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Here’s What Trump’s New Limits On Refugees Mean

September 20, 2018

The Trump administration recently announced a new level of refugee admissions many find controversial. The Pilgrims came to America fleeing religious intolerance and since the country’s founding refugees from around the world have seen the United States as a place to find freedom. But not everyone has welcomed refugees to our shores.

To understand the administration’s recent announcement on refugees and its implications, I interviewed Matthew Soerens, U.S. director of church mobilization at World Relief and the national coordinator of the Evangelical Immigration Table. Matthew is the co-author of the recent books Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate and Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis.

Read more from Forbes>>

Evangelical Leaders Object To Trump Administration Refugee Cap, Call for Increase

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday a ceiling of just 30,000 refugee admissions for fiscal year (FY) 2019, far lower than what leading evangelical voices have been urging.

Before President Trump consults Congress and formally signs a declaration, some evangelical Christian leaders are asking that they raise the cap significantly so that it reflects both the historical norm and the current record-high number of refugees worldwide.

They say that further cuts to the refugee resettlement program would harm religious freedom internationally and continue to shut out refugees of all backgrounds, including persecuted Christians and other religious minorities.

National leaders from the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter asking the Trump administration to admit more refugees for these reasons, also signed by more than 400 local pastors and leaders.

The announced new cap is even lower than this year’s historic low of 45,000 for this FY 2018, and the U.S. is on track to take in fewer than 22,000 refugees this fiscal year, also a record low.

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“A cap of 30,000 jeopardizes the safety of future refugees, including persecuted Christians, who will no longer be able to find refuge in the U.S. It also does not reflect the actual capacity or willingness of Americans to receive and resettle refugees. This decision contradicts the administration’s declared commitment to helping persecuted Christian and religious minorities in dangerous and oppressive countries. Evangelicals should be concerned by this assault against our call to support ‘the least of these.’”

Galen Carey, Vice President, Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States has resettled more than 3 million refugees, an average of over 80,000 per year. Over this time, our GDP in real dollars has nearly tripled, while the number of refugees forced to flee their countries has also tripled to more than 25 million. The United States has led the world in providing opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and peace. And yet, for 2019 the State Department has proposed to resettle only 30,000 refugees, a drastic reduction from our historic norm across Republican and Democratic administrations. We can do much better than this. We call on President Trump to approve a refugee admissions target of at least 75,000 for 2019.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Students and faculty in many Christian college and university communities, along with their local churches, have been deeply invested in welcoming refugees and helping them to integrate into local communities for many years. Now, though, the number of refugees admitted nationally is down roughly 75 percent from what it was just two years ago, and this week’s proposal to further reduce the refugee ceiling means arrivals will likely decline even further. Throughout the country, there are many eager to apply our Christian faith by welcoming those who have been forced to flee persecution. I urge our government to return the refugee ceiling to a level consistent with past administrations.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador and General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:
“The administration has made some laudable efforts to highlight the importance of protecting religious freedom internationally. But this proposed dramatic cut to the U.S. refugee resettlement program — which over the past four decades has provided safety, religious freedom and a new start to hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians forced to flee their home countries — undermines our national credibility on questions of religious freedom. It’s not too late for President Trump to change course and sign a presidential determination for a refugee ceiling closer to the historical norm, such as 75,000, which would mean hope for thousands of persecuted people throughout our world.”

Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Seeing yet another drop in refugee numbers should be a shock to the conscience of all Americans. One day we will be ashamed that we as a nation turned inward, and away from our great tradition of serving as a beacon of liberty to those fleeing for their lives. Obviously, we cannot take in unlimited numbers of refugees, but the increasingly lower number of those we do take is far below the level where America could and should be in leading the world in compassion for those in peril. As a Christian, I am concerned for the well-being of all those in peril. And I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the persecuted church, many of whom will be harmed by this closed door.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“America has long been a beacon of freedom and safety for those fleeing persecution, including many persecuted for their Christian faith, but the proposed cap of just 30,000 refugees would mean stepping back from our historic role of global leadership. We can both be a secure nation and a compassionate nation, leading the world in resettling the most vulnerable refugees who have been identified and vetted abroad and ensuring due process for those who reach our country to request asylum.”

Number Of Christian Refugees Admitted To The U.S. Falls Over 40% Under Trump

September 13, 2018 

In his relentless push to cut the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., President Donald Trump has ended up hurting members of a group he once pledged to protect ― Christians fleeing persecution in countries where they are unable to freely practice their faith.

