September 17, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2018

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New York City–Church World Service today condemned the Trump Administration’s decision to further dismantle the life-saving U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by setting the refugee admissions goal at a dismally low 30,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2019. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that the administration intends to set the refugee admissions goal at the lowest number in the history of the refugee resettlement program.

“This announcement is nothing short of an all-out attack on vulnerable families seeking to rebuild their lives in safety,” said CWS President and CEO Rev. John McCullough. “Setting the refugee admissions goal at 30,000 an historic low – is an affront to the countless American communities who have welcomed refugees and understand that they are valuable members of their cities and towns. We urge President Trump to hear the calls of people of faith across America who demand that the United States continue to remain a beacon of hope for refugees forced to flee for their survival, and to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in FY 2019.”

Across the nation, people of faith have urged the administration and Congress to protect the life-saving refugee resettlement program by setting a refugee admissions goal of at least 75,000. Last week leaders from several major Christian denominations held an action in front of the White House, while  last month more than 750 faith leaders and religious organizations sent a letter to Members of Congress and President Trump demanding a higher admissions goal and expressing deep concern about the record-low arrivals of refugees who have been resettled to the United States in fiscal year 2018.

USRAP, which was built as a private-public partnership between faith communities and the U.S. government, has been afforded broad bipartisan support since its inception in 1980. The USRAP has successfully provided more than three million refugees tools for integration and self-sufficiency to start over in safety and our communities have in turn benefited from these individuals. As a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, our nation’s resettlement program represents a standard of excellence that other countries look to as a touchstone for their own policies.

With less than one month remaining in Fiscal Year 2018, the United States has only resettled 20.918 refugees–less than half of the FY18 all-time low admissions goal of 45,000. This includes a dramatic cut to admissions of some of the most vulnerable populations. So far in FY18 only 60 Syrian refugees and 253 Somalian refugees have been resettled in the United States.

As the world faces the worst displacement crisis in history, Church World Service will continue to work to advocate on behalf of vulnerable refugees, and to provide essential services to displaced families around the world in response to the global migration crisis.


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