U.S. Refugee Admissions and World Refugee Day

June 16, 2003

Gen. Con. ’97 urged “the U.S. Government to uphold a generous program of refugee admissions in response to the worldwide refugee crisis.” The U.S. Committee on Refugees estimates there are 19 million refugees worldwide. The Anglican Communion has a strong presence in many conflicted regions, such as Sudan, Liberia, Rwanda, and Congo. Episcopal Migration Ministries responds to humanitarian crises which ultimately displace families and sometimes force refugees to cross borders for safe havens. Refugees are often forcibly displaced by the ravages of civil war and insurgency, and have been persecuted for reasons such as their faith, race, or politics. Resettlement in the U.S. is determined by their need for protection from potentially life threatening persecution. EMM normally resettles 3000-3500 refugees annually in 28 dioceses. Refugee admissions for 2002 declined to an all time low of 27,000—not even half of the 70,000 admissions recommended by President Bush. The decline since September 11 reflects a significant retreat from our nation's historic commitment to protect persecuted persons. World Refugee Day, June 20th, provides an opportunity to support refugees worldwide, and an opportunity to let the Administration and Congress know that perilously low refugee admissions denies our tradition of rescuing some of the world’s most vulnerable persons.

Please contact President Bush at 202 456-1111 and your Senators and Representatives at 800 513-3472 to urge the U.S. to provide protection for the full 70,000 refugees authorized in 2003 and to restore 2004 refugee admissions to historic levels.