advocacy / immigration / refugees

Advocacy Action Alert: Lend your voice to support raising the U.S. annual ceiling for refugee admissions

By Elket Rodríguez

People of faith must speak up for immigrants before next Wednesday, Sept. 30, when President Donald Trump will set U.S. refugee quotas for the next fiscal year, CBF leaders urged.

The current U.S. refugee admissions ceiling is 18,000—the lowest number of refugees resettled in a single year since Congress established the refugee resettlement program in the wake of the Vietnam War four decades ago. Blaming the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has threatened to delay setting the immigration cap past the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, or to drop the quota below this year’s historically low number.

The current limit is a fraction of the historic average of 95,000 immigrants admitted. Slamming the door on refugees shamefully defies Christian teaching, CBF leaders said.

“Refugees have fled their home countries out of fear for their very lives,” noted Kim Wyatt, who with her spouse, Marc, are CBF field personnel and founders of the Welcome House Community Network. “We as a country of plenty should look to provide a country of safety to some of this multitude of people, 30 million refugees, who don’t have a country to call home.”

“We can do better, and we must, because our faith requires it as we show we are Christ-followers by our love, by our welcome, by our hospitality, and by our compassion,” she said, pointing to Jesus’ teaching that Christians will demonstrate their love for him by how they treat the people he called “the least.”

“The fact the number of refugees has decreased in recent years is shameful, especially when we, as Christians, have specific mandates to care for those who seek refuge and flee from violence and poverty,” added Rubén Ortiz, coordinator of CBF’s Latino Network. “If God cares about them, we must care.

“The greatness of our country lies in its willingness to serve those fleeing violence and persecution. We do not want to carry the shame of calling ourselves a country of Christian values while exhibiting the actions that demonstrate the opposite.”

The president is required to consult with Congress before setting the annual ceiling for refugee admission. That deadline is Sept. 30.

CBF Advocacy for Immigrants and Refugees has joined its partners Church World Services and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition in urging members to call on Congress to set the U.S. refugee capacity at least as high as 95,000 people per year.

You can do your part by telling your Senators about your support for refugees, explaining the command to welcome your neighbor informs your Christian approach to immigrants. Share any personal story you have with refugees.

To find who represents you in Congress, click here.

• For a sample script and email text, and for social media resources in support of refugees, click here.

• For stories about how CBF field personnel and churches are working directly with refugees, click here.

For more information about CBF’s advocacy efforts and numerous published resources on the CBF website, click here

Join CBF Conversations Tuesday, Oct. 13,  at 1:00 p.m. Central Time to learn more about the stories of Jemima and Itzayana, two DACA recipients a who are living with the uncertainty of their future. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 1:00 p.m. Central Time, CBF Conversations will feature field  personnel Marc Wyatt and Greg Smith as they discuss how to think and act biblically on immigration.

Elket Rodríguez is an immigrant and refugee advocacy and missions specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Fellowship Southwest

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