Early in his presidency, Trump promised his evangelical base that Christian refugees would be prioritized. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at a summit organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association last year, told the world’s persecuted Christians, “We stand with you.” And over the summer, the State Department made overtures illustrating its commitment to protecting persecuted minorities, organizing an international conference about the importance of religious freedom.

Read more from Huffington Post>>

Trump Hurting Religious Freedom Worldwide With Refugee Cuts, Evangelical Leaders Say

September 13, 2018

Evangelical leaders are continuing to speak out against the Trump administration’s cuts to United States refugee resettlement, arguing that the historically low levels of refugees being resettled harms international religious freedom.

As President Donald Trump and his administration continue to deliberate on what to set the U.S. refugee resettlement cap at for fiscal year 2019, before it begins on Oct. 1, local evangelical pastors are joining national evangelical leaders in calling on the Trump administration to do its part to better serve a small minority of the nearly 70 million refugees around the world who don’t have a home.

Read more from The Christian Post>>

People of faith urge Trump to admit more refugees

September 12, 2018 

With a decision looming on how many refugees to admit into the country, and rumors swirling that the number could drop dramatically from this year’s historic low, people of faith are coming together to ask the Trump administration to instead allow tens of thousands more to enter the United States.

Representatives of some of the largest Protestant denominations in the country — including the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church — were planning to gather outside the White House on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to press President Trump to raise the number of refugees admitted in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 to 75,000 people.

Read more from The Presbyterian Outlook>>

Frontline Report: The Border

Re-posted with permission from World Relief: https://www.worldrelief.org/blog/frontline-report-the-border 

By Ted Oswald and Kevin Woehr

September 6, 2018

Lea este artículo en Español, Aquí.

Ted Oswald, World Relief Sacramento’s Immigration Legal Services staff attorney, and Kevin Woehr, DOJ Accredited Representative with World Relief DuPage/Aurora, recently returned from Tijuana, Mexico as part of a team comprised of World Relief staff from across the U.S. advising asylum seekers at the border. The following offers a brief but powerful glimpse into their time on the border.

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Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump Administration to Admit More Refugees

Click here for a recording of today’s call

September 12, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Further cuts to the U.S. refugee resettlement program would harm religious freedom internationally, local pastors and national leaders said on a press call today.

The Trump administration is expected to maintain or lower the refugee cap from this year’s historic low of 45,000, despite the record-high number of refugees worldwide. No matter the cap, the U.S. is on track to take in a record-low 22,000 refugees this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Refugees of all backgrounds, including Christians and other religious minorities fleeing persecution for their faith, have been shut out.

National leaders from the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter in August asking the Trump administration to admit more refugees, citing religious liberty and our history of offering safe haven to people fleeing religious persecution. Grassroots leaders have since joined them; more than 400 local pastors and lay leaders have signed on to the letter.

The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Nathan Bult, Director of Government Affairs, Bethany Christian Services:
“At Bethany Christian Services, we know that refugee resettlement saves lives, and that is why we are deeply concerned about the decline in refugee admissions. Every refugee has a name, every refugee has a story, and every refugee matters to God — that means every refugee should matter to us. As persecution of religious and ethnic minorities escalates around the world, Bethany remains committed to welcoming refugees just like Jesus has called us to.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Over the past 40 years, American evangelical Christians have opened their hearts and homes to hundreds of thousands of refugees, including many persecuted believers who would otherwise not be alive today. This extraordinary ministry of mercy has nearly ground to a halt as the sharp reduction in refugee resettlement approvals has left tens of thousands of refugees stranded in dangerous refugee camps and settlements. We can and must do much better than this. We ask President Trump to allow at least 75,000 refugees to resettle in the United States in the coming year.”

Eric Costanzo, Senior Pastor, South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma:
“At a time when the needs of the world’s most vulnerable are the greatest, we are in danger of welcoming fewer children, women and men than ever in our refugee resettlement program’s history, including after 9/11. The program has nearly been ground to a halt, and its infrastructure for the future is evaporating. As American evangelical Christians, living in a country with unmatched wealth and extravagance, I believe we must absolutely ask ourselves how God would have us respond on behalf of people made in His image during the worst refugee crisis the world has ever seen. We are praying that the current administration and our elected officials will listen to those of us who work with refugees personally, and restore responsible vitality to our resettlement program.”

