Negotiations

    As a bipartisan group of Senators continue negotiations on President Biden’s $106 billion funding request, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service urges lawmakers to safeguard critical asylum protections

    Read More
  • Press Release · Empowering Refugees

    November 20, 2023

    Overcoming Poverty and Raising Wages: “New American Cities” Workforce Development Program

    LIRS and Yoga Alliance will establish a pilot program that will incorporate yoga to help refugees and immigrants heal from the emotional trauma they experienced on their journeys to the United States.

    Read More
  • News · Immigration and Asylum

    November 10, 2023

    Unsung Heroes: Immigrants in the U.S. Military

    An estimated 700,000 foreign-born veterans call this country home, while approximately 45,000 immigrants are currently defending our freedoms as members of the armed forces.

    Read More
  • Press Release · Empowering Refugees

    November 9, 2023

    LIRS Partners with Yoga Alliance to Develop Innovative Mental Health Programming

    LIRS and Yoga Alliance will establish a pilot program that will incorporate yoga to help refugees and immigrants heal from the emotional trauma they experienced on their journeys to the United States.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    November 2, 2023

    LIRS Urges Pakistan to Halt Afghan Deportation Campaign

    Nearly 120,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the U.S. government's shelter system in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. LIRS stresses the need for more robust protections, additional resources for post-release services, and access to legal representation

    Read More