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World Relief Responds to President Trump’s State of the Union Address, Urges Comprehensive Immigration Reform

February 5, 2019                                                

Lauren Carl

World Relief Responds to President Trump’s State of the Union Address, Urges Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Baltimore, Md. – Today, President Trump addressed the nation in an annual address to a joint session of Congress. Heartened by his commitment to “the security, safety and financial well-being of Americans” World Relief agrees that legal immigrants “enrich our nation and strengthen our society.” However, World Relief also urges the President and Congress pursue comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that retains border security while providing a process by which immigrants can earn legal status and, ultimately, U.S. citizenship. We agree that we have a duty to protect the lives and jobs of our citizens – but we also have a moral duty to care for the vulnerable.

The president reiterated a call for Congress to come to an agreement on immigration, citing an “urgent, national crisis,” and repeating his call for a “proper barrier or wall.” While World Relief agrees that border security is important, we also have to respond in a humanitarian way to those who seek asylum in the U.S. It is counter to our nation’s legacy as a country of immigrants to restrict avenues through which those who are fleeing persecution and danger can find protection in the United States.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter commented, “While we commend the president for his affirmation of the contributions of legal immigrants, and it is entirely right that he should seek to secure our nation, we hope that he will take the asylum seekers at the border in context with the refugee crisis as a whole. 68 million people are forcibly displaced around the world, of which 25 million are refugees. The world’s vulnerable are best served not by punishing them for seeking a new life but by offering clear, defined pathways to seek asylum and become integrated into the nation.”

President Trump rightly called on Congress “to embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.” World Relief has long urged such a spirit of compromise to find a bipartisan, comprehensive solution to the immigration challenges facing the U.S. The president has the opportunity to offer once-and-for-all fixes for those in limbo in Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs and those who have otherwise arrived in the U.S. and desire to become lawful residents and eventually citizens.

“President Trump and Congress have the unique opportunity to solve issues perplexing lawmakers for quite some time,” commented World Relief CEO Tim Breene. “The U.S. refugee resettlement program has been an incredibly effective humanitarian operation for four decades, and we believe that by expanding the existing program to its potential capacity and applying similar structures and priorities to the challenges facing us at our southern border, we can reach a solution that integrates compassion and security.”

Download the PDF version of this press release.


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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