Refugee Advocates Call on Congress to Restore the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

February 13, 2019

Dear Honorable Members of The 116th Congress:

Over the past two years, the administration has made drastic changes to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), resulting in human tragedy and long-term damage to the United States’ ability to respond to displacement crises. We urge Members of Congress to utilize their oversight authority to protect and rebuild the USRAP so that its legacy can continue as a pillar of U.S. leadership.

Following executive orders that suspended the entire USRAP for months, the administration has continued to dismantle the program by setting refugee admissions numbers at historic lows. Last year, the administration failed to meet even half of its own 45,000 admissions number, and this year the President set that number at an all-time low of 30,000. With less than 6,000 refugees resettled in the first fiscal quarter, the administration is once again failing to meet even its own low goal. It is critical that the administration resettle every one of those 30,000 refugees in FY 2019. There is absolutely no reason why this low number cannot be met, as the United States has admitted, on average, 80,000 refugees each year since 1980.

Resettlement is the last resort for refugees – people who have been persecuted for their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group – who cannot return to their home country and cannot rebuild their lives in the country where they first fled. That’s why, in the wake of World War II, congregations and community members across the United States built what we now know to be the USRAP. The program has a legacy of bipartisanship, with Congress unanimously passing The Refugee Act of 1980 and both sides of the aisle celebrating the resettlement of refugees from Nazi Germany, Vietnam, Cuba, Sudan, Burma, and Iraq. The State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, FBI, and National Counterterrorism Center conduct interviews, background checks, biometric scans, and security screenings for every refugee before they are invited to be resettled in the United States.

The USRAP is also a strategic component of U.S. foreign policy. In today’s global displacement crisis, many countries including Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya are hosting millions of refugees. As we strive to promote regional stability and international security, it is critical that the United States both provide infrastructure assistance and increase resettlement to alleviate pressure on these countries. By reducing our commitments on resettlement, the administration has made it more difficult for the United States to credibly ask other countries to host refugees and to advance our own foreign policy interests.

We stand ready and willing to work with Members of Congress to see that the USRAP continues to be a life-saving program that demonstrates the best of who we are as a country.



Adrian Dominican Sisters
Agency for New Americans

Alliance of Baptists
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Jewish World Service
Anti-Defamation League
Bethany Christian Services
Capuchin Province of St. Joseph
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Victims of Torture
Church World Service
Coalition on Human Needs
Congregation of Divine Providence of Kentucky
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes
Daughters of Charity – USA
Disciples Home Missions
Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Dominican Sisters of Adrian
Dominican Sisters of Peace
Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
Ecumenical Poverty Initiative
Emgage Action
Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Franciscan Action Network
Freedom Network USA
Hispanic Federation
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights First
Immigrant Families Together Foundation
International Institute of Minnesota
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Islamic Relief USA
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province
Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Leadership Team of the Felician Sisters of North America
Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran Services in America
Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigration Law Center
National Justice for Our Neighbors
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

National Survivor Network, Policy
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
One Journey

Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbyterian Church Office of Public Witness
Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order

Refugees International
Saint Francis Ministries
School Sisters of Notre Dame – Central Pacific Province
Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Leadership
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross USA Province
Sisters of the Holy Cross

South East Asian Faith Initiatives
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
The America Team for Displaced Eritreans
The Episcopal Church
The Hat Project
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ)
United Church of Christ
World Relief



¡HICA! Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
Beloved Community Church, UCC
Birmingham Interfaith Refugee Ministry
Faith in Action Alabama
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham



Immigrant Families Together – AZ

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest

National Council of Jewish Women /AZ Section

Shadow Rock United Church of Christ

The Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans

Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona Network



Canopy NWA

Faith Voices Arkansas



Al Otro Lado

Brentwood Presbyterian Church

Centro Legal de la Raza

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)


Culver City Presbyterian Church

Diocese of Oakland-Retired

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

Dominican Sisters of San Rafael

Episcopal Diocese of Northern CA

Felician Sisters of North America

Franciscans for Justice

Haitian Bridge Alliance


Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service

International Institute of the Bay Area

Knox Presbyterian Church

La Maestra Community Health Centers

Mission Santa Clara

North County Immigration Task Force

Opening Doors, Inc.

Pilgrim United Church of Christ

Presbytery of the Pacific

Presentation Sisters S.F. C.A.

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Province

Religious Sisters of Charity

Retired-Diocese of Oakland, California

Roman Catholic

San Diego Peace Corps Association

Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)

Society of the Sacred Heart

St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley

USC Gould School of Law International Human Rights Clinic

USC International Human Rights Clinic

World Relief in Modesto

World Relief in Southern California

World Relief Sacramento



AFSC Colorado

Colorado African Organization

Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights

Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition

Denver Justice Project

Denver Metro Sanctuary Coalition

ECDC African Community Center Denver

Grupo Huitzilopochtli

International Rescue Committee in Denver

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains

Project Worthmore

Servicios de la Raza

Sisters of Saint Francis JPIC Commissioners

Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning

St. John’s Episcopal Church

Village Exchange Center



Collaborative Center for Justice

First Congregational Church of Greenwich

IRIS – Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

Ministerio Nueva Creacion

Quiet Corner Refugee Resettlement (QCRR)

Regional Deacon-Naugatuck Valley

School Sisters of Notre Dame

The Hope for Refugees, And Immigrants Center



Social & Environmental Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Southern Delaware

Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network



Adrian Dominican Congregation Associate

Adrian Dominican Sisters

American Friends Service Committee

Americans for Immigrant Justice, Inc.

