Coalition Letter: Opposing Cuts to the FY2013 Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) Account

January 12, 2012

Dear Members of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee,

As faith leaders from across the country, we write to ask for your support during a challenging time for refugees in our communities. Specifically, we ask you to prevent proposed cuts to the Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account in fiscal year 2013 (FY13).

The United States has historically been a world leader in welcoming refugees fleeing persecution. Our refugee program is a strong public / private partnership, demonstrating collective responsibility to provide safety and a new start to refugees who cannot return home, including Iraqi refugees targeted for their work with the U.S. government; Burmese ethnic minorities who have fled years of repression; Darfuris driven out of their homes and surviving in harsh camp conditions; and countless individuals and families fleeing religious persecution.

 

This year, the Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee recommended significant cuts to domestic refugee services, which would have significant negative consequences for refugees in the United States. The Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account funds the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which works with local community organizations and faith and civic groups to provide basic human needs and the tools for integration and self-sufficiency. Cuts to this already underfunded account would not only negatively impact refugees, but also take away important resources from communities welcoming refugees in districts like yours.

ORR serves not only refugees, but also asylees, victims of torture and trafficking, special immigrant visa recipients who served with U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children. In 2012, ORR served an unprecedented number of unaccompanied immigrant children, a highly vulnerable population whose specialized care is ORR’s responsibility. ORR must be robustly funded in order to provide sufficient services to these children and the more than 100,000 vulnerable migrants under its mandate.

As people of faith, we commit our ministries, religious services, and resources to helping refugees resettle and integrate in their new communities and have long been partners in the U.S. refugee program. We are called to serve “the least of these” and to “welcome the stranger,” and we know that investing in welcome results in blessings for this country. As you consider funding for FY13, we urge you to support the Senate mark and the President’s request of $805 million for REA, rather than the proposed cuts. We recognize and appreciate your own commitment to those in need, and hope that you support this request to be a champion for refugees and those who welcome them.

Sincerely,

 

National Faith Leaders

Stephan Bauman, President & CEO, World Relief

Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

Linda Hartke, President and CEO, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Mark Hetfield, Interim President and CEO, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Sister Marie Lucey, Director of Advocacy, The Franciscan Action Network

Erol Kekic, Director, Immigration and Refugee Program, Church World Service

Bill Mefford, Director, Civil and Human Rights, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church

Rev. Michael Neuroth, Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ

Jill A. Warren, Executive Director, Methodist Federation for Social Action

 

Regional / Local Faith Leaders (organized by state)

 

ALABAMA

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Rev. Ellen Guice Sims, Pastor of Open Table, United Church of Christ, Mobile, AL

 

ARIZONA

Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President, Bishop, Pacific Southwest District of the The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

 

Cherie Gray, Executive Director, Tuscon Refugee Ministry, Tucson, AZ

 

Bishop Stephen S. Talmage, Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Phoenix, AZ

 

Don Benton, Chino Valley United Methodist Church, Chino Valley, AZ

 

Pastor David Harriss, San Pedro United Methodist Church, Benson, AZ

 

Rev. Shirley Wells, Retired Ordained Deacon, United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church, Tempe, AZ

 

Terri Ferrara, Refugee Ministry Coordinator, Pantano Christian Church, Tucson, AZ

 

Rev. Jay Cooper, Desert Southwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Jacob's Well UMF, Tempe/Chander, AZ

 

William Gary, Layperson, United Methodist, Phoenix, AZ

 

Rev. Kathleen A. Athey, United Methodist Church, Paradise Valley, AZ

 

Charles E. Monroe, M.Ed, President & CEO, Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, Tucson, AZ

 

Rev. Mary Bullis, Senior Pastor, Red Mountain United Methodist Church, Mesa, AZ

 

ARKANSAS

Rev. Stephen Copley, Arkansas Interfaith Alliance of the United Methodist Church, Little Rock, AR

 

CALIFORNIA

Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President, Bishop, Pacific Southwest District of the The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Irvine, CA

 

Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, St. Paul's Foundation, San Diego, CA

 

CONNECTICUT

Rev. Heather A. M. Sinclair, Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Shelton, Shelton, CT

 

The Rt. Rev. James E. Curry, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, Hartford, CT

 

WASHINGTON, DC

Rev. Amy Thompson Sevimli, Assistant to the Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Washington, DC

 

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC

 

The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, Senior Advisor to Washington National Cathedral on Inter-

Faith Relations, VIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Washington, DC

 

FLORIDA

Erick Vega, Resettlement Specialist, Lutheran Services Florida, Tampa, FL

 

Kent J. Siladi, Conference Minister, United Church of Christ in Florida, Orlando, FL

 

Oscar D. Rivera, Director, Miami Office, Church World Service, Miami, FL

 

GEORGIA

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Atlanta, GA

 

Rev. Stacey Harwell, Deacon in full connection, South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church; Minister of Community Building, Centenary  UMC, Macon, GA

 

The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, Bishop, Diocese of Georgia, Savannah, GA

 

Rev. Dr. Dr. Timothy J. Bagwell, Pastor, Centenary United Methodist Church, Macon, GA

