For Immediate Release:
August 2, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) strongly opposes the RAISE ACT, a dangerous and harmful piece of legislation introduced today by Senators Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA) and endorsed by President Donald Trump at the White House.
If passed, the RAISE Act would drastically, and permanently, reduce the amount of refugees the U.S. could protect each year through the U.S. refugee program, destroy the life-saving family-based visa program, cause families to be permanently separated without hope of being together, slash legal immigration in half to devastating economic effect, and move our immigration system to a solely “merit” based system that would, in reality, discriminate against hard working immigrants who contribute every single day to our communities, our economy and our nation.
“Immigrants and refugees enrich and strengthen the United States,” said Linda Hartke, LIRS president and CEO. “Our faith demands that we stand with vulnerable immigrants and refugees, especially in a moment when our world is facing a refugee crisis on a scale never before seen. We have over 65 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, over 22 million refugees, half of whom are children. Our country can, and should, not turn a blind eye to those in need.”
“While everyone agrees that our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, this bill only causes more harm,” continued Hartke. “This piece of legislation would separate hundreds of thousands of family members from their loved ones here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Further, in a rush to score political points, this bill foolishly disregards the countless contributions that refugees and immigrants bring to our state and local economies.”
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency 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.