Senators Lankford, Leahy Call on White House to Extend Visas and Resettlement Approvals During COVID-19

Christopher Plummer | April 16, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Church World Service today applauded the efforts of Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their leadership in supporting refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients during the time of COVID-19. Their leadership came in the form of a letter calling on the Trump Administration to extend visas and approvals so that securely vetted individuals can be resettled in the United States as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. 

Refugees live in a state of uncertainty and are among the most vulnerable populations – especially during a pandemic,” said Reverend John L. McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service. “We are grateful to Senators Lankford and Leahy for demonstrating bipartisan support for refugees and urging the administration to automatically extend the validity periods of all approved refugees and SIV recipients during the course of this crisis. We thank them for reminding the administration that refugees are already the most vetted travelers to the United States – and that having to unnecessarily repeat arduous processes would exacerbate their immeasurable sorrow and hardship.”

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at