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Reuters / US Air Force/ via Reuters Connect
Reuters / US Air Force/ via Reuters Connect
USA News

Religious refugee groups declare immigration policy change a "return to moral leadership"

by Premier Journalist

Several religious organizations have expressed their support and celebration of a recent change in the Biden Administration's policy regarding refugees.

On Monday afternoon, the Biden administration informed Congress that it would be increasing the number of refugees allowed admittance into the United States to 125,000. This is a significant increase compared to the 18,000 that the Trump administration let into the United States in 2020. The Biden administration later increased the refugee ceiling in 2021 to 62,500. However, the ceiling is nowhere near the amount allowed in 1980, when Congress allowed 207,000 immigrants into the United States through the Refugee Act.

According to several religious refugee resettlement organizations, this simple change was considered a significant reason to celebrate. "Today, we celebrate a return to moral leadership and our nation's commitment to welcome and generosity," said Church World Service senior vice president Erol Kekic in a written statement. "At long last, there is hope for refugees in search of safety, including Afghans who are in imminent danger and thousands of families waiting to be reunited." Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society vice president for policy and advocacy Naomi Steinberg echoed Kekic's remarks, describing the ceiling increase as "the right thing to do."

While this increase is not an immediate fix for the ongoing border crisis in the South, it is a step forward. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service President and CEO Krish O'Mara Vignarajah told RNS that "Raising this cap without dedicating significant resources, personnel, and measures to streamline the process would be largely symbolic."

Religious refugee resettlement programs are a crucial part of the United States' ongoing efforts to serve immigrants. At least six out of the nine significant organizations that the government contracts to resettle refugees are faith-based. Many of these organizations have put a considerable emphasis on helping Afghan evacuees who came to the United States with Special Immigrant Visas.

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