Write a letter; Use your voice in Faith in Real Life

This Sunday, Sept. 15, in Fellowship Hall, members of WGPC will have the opportunity to write letters to their representatives regarding the proposed changes to the refugee resettlement program in the Faith in Real Life series. The event will take place at 9:30 a.m. between the two worship services.

Trump’s top administration officials were to meet this past Tuesday to decide on two possible options that would reduce the number of refugees settled in the U.S. to about half of what is allowed now or 10,000 to 15,000 refugees, or none at all as suggested by one administration official, according to a Sept. 6, article in the New York Times.

Who are refugees? According to the “National Immigration Forum Refugee Resettlement Fact Sheet,” “The U.S., based on international law, defines ‘refugee’ as a person outside the country of his or her nationality, who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Recently, the Mission Commission chose the International Institute of St. Louis as one of three organizations that will receive grants from Dorothy Meyer funds allocated to missions. The Institute is the only refugee sponsor in eastern and southwestern Missouri and resettles refugees as a subcontractor of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. 

What do refugee resettlement agencies do?
Shortly before the immigrants’ arrival, “the agencies arrange for their housing, which includes basic furnishings, appliances, climate-appropriate clothing, and some of the food typical of the refugees’ culture.” After the final screenings by the U.S. government, the agencies pick up the refugees at the airport and take them to their new homes, according to the Fact Sheet.

Once in their new home, the agencies help refugees “to start their lives in the U.S., with help applying for a Social Security card, registering children in school, accessing shopping, arranging medical appointments, and connecting them with needed social or language services.”

Major changes have been made to the refugee resettlement program since President Trump ordered its review two years ago after an executive order was issued intending to “offer resettlement opportunities to persons overseas who are of special humanitarian concern while protecting national security and combating fraud.”  Those changes include “lower admission ceilings, reallocation of resources to address the asylum backlog (about 492,000 people were living in the U.S. who were still in the process of acquiring affirmative asylum status at the end of 2018) and enhanced security vetting measures,” wrote Naylor Rush, senior researcher for the Center for Immigration Studies in an article “The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program under the Trump Administration.”

 “FY 2018 and FY 2019 ceiling determinations set by President Trump (45,000 and 30,000, respectively) are the lowest ceilings since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980,” Rush wrote.

Still “despite lower admissions, the U.S. resettled more refugees than any other nation in both 2017 and 2018,” according to Rush in her article, “Resettlement is only the tip of the Refugee-Protection Iceberg.”

“Out of some 26 million refugees worldwide, and the 1.2 million refugees in need of resettlement, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 81,337 were referred for resettlement in 2018,” to countries around the world.

 

 

 

We seek to live Christ's love, welcome all people and joyfully serve God.