Welcoming Communities

LIRS and Your Support

As Lutherans, our faith calls us to welcome refugees and migrants to this country who are in desperate need of help with extended arms and God’s love.

For nearly 80 years, people like you have helped LIRS ensure a bright future for more than 500,000 people who have rebuilt their lives here in America.

Over the years, LIRS has become nationally recognized for its leadership in providing life-sustaining services for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, migrants in detention, families torn apart by war and violence, and other vulnerable populations.

In addition to your support, LIRS depends on a diverse network of community service partners, faith-based groups, and private entities to magnify our services for people across the country.

Through LIRS volunteers and staff at the local level, your support helps refugees get settled during their first critical months in the United States.

You also help us advocate for better treatment of families held in immigration detention. And your support provides critical resources for our staff helping refugee children, who have been separated from their parents find loving foster homes in 18 communities throughout the country.

With your ongoing support, we are working to see that all migrants and refugees are protected, embraced, and empowered to thrive in a world of just and welcoming communities.

Miraculous Story of Survival

Aaron was only 14-years old when he and his younger sister Aida barely escaped Ethiopia as men from the military approached their village to recruit child soldiers.

Aaron’s father was already in jail as a political prisoner. His mother was forced to flee with only four of her children. Aaron and Aida hid in their aunt’s home, as she arranged for the perilous journey the children would have to endure to survive.

When they arrived in America, LIRS stood ready to welcome and assist Aaron and Aida.

You can imagine how traumatized the children were.

So LIRS made sure they got immediate medical attention, including therapy for their trauma, as well as vaccinations and dental care. Ultimately, LIRS arranged for the two children to travel from Texas to Massachusetts where they now live in a loving foster home.

After intense therapy, tutoring, and hard work, Aaron made the leap in just one year from a 5th grade education level to a 9th grade level. Since then, he has become a varsity soccer champion and academic superstar. He was even crowned homecoming king, and he will graduate this year with honors, after which, he plans to study engineering in college.

Separated while trying to escape war, gangs, kidnappings and other violence, a growing number of unaccompanied refugee children are making their way to the U.S. border. And while not all children travel as far, your ongoing support for LIRS helps show God’s gracious love to refugees children like Aaron and Aida and their foster families throughout the U.S.

Your gifts to LIRS provide needed support services to help these children thrive in new families, new schools, and new communities.

Myths About Refugees Revealed

As a vital arm of the United States refugee resettlement program, LIRS works to welcome vulnerable refugees and their families in communities across the country. And while there are many myths about refugees, here are two of the most important truths behind two of the biggest myths surrounding refugees:

Myth #1: It is easy for refugees to enter the United States.

Truth: Refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the U.S.

The entire refugee admission process can take up to 2 years and often longer as refugees undergo vigorous background and national security checks, including an in-person interview with a United States Customs and Immigrations officer. And only then, are refugees referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement where they are paired with organizations like LIRS.

Myth #2: Refugees are a drain on the American economy.

Truth: While many refugees are initially dependent on public benefits, the longer they stay in the United States the fewer benefits they use, and the more they make a positive contribution to our nation’s economy. Nationally, nearly 82 percent of the refugee population works. What’s more, refugees start businesses at twice the rate of the general population, contributing more than $20 billion overall in annual taxes.

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