Barry University

Dominican Sister of Adrian

First Coast Returned Peace Corps Volunteers,Inc

Florida Council of Churches

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Florida Mission Chapter

Gainesville (FL) Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice

LCWR Immigration Coalition


NCJW Florida

NCJW, Valencia Shores Section

River of Grass UU Congregation Service, Social Justice and Green Team Lead

Sinsinawa Dominican Associate

SSJGT River of Grass UU Congregation

St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church

Gregory School

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida

Youth Co-Op, Inc.



Columbia Presbyterian Church


New American Pathways

North Georgia Immigrant Justice



Agency for New Americans



Conventual Franciscans

Dominican Sisters Of Sinsinawa, WI

IL Women Religious anti Human Trafficking

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors

Project IRENE


Springfield Dominican

Springfield Dominican Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation Committee

Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ

Wheaton Franciscan Justice and Peace Office

World Relief DuPage/Aurora

World Relief Moline



Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters

Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet

Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF

St John UCC



Catherine McAuley Center

Crossing Borders – Dubuque

Franciscan Peace Center

Iowa UU Witness/Advocacy Network

Lutheran Services in Iowa

NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center

Pax Christi

Sisters of the Presentations



Sr. of St. Joseph

Saint Francis Ministries



Episcopal Diocese of Lexington

International center of bowling green ky

International Center of Kentucky

Peace & Justice: Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky

The Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky

Western KY Refugee Mutual Assistance Society Inc.



Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge

Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants

Refugee Congress

Southern Poverty Law Center



Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project



Asylee Women Enterprise

DC-MD Justice For Our Neighbors

Friends in Solidarity, Inc.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia

Solidarity with Sisters

St Paul’s Episcopal Church



Ascentria Care Alliance

Holy Union Sisters – US Province

International Institute of New England


Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network



Adrian Dominican Sisters

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Dominican Sisters of Adrian MI

Freedom House Detroit

Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary

St. Raymond-Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church Parishioner

Swords into Plowshares Peace Center & Gallery

USCRI Detroit



Marilyn Geiger, OSF, Rochester, MN

Minnesota Council of Churches

Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services

NCJW Minnesota

Robbinsdale United Church of Christ

Saint Paul’s Monastery

Sisters of Saint Francis, Rochester, Minnesota, Leadership



Immigrant and Refugee Committee, Sisters of the Most Precious Blood

International Institute of St. Louis

Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet

Sisters of St. Joseph

Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, MO

St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA)

St. Louis Peace Corps Association



Sisters of Mercy West Midwest

YWCA Missoula


New Hampshire

Ascentria Care Alliance

International Institute of New England


With Open Minds


New Jersey

All Saints Episcopal Parish

Christ Church in Bloomfield & Glen Ridge

Episcopal Diocese of Newark

Glen Ridge Congregational Church

National Council of Jewish Women, Union County Section

National Council of Jewish Women, West Morris Section

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

The Church of the Messiah, Episcopal

The Reformed Church of Highland Park

Unitarian Universalist FaithAction New Jersey


New Mexico

Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico

New Mexico Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Santa Fe Dreamers Project


New York

Action Corps NYC


Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York (CCCS)

Congregation of the Infant Jesus

CSJ Non-Violence Community

Hearts and Homes for Refugees

Immigrant Families Together

InterFaith Works of CNY

International Institute of Buffalo

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie county New York

Journey’s End Refugee Services

Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY

New York City Peace Corps Association

New York Immigration Coalition

New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Committee

Sisters of Charity of New York

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet-Albany Province

Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood-Justice Committee

Sisters of St. Mary of Namur

University United Methodist Church


North Carolina


Church World Service-Greensboro

Circle of Mercy Congregation

Congregational UCC

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Raleigh, NC)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Refugee Circle of Welcome

Interfaith Refugee Ministry

North Carolina Council of Churches

Raleigh Immigrant Community Inc

Shiloh Restoration Church Inc.

Veterans for American Ideals

World Relief Durham

World Relief Triad



Community Refugee and Immigration Services

En Camino

Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, US Area

Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

International Institute of Akron

Ohio Province Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Office Justice Peace Care of Creation

Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine

Sisters of St. Francis

Sisters of the Humility of Mary JPIC Office

St. Peter Church

Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio

Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland



The United Methodist Church

Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network

YWCA Tulsa




Catholic Charities Oregon

Catholic Community Services of Lane County

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

Portland Jobs With Justice

Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County

Unite Oregon



Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Bernardine Franciscan Sisters

CWS Lancaster

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart

Inner-City Neighborhood Art Hous