For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – As an organization that has dedicated itself to welcoming the stranger for over 75 years, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is deeply saddened by the Trump Administration’s decision to place additional restrictions on refugees who are seeking to be resettled in the United States.
After ending the 120-day ban on refugee resettlement, the Administration has restarted the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program while extending a ban on refugees from 11 countries and implementing new vetting requirements that will leave thousands of vulnerable people without a safe haven.
The resettlement program that the U.S. government has built, in partnership with faith communities and other non-profit organizations, works—and it works well. The new vetting procedures will slow and unnecessarily disrupt and dismantle this life-saving program and undermine the very foundation of our commitment to freedom and justice for people seeking safety.
“As people of faith, we strive to always welcome our neighbors,” said Linda Hartke, President and CEO of LIRS. “This announcement is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Refugees are already the most vetted group of individuals who arrive in our country. At a time when over half of the world’s 22 million refugees are children, creating additional barriers that separate vulnerable families, increase wait times for people living in volatile environments, and make it more difficult for women and children to find safety, is not the America I know.”
In this time of great need, when over 65 million people worldwide are displaced, the U.S. can and must continue to welcome refugees to our shores.
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.