Patrick Vaughn, Assistant Pastor, Christ Church East Bay, Oakland, California:
“As an evangelical pastor, I believe hospitality toward refugees reflects the heart of God. As followers of Jesus and as Americans, I believe the Church has extensive resources for welcoming refugees. It is my sincere hope, along with other evangelical Christians, that as a country we will be courageous by sharing our resources by welcoming refugees into the freedom and security that our country has to offer to refugees.”

Jenny Yang, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“The drastic decline in refugee resettlement over the past couple years has meant that far fewer persecuted people, including those persecuted for their Christian faith, have been able to find safety and religious freedom in the U.S. A further cut to the ceiling for refugee resettlement would harm even more people persecuted for their faith. We’re praying that President Trump will set the ceiling back at 75,000, and World Relief and our many partner churches, along with other resettlement organizations, stand ready to welcome them.”

Statement on the Life and Legacy of Sen. John McCain

August 30, 2018 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The leadership of the Evangelical Immigration Table issued the following statement reflecting on the life and legacy of Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who died on Saturday. Quotes from Table leaders and Arizona evangelical pastors follow the statement:

“As evangelical leaders, we honor the life and leadership of Sen. John McCain. We will particularly miss his leadership in the long struggle to reform our broken immigration system. Sen. McCain pushed for immigration reform for years, participating in countless meetings with evangelical leaders both in Arizona and in Washington, D.C. He expressed appreciation for the approach and principles of the Evangelical Immigration Table, with a concern for border security, family unity, refugee resettlement, a responsive legal immigration system and a workable solution for the undocumented.

Representing a border state at the center of the nation’s immigration debate, he displayed a clear understanding of the issues and a keen appreciation for the invaluable contributions of immigrants to strengthening our nation. 

Sen. McCain was a man of character and faith, which he displayed in the many meetings during which he requested the prayers of faith leaders. He frequently would take the time to pray with those he encountered as he sought wisdom and courage to carry out his leadership duties faithfully.

His passing leaves a large void in Congress, not only on immigration but on other issues, including religious freedom and human rights. His leadership and role as a senior statesman will be missed deeply. Our prayers are with Sen. McCain’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.  We pray for others to take up his mantle of courageous and compassionate leadership.”

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment (formerly Korean Churches for Community Development)

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador and General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church

Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

The following are quotes from national leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table and from local pastors in Arizona:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“John McCain courageously sought immigration reform — seeking answers instead of arguments. Who will courageously continue his cause?”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Sen. John McCain was a champion for refugees, immigrants and vulnerable people around the world. His values-driven leadership made our country and the world better, and he will be greatly missed.”

Caleb Campbell, Lead Pastor, Desert Springs Bible Church, Phoenix:
“Sen. McCain represented me in Washington for the majority of my life. Though a maverick, he was no island. He was part of the community and nation he served. His steadfast courage, principled leadership and winsome storytelling will be greatly missed.”

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“What a great loss for our country and the world. We will miss Sen. McCain’s leadership and presence.”

Chris Schutte, Former Rector, Christ Church Anglican, Phoenix:
“In the midst of his busy schedule in the fall of 2013, Sen. McCain took time with meet with a group of evangelical pastors to discuss how we might best engage our congregations on the issue of immigration. The senator took many personal risks in his consistent advocacy for a compassionate, pragmatic, and inclusive immigration policies—respectful of the rule of law while also understanding the complexities of individual stories—and his courage inspired us to draw on the biblical stories of welcoming strangers in our own life and ministries. He also seemed genuinely desirous of prayer. No one can replace Senator John McCain, but I’m hopeful that his vision for Arizona, America, and the world might take root in these most troubling times.”

Small Town Life and the Great Commandment

Re-posted with permission from Texas Baptists: http://txb.life/article/small-town-life-and-the-great-commandment 

By Chris McLain

I can’t speak for those living in urban contexts, but in Crowell it matters whether you’re native-born or a transplant from elsewhere.

Let me explain. It’s not that new people who move into our community are any less welcome or loved than the locals, but their experience of small-town life is certainly different.

(more…)

Over 750 Faith Groups, Leaders Say Trump Must Allow More Refugees in the US

August 26, 2018

An interfaith coalition of more than 750 religious groups and leaders have demanded that the Trump administration allow for more refugees to settle in the United States.

The Trump administration has garnered controversy for its reduction in the number of refugees being allowed to resettle in the United States.

In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump and officially dated Aug. 21, the religious groups declared that “people of faith will not stand by idly as the United States turns its back on these individuals.”

Read more from The Christian Post>>

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