Washington, D.C.— Church World Service and the National Council of Churches today unveiled a new Ecumenical Declaration to Expand Welcome through their Member Denominations and networks by safeguarding immigrant and refugee protection in the United States and beyond. The declaration—comes as the Biden administration has delayed revising the current year’s historic-low resettlement goal, leaving thousands of vulnerable refugees in harm’s way.
“We have, as faith partners, worked together through CWS for more than 75 years to welcome refugees into our communities. Our congregations have been a bedrock of support for this demonstration of solidarity and compassion to people around the world,” reads the Ecumenical Declaration to Expand Welcome. “We have seen how refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants make our communities more vibrant, prosperous, and secure. We hereby pledge to do everything in our power to restore and maintain hospitality and welcome to all people—regardless of where they are from, how they pray, or what language they speak. We commit to restoring American leadership to address the global displacement crisis.”
The declaration, both an ecumenical pledge and urgent call for national grassroots action, outlines 6 steps the signees of this effort will take to mobilize their congregations and restore and rebuild welcome in the United States:
- Request a meeting with President Biden and relevant government officials to urge our government leaders to immediately revise the FY 2021 refugee admissions goal, fulfill a minimum annual commitment for 125,000 refugee admissions in FY 2022, and invest in rebuilding the overseas and domestic infrastructure that helps our communities assist refugees in the U.S. and abroad.
- Call on members of Congress to hold the administration accountable to fulfill its promise to end all anti-refugee, anti-asylum, anti-immigrant policies and restore and strengthen refugee and asylum protections. Urge Members of Congress to pass inclusive immigration reforms that push back against criminalization of immigrants, create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people, and support community-based alternatives to detention.
- Encourage communions to organize and facilitate meetings with local, state, and national policy makers to educate them about our solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, and urge them to support policies that affirm a welcome to the sojourner.
- Commit to resourcing, supporting, and standing with our congregations who organize public, prayerful demonstrations of welcome for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.
- Commit to supporting refugees who have already arrived in the United States, those who will arrive in the months to come, and to the important work of rebuilding the capacity of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
- Commit to work for the dedication of one Sunday in 2021 in the life of our communions to engage all of our congregations in honoring refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants’ journeys, reminding our congregations of the biblical call to welcome refugees and immigrants, and inviting our congregation members to take public action in support of refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants.
For more information or to speak with Church World Service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.