Emergency Appeal: Expanding Welcome

March 16, 2021

Appeal Code: 6303


In February 2021 the Biden administration issued an executive order signaling the administration’s promise to restore and rebuild the life-saving program and committing to raising the refugee admissions goal to 125,000 for Fiscal Year 2022 with a revised refugee admissions goal of 62,500 for FY 2021 — an important step toward returning the resettlement program to historic norms, which CWS’ resettlement network needs to begin preparing for now.

At the same time, the administration has taken several key steps to end policies including Migrant Protection Protocols and Safe Third Country agreements which blocked families from entering the U.S. to seek asylum protection along the southern border.

These important actions have created pathways of opportunity and protection long denied to refugees and asylum seekers. In the coming months, tens of thousands of refugees will be able to make their way to the U.S. after four long years of waiting, and will finally have the opportunity to rejoin family members and communities as they restart their lives. Along the southern border, asylum seekers who have been stuck in Mexico awaiting the opportunity to have their cases heard will finally be allowed to cross into safety.

The current emergency situation at the southern border is compounding humanitarian crises. In February 2021, over 100,000 people crossed the border, which included nearly double the usual amount of unaccompanied minors. As of March 2021, an estimated 4,000 unaccompanied children are currently in U.S. Government detention.

The Biden Administration, both with refugees and asylum seekers, is struggling in articulating and fulfilling a vision of welcome for those seeking safety in our country. Much of the response to this emergency is being outsourced to communities of faith – both at the border and throughout the nation – and the need is enormous, and growing daily. Four years ago, CWS helped issue an Ecumenical Declaration, calling for the nation’s people of faith to engage in actively calling for welcome and the repeal of damaging policies issued by the government. Today, at this Ecumenical Summit, we are raising the alarm about the need to hold our government accountable to the promises they’ve made, and to provide critical resources to help those who deserve access to protection, dignity and safety.

CWS Response

CWS is responding to this moment through both our voice and our actions, recognizing the importance of this series of events for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees who have waited for years for the ability to seek safety in the U.S. Refugees coming to the U.S. through the resettlement program will need support to maintain stability as they adjust to a new life in a new community through immediate housing support as well as in assistance in telling their stories about the importance of building more welcoming communities. For asylum seekers, needs range from immediate housing and travel support to ensuring adequate case management, psychosocial support, and legal services which will help them to have their asylum cases adjudicated with adequate representation.

CWS has legal service provision, case management staff through its program Leading With Welcome, and serves as the coordinator for the Border Asylum Shelter Coalition – a network of 17 shelters along the southern border who have been serving asylum seekers for decades. CWS is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S., and has been resettling refugees in communities across the country for nearly 75 years.


  • $200,000 to support immediate needs in and around the southern border through the Border Shelter Network Coalition CWS supports, including CWS blankets and money for onward travel after asylum seekers have finished their initial process with the U.S. government.
  • $200,000 to support case management services for asylum seekers in destination cities within the U.S.
  • $100,000 to help with immediate refugee resettlement needs across CWS’ network of 23 offices throughout the country
  • $350,000 to increase legal service provision for asylum seekers
  • $150,000 to support CWS’ refugee resettlement program, including helping staff members in existing locations prepare their communities for increased refugee arrivals

TOTAL: $1 million

How to Help

Donations can be made online, sent to your denomination or church, or sent to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Please designate “Expanding Welcome” on all checks.