 

ILLINOIS

Rev. Michael Mann, Associate Director of Mission and Advocacy, Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist, Carol Stream, IL

 

Nancy L. Oetter, Nancy L. Oetter, Pax Christi Illinois, Naperville, IL

 

Sr. Rose Therese Nolta, SSpS, Justice and Peace Coordinator, Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, Northfield, IL

 

Rev. Alka Lyall, Pastor, Bethany of Fox Valley United Methodist Church, Aurora, IL

 

Rev. Lisa E. Telomen, Administrative Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church, Naperville, IL

 

IOWA

Diane Daniels, Amistad Cristiana, Storm Lake, IA

 

Beth Driscoll PBVM, Leadership Team of the Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, IA

 

Rev. David Vasquez, Campus Pastor, Luther College, Decorah, IA

 

Rev. Michael Blevins, J.D., M.Div., LL.M., Co-Chair, Decorah Area Faith Coalition, Founding Director, NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center

 

Sallyann McCarthy, Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking, Sisters of St. Francis, 843 Thirteenth Avenue North, Clinton, IA

 

KANSAS

Rev. Gerald Mansholt, Bishop of the Central States Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Kansas City, KS

 

KENTUCKY

Teresa J. Waggener, Co-Manager, Office of Immigration Issues, Presbyterian Church USA, Louisville, KY

 

Elizabeth Kaznak, Executive Director, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Louisville & Lexington, KY

 

Joseph Phelps, Pastor, Highland Baptist Church, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Louisville, KY

 

Terry L. Singer, Board Chair, Kentucky refugee Minstries, Louisville, KY

 

Sharon Nesmith, Member St. Matthew's Episcopal Church & Secretary, Board of Directors, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Louisville, KY

 

Michael T. Puckett  Board of Directors, Kentucky Refugee Ministries; Past Board Chair, Beargrass Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Louisville, KY

 

MAINE

Denise Dreher, Coordinator, Pax Christi Maine, Roman Catholic, Biddeford, ME

 

The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maine, Portland, ME

 

MARYLAND

Rev. Richard H. Graham, Bishop of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentin-Castanon, Pastor, Pleasant Grove/Mountain View United Methodist Churches, Ijamsville, MD

 

Eli S. McCarthy, PhD, Justice and Peace Director, Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), Silver Spring, MD

 

Lawrence E. Couch, Lobbyist, The National Advocacy Center, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Silver Spring, MD

 

Sister Reg McKillip, OP, Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team, Silver Spring, MD

 

Melissa Graves, CEO, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Washington DC

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Sue Malone, President, Pax Christi Massachusetts, Attleboro, MA

 

David Forsberg, CEO, Lutheran Social Services of New England, Worchester, MA

 

Bishop Margaret G. Payne, New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Worchester, MA

 

Roger and Charlotte Stanley, Co-chairs, Pax Christi Central MA, Northborough, MA

 

The Rt. Rev. Gordon P. Scruton, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, Springfield, MA

 

MICHIGAN

Douglas M. Ogden, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Whitehall, MI

 

Rev. Louis Grettenberger, , United Methodist Clergy, Sparta, MI

 

Rev. Mark Thompson, Faith United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids, MI

 

Scott Sessler, Pastor; Board Member, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, Evangelical Lutheran Chuch in America, Westland, MI

 

Rev. Thomas A. Scherger, Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Royal Oak, MI

 

Rev. Gregory W. Lawton, Wesley Fellowship at Grand Valley State University; Ordained Deacon, West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church, Allendale, MI

 

Rev. Robert Cook, Senior Pastor, Mount Hope United Methodist Church, Lansing, MI

 

Duane Schafer, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Richmond, MI

 

Michael Anton, Pastor Emeritus, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Hastings, MI

 

Rev. Terry L. Daly, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Warren, MI

 

The Rt. Rev. Rayford J. Ray, Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, Marquette, MI

 

Rev. Loranell Breyley, Cana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Berkley, MI

 

Rev. Janet Marvar, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Pontiac, MI

 

Joan Tirak, Coordinator, Pax Christi Michigan

 

MINNESOTA

James A. Hubley, State Coordinator, Pax Christi Minnesota, Eden Prairie, MN

 

MISSISSIPPI

The Rt. Rev. A. C. Marble, Jr, Retired Bishop of Mississippi

 

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

MISSOURI

Rev. Gerald Mansholt, Bishop of the Central States Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

NEBRASKA

Rev. A. Thomas Jeline, Pastor, Heritage United Methodist Church, Las Vegan, NE

 

Ruth Henrichs, President & CEO, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Omaha, NE

 

Kurt A. Stecker, Pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Omaha, NE

 

NEVADA

Rev. Stephen S. Talmage, Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, President, Bishop, Pacific Southwest District of the The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, Concord, NH

 

NEW JERSEY

Rev. Bonnie Strain, Deacon, United Methodist Church, Dumont, NJ

 

The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Newark, Newark, NJ

 

Rev. E. Roy Riley, Bishop of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Hamilton Square, NJ

 

The Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, XI Bishop of New Jersey, Diocese of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ

 

Rev. Héctor A. Burgos-Núñez, Ministerio Hispano Casa de Esperanza, First United Methodist Church, Oasis United Methodist Church, Tuckerton/Pleasantville, NJ

 

Ginny Kaiser, Resource Team Admin. Asst., Greater New Jersey Annual Conference of the UMC, Ocean, NJ

 

NEW YORK

Rabbi Noam Marans, Director, Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, American Jewish Committee, New York, NY

 

June Licence, Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ, Grand Island, NY

 

Rev. John R. Long, First Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, NY

 

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, New York, NY

 

William H. Privett, Regional Coordinator, Pax Christi WNY, Roman Catholic, Pembroke, NY

 

Rev. Dr. David H. Benke, President/Bishop, Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Bronxville, NY

 

Kathleen McNeely, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Marknoll, NY

 

Bruce Knotts, Director, Unitarian Universalist Association United Nations Office, New York, NY

 

Rev. Ronald Whitlatch, Consultant for Brazilian Ministries, National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, New York, NY

 

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island, Garden City, NY

 

Fr. Robert J. Robbins, Director, Community Outreach Office, Archdiocese of New York, New York, NY

 

NORTH CAROLINA

The Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg, Ph.D., Assistant Bishop of North Carolina, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

 

Ted Goins, President, Lutheran Services Carolinas, Salisbury, NC

 

NORTH DAKOTA

Turdukan Tostokova, Resettlement Coordinator, Lutheran Social Services, Bismarck, ND

 

OHIO

Rev. Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro, Assistant Professor, Department of Theology, Xavier University; Board Member, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Cincinnati, OH

 

Susan M. Sanders, Minister for Global Sharing of Resources, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH

 

Christopher Pramuk, Associate Professor of Theology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

 

Nancy Lu Walters, Treasurer, Ohio River Valley District of the United Methodist Church, Cincinnati, OH

 

Rev. Dr. Sarah J. Melcher, Scholar in Residence, United Church of Christ, Cincinnati, OH

 

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, Cleveland, OH

 

OKLAHOMA

Rev. Dr. Kirt E. Moelling, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, Broken Arrow, OK

 

OREGON

Robert T. Hoshibata, Resident Bishop, The United Methodist Church, Portland, OR

 

Roberta Nestaas, President/CEO, Lutheran Community Services Northwest

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Richard Gitlen, VP Community Services, Liberty Lutheran, Philadelphia, PA

 

Rev. Sandra L. Strauss, Director of Public Advocacy, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Harrisburg, PA

 

Shan Cretin, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee, National Office, Philadelphia, PA

 

Bishop Jack Croneberger, Assistant Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Bethlehem, PA

 

Aryeh Sherman, President Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Leslie Aizenman, MPPM, Director, Refugee Services, Pittsburgh, PA

 

The Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA

 

Rev. Andrea Brown, Associate Pastor, Grandview United Methodist Church, Lancaster, PA

 

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

 

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson, Philadelphia Area of the United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, PA

 

Bishop Peggy Johnson, Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church, Valley Forge, PA

 

The Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ted Goins, President, Lutheran Services Carolinas

 

TENNESSEE

The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, Episcopal Bishop, The Diocese of West Tennessee, Memphis, TN

 

Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

TEXAS

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, D.D., Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Houston, TX

 

Rabbi Mark J. Miller, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, TX

 

Armando Alvarado, Jr., Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Grapevine, TX

 

Rev. Katie Meek, Associate Pastor, Round Rock First United Methodist Church, Rock Round, TX

 

Rev. R. Dean Reed, United Methodist, Arlington, TX

 

Bishop Michael Rinehart, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Houston, TX

 

Rev. Kelly Allen, Pastor, University Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church USA, San Atonio, TX

 

Rev. R. Dean Reed, United Methodist Pastor, Arlington, Texas & WIN - the Welcoming Immigrants Network, Dallas, Texas

 

Rabbi Emeritus Joseph Radinsky, Houston, TX

 

Rabbi Daniel Horwitz, J.B. Greenfield Chapel, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, Houston, TX

 

Rabbi Annie Belford, Temple Sinai, Houston, TX

 

VIRGINIA

Jon Diefenthaler, President Emeritus, Southeastern District, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Alexandria, VA

 

The Rt. Rev. Frank Neff Powell, Episcopal Bishop of Southwestern Virginia, Roanke, VA

 

Rev. Richard H. Graham, Bishop of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Melissa Graves, CEO, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Washington DC

 

WASHINGTON

Doug Wagley, Pastor, New Vision Lutheran, Ordained Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Spokane, WA

 

Roberta Nestaas, President/CEO, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, SeaTac, WA

 

The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, Bishop of Olympia, Seattle, WA

 

WISCONSIN

Sinsinawa Dominican Leadership Team, Roman Catholic, Sinsinawa, WI

 

Rev. David N. Larson, President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Milwaukee, WI

 

WEST VIRGINIA

The Rt. Rev. W Michie Klusmeyer, Bishop of West Virginia, Episcopal Church, Charleston, WV