Citing Religious Liberty, Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump Administration to Support Refugee Resettlement

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Citing Religious Liberty, Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump Administration to Support Refugee Resettlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evangelical Christian leaders have sent a letter asking the Trump administration to raise the refugee ceiling, citing religious liberty and our nation’s history of offering safe haven to people fleeing religious persecution.

Signatories express deep concern that further cuts to the U.S. refugee resettlement program would harm religious freedom internationally. The letter was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.

“We ask you each to do all that is within your authority to ensure that the various departments of the U.S. government cooperate to resume refugee resettlement at a level consistent with historical norms, including recommending to the president a refugee ceiling of at least 75,000 for fiscal year 2019 and allocating necessary resources to ensure that refugees are being processed and vetted as efficiently as possible overseas,” the letter reads in part.

The following are quotes from national evangelical leaders who have signed on to the letter:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Those who are persecuted and displaced because of their faith need our support. For many, it is a matter of life and death. We urge our leaders to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in the coming year.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Compassion and security are not mutually exclusive. The United States has for many years been a beacon of hope to persecuted people around the world. We have also been an example to many other nations who have followed our lead to welcome those persecuted for their faith. We have nearly abandoned this place of moral leadership — admittance of persecuted Christians from particular countries is down 98 percent, for example. We urge our leaders to return to our national heritage of welcome to persecuted people of all faiths (or no faith at all).”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“The United States has long welcomed people from around the world who are fleeing dangerous situations, including religious persecution. Our faith calls us to care for those who are most vulnerable. The Church stands ready to assist refugees; there are good and ready solutions to urgent problems. We urge this administration to support these solutions.”

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Korean Churches for Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Our country was founded by those seeking religious freedom. We urge Secretary Pompeo and other leaders to continue to honor our country’s legacy and leadership. The recent stark decline in the number of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities allowed into the U.S. refugee resettlement program is appalling. We urge the administration’s leadership and commitment to those seeking protection and freedom and to reset the settlement numbers to past historic numbers.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:
“As a participant in the recent ministerial conference on religious freedom, I was encouraged concerning the commitment of this administration to the suffering people. We in the faith community stand ready to welcome the persecuted and are ready for increased numbers.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I’m grateful for efforts to support religious freedom throughout the world. Until other countries are free of religious persecution, though, it is vital that the U.S. continue to welcome refugees who have been persecuted on account of their faith. As a nation, we must not turn our backs on the persecuted church.”

Travis Wussow, Vice President for Public Policy and General Counsel, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“One key measure of our country’s commitment to religious freedom abroad is how we treat the refugee fleeing persecution. Unfortunately, while attention to religious freedom is growing, the number of refugees admitted to the United States – including the admission of persecuted Christians – is shrinking. Our commitment is wide in speech, but is it deep enough in action to welcome refugees upon our shores? We are expected to do both.”

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