Evangelical Leaders Commend President Biden for Raising Refugee Ceiling
Washington, D.C. — On Monday, President Biden signed an order revising the ceiling on refugee admissions for the current fiscal year. The following is a statement from the Evangelical Immigration Table:
For decades, evangelical Christians have played a significant role in welcoming refugees to the United States. Evangelical leaders are grateful for President Biden’s decision to raise the refugee ceiling to 62,500 for fiscal year 2021, consistent with the administration’s commitment in February. This increased ceiling will allow a greater number of vetted individuals who have fled persecution in their countries of origin towards opportunity, safety, and freedom in the United States. Evangelical churches throughout the nation are eager to partner with the federal government and with refugee resettlement agencies to welcome these new neighbors, motivated by our biblical call to love our neighbors.
Evangelical leaders voiced concerns both last fall when President Trump set the refugee ceiling at a historically low 15,000 and a few weeks ago when President Biden kept that ceiling in place. We are grateful that President Biden has now significantly increased the refugee ceiling for the remainder of this fiscal year and that he announced his intention to follow through on his commitment to raise the refugee ceiling to 125,000 in fiscal year 2022.
An increased refugee ceiling is a necessary but insufficient step to rebuilding the U.S. refugee resettlement program. We note with concern the president’s preemptive disclaimer that his new target will not be reached. Further action and accountability will be necessary to increase the capacity for both overseas processing and vetting as well as for resettlement within the U.S. We urge the Biden administration to prioritize this rebuilding, ensuring that the U.S. can once again lead the world in resettlement of the most vulnerable of refugees, including many persecuted for their faith, for their democratic opposition to tyrannical governments, for their race or ethnicity and for their service to the U.S. military.
The following are quotes from individual leaders of evangelical organizations:
Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“We are relieved and encouraged to see a renewed commitment to keep the United States a beacon of light for those fleeing persecution. Without this key step, many refugee families would have continued to be kept apart and many vulnerable refugees unable to find protection here. We thank President Biden and encourage his ongoing support for refugees.”
Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Thousands of refugees will have an opportunity to rebuild their lives in peace and freedom thanks to President Biden’s action raising this year’s resettlement ceiling. That is good news for a world struggling to cope with record levels of persecution and displacement. And it is a call to action for churches and Christians across the country to welcome those God is sending to our shores.”
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“I’m thankful President Biden revised his decision on the refugee ceiling. This action is the first step in bringing admissions back to the historical average and our nation back to our own ideals as a beacon of freedom. There are real people facing slaughter, including persecuted Christians and other imperiled religious minorities, and this decision means that we will soon be able to welcome and protect them as our new American neighbors.”
Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:
“Raising the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 is the right thing to do. It is an ambitious goal but a necessary step in the right direction to rebuild the resettlement program, bringing hope to thousands of vulnerable refugees around the globe. Bethany Christian Services stands alongside networks of churches, businesses, and communities who are ready to welcome refugees through this lifesaving program.”
Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“We are thankful that the administration has raised the refugee ceiling as it had promised and remains committed to ensuring these commitments are maintained. Our nation’s ongoing commitment to the most vulnerable ought to be an essential part of our national character.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.