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World Relief Warns Against Extremely Low FY 2019 Midyear Refugee Resettlement Numbers (Infographic)

April 1, 2019                                                                                          

Lauren Carl

World Relief Warns Against Extremely Low FY 2019 Midyear Refugee Resettlement Numbers (Infographic)

Baltimore, Md. – Halfway through fiscal year 2019, World Relief estimates that the U.S. is on track to resettle incredibly low numbers of refugees, lower even than the historically low refugee ceiling set for the year. Compared to the 84,944 total refugees the U.S. welcomed in FY 2016, the U.S. is currently only projected to welcome 24,369 in FY 2019, indicating a drop of 71.3% overall. This estimate is roughly 19% – 5,631 refugees – below the Presidential Determination of 30,000 set by the Trump Administration last fall. As a nation in which most people are descended from immigrants and are committed to faith traditions that instruct concern for the vulnerable, World Relief believes America has a responsibility to resettle as many refugees as possible to reach the Presidential Determination of 30,000.

The shift from a refugee ceiling of 85,000 in FY 2016 to 30,000 comes in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history. Right now, over 68 million people are forcibly displaced throughout the world, and over 25 million are refugees.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter commented: “The number of refugees the U.S. is projected to resettle in FY 2019 does not reflect the capacity or willingness of Americans to receive and resettle refugees. We are gravely concerned that the U.S. has abdicated its role in exemplifying the moral leadership needed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable displaced around the world. Furthermore, the dramatic decrease in the numbers of persecuted Christian and other religious minority refugees resettled in the U.S. to escape religious persecution contradicts the administration’s previously stated willingness to help these populations.”

Historically, the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program has been a lifeline for persecuted religious minorities, who have enjoyed safety and religious freedom in the United States. Though the president has specifically promised to ensure these groups’ safety, they have been largely kept out of the U.S. by policies that have dramatically reduced the total number of refugee admissions.

Based on the number of arrivals through the first half of FY 2019, we project that the full year FY 2019 arrivals from countries where refugees have been persecuted as religious minorities will have declined by the following percentages, compared to FY 2016:

  • 58.8% among Christians from Pakistan

  • 62.2% among Muslims from Burma (primarily Rohingya)

  • 66.9% among Ahmadiyya Muslims from Pakistan

  • 67.9% among Christians from Burma

  • 95.7% among Yezidis from Iraq and Syria

  • 94.6% among Christians from Iraq

  • 96.3% among Christians from Iran

  • 97.8% among Sabeans-Mandean from Iraq

  • 98.0% among Bahai from Iran

  • 98.5% among Sabeans-Mandean from Iran

  • 100% among Jews from Iran

  • 100% among Zoroastrians from Iran

The decline in the refugee resettlement program also has dramatically impacted those persecuted for other reasons, such as their ethnicity or political opinion, affecting refugees of various religious traditions. Muslim refugees, whose overall arrivals in FY 2019 are projected to be just 3,718, are particularly impacted, down 90.4% from FY 2016. Christians – including those from countries where they represent the religious majority but may be persecuted for other reasons – are also significantly impacted, with total Christian arrivals projected to be 17,779 for FY 2019, down 47.4% from FY 2016.

World Relief CEO Tim Breene responded: “The pattern of reductions in the number of refugees our country welcomes is devastating to those we serve around the world. Our country is systematically dismantling a program that has proven effective at integrating refugees for decades. We urge our elected officials to reconsider, ensuring that the U.S. increases the pace of resettlement to welcome 30,000 refugees in FY 2019 as set by the White House last October and raises the refugee resettlement ceiling to 75,000 in FY 2020.”

World Relief encourages individuals to: reach out to their churches to learn about opportunities to serve in their communities; call their elected officials and urge them to increase the cap to 75,000 for FY 2020; pray for the 68 million displaced people around the world; and consider donating to World Relief’s work.

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About World Relief:

World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to overcome violence, poverty and injustice. Through love in action, we bring hope, healing and restoration to millions of the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children through vital and sustainable programs in disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding, as well as refugee and immigration services in the U.S. For 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and communities, currently across more than 20 countries, to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.

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