April 29, 2021
BALTIMORE – As President Biden completes his first 100 days in office, World Relief commends his administration’s early actions around some of the most pressing challenges we face today: addressing racially-motivated violence, combating gender-based violence globally, tackling climate change, expanding refugee resettlement, and pushing for broad immigration reform. Yet while World Relief remains hopeful that Biden will continue to respond to these critical areas, we urge the president to continue to show leadership in other key arenas as well.
Since taking office, President Biden has issued several executive orders designed to help the United States create a more humane asylum system, promote immigrant integration and inclusion and reunite families separated at the border. The administration has also committed to processing unaccompanied children under the terms of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and, despite logistical challenges, has made significant progress to ensure that such children are protected and cared for under the terms of the law. And the administration has taken important steps to combat sexual and gender-based violence globally. World Relief applauds the actions that Biden has taken thus far.
We also urge President Biden to strengthen U.S. refugee and asylum systems in the United States while leading globally to combat extreme poverty and support local communities engaged in relief and development. At the end of February, the President released a revised Presidential Determination that would raise the refugee ceiling to 62,500 for the current fiscal year, but the President has yet to officially raise the ceiling. In addition, while the President has taken the steps necessary to restore a functional asylum process for adults who arrive along the U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. continues to use Title 42 to expel asylum seekers from the country. World Relief calls on President Biden to raise the refugee ceiling and strengthen our asylum protections for adults and families, not just unaccompanied minors.
In addition, while the President’s memo on April 16th expanded the categories of eligibility for refugees resettled to the U.S., World Relief urges the White House to continue to make critical changes in the U.S. refugee admissions program to increase processing capacities for refugees, streamline inefficiencies in the system and provide more robust resources for refugees before and after their arrival to the U.S.
“President Biden campaigned on the promise to restore our refugee resettlement program and restore American leadership on humanitarian issues,” said Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief. “So far, he has taken steps in that direction, but much of his promise remains unfulfilled. In particular, President Biden can make good on his promise by immediately signing a Presidential Determination on refugee admissions of 62,500 refugees for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year.”
Additionally, World Relief supports the Biden administration’s broad framework for immigration reform, which led to introduction of the United States Citizenship Act in February. This bill provides an 8-year path to citizenship for millions of Americans without legal status, outlines an expedited path to citizenship for Dreamers and others who have already been residing lawfully in the U.S. and proposes several other vital changes to our immigration system.
“Immigration is a complex policy issue that can ultimately only be resolved through bipartisan congressional action,” said World Relief Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Jenny Yang. “We welcome President Biden’s efforts to address these challenges in a holistic way, including addressing the root causes that fuel migration to the U.S. and an earned path to citizenship for the undocumented. We now need him to play a proactive role in forging the bipartisan consensus necessary to actually pass reforms, with Dreamers as a particularly urgent priority.”
Globally, World Relief also applauds the Biden administration’s substantial commitments to combat sexual and gender-based violence, including his Executive Order on Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council which would “advance gender equality globally through diplomacy, development, trade, and defense; implement U.S. government commitments to women’s involvement in peace and security efforts; and recognize the needs and contributions of women and girls in humanitarian crises and in development assistance.” These are all key recommendations World Relief made to the White House during the transition and throughout the early months of the administration.
U.S. leadership is critically needed to lead on global health efforts and combat extreme poverty. The U.S. government, and other governments worldwide, have promoted partnerships with faith-based organizations to improve social and health outcomes. Policies and procedures that include faith-based organizations as stakeholders need to shift from national level dialogues to include district and local actors, and the actual areas of faith-based difference must be understood by governments and donors so that there are not critical gaps in programs. A key example of this is World Relief’s work to meet the pressing humanitarian needs spilling out of the Tigray region in Ethiopia into neighboring Sudan. The established partnerships World Relief has developed on the ground prove the importance of engaging local and community actors to stabilize regions experiencing the effects of conflict.
World Relief also calls on the Biden administration to engage in diplomatic efforts to promote peace in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other areas experiencing conflict. U.S. leadership in partnership with local communities and faith-based organizations is critically needed to address the ongoing, complex humanitarian crises that are unfolding in many areas around the world.
As President Biden leads efforts to strengthen U.S. refugee and asylum systems, respond to international humanitarian disasters, combat COVID-19 and other diseases, reduce gender-based violence and address climate change, World Relief stands ready to partner with him and his administration to pursue these goals in partnership with local communities in the U.S. and around the world.
To learn more about World Relief’s programs around the world, visit worldrelief.org.
To download a PDF version of this press release, click here.
About World Relief
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.