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Press Release // Family Reunification

President Touts Immigration Plan that Undermines Families, Ignores Scaling Crisis

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LIRS Staff

May 17, 2019

Media Contact: Becca Heller | | 410-230-2746

BALTIMORE, MD – The President delivered an address yesterday, outlining an immigration plan that would dismantle current standards for family reunification and asylum, while failing to offer tangible solutions to the urgent humanitarian crisis at our border.  The plan instead focuses on implementing merit-based immigration and stemming the flow of individuals who are entering the country to be reunited with family members.

“The proposal’s narrow focus on merit-based immigration and militant border enforcement ignores some of the most pressing challenges this nation faces in terms of immigration,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of LIRS (Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service). “There is an immediate humanitarian crisis at our border… There are children dying in U.S. custody and en route to the border almost every month – and migrant families who are struggling to secure basic necessities. It’s almost unfathomable to sweep these things under the rug while addressing immigration in any kind of serious manner.”

While the President acknowledged that we as Americans “cherish the open door,” this plan fails to include components that are crucial to a healthy immigration system, not the least of which entails addressing the escalating crisis at our border.

“We need a plan that considers the full scope of immigration in America, from Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status recipients to asylum seekers and families,” said Vignarajah. “And we can’t afford to ignore the increasingly dire humanitarian situation at our border.”

In the absence of federal aid, LIRS has independently set out to coordinate emergency operations at the border, offering families immediate shelter, food, and basic necessities to migrant families who have been released from detention with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“Many of these families have young children and are fleeing unimaginable hardship,” said Vignarajah.  “They simply want the same things that we all want: a roof over our heads, a hot meal, and the chance to keep their loved ones safe from harm. For us to turn our backs on these families… it’s un-American.”

Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is one of the largest immigration and refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.

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