This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a press conference the Administration’s refugee policy for Fiscal Year 2019, which includes a decision to lower the refugee ceiling to 30,000 people – lower, even, than Fiscal Year 2018’s historically low cap of 45,000. With just two weeks left in Fiscal Year 2018, the U.S. has admitted fewer than 21,000 refugees, which makes clear that the administration sees this ceiling merely as a maximum, not as a goal.
Historically, California has received more refugee arrivals than any other state, and World Relief Sacramento has welcomed some of the largest percentages of refugees within the twenty-office network across the USA. We are proud that Sacramentans, donors, volunteers, church partners, our Mayor Steinberg, and friends like the Sacramento Republic FC have had such a welcoming posture towards our refugee neighbors. We are grateful that our city has a long legacy of hospitality.
Lowering the refugee ceiling to 30,000 contradicts both our spiritual mandate to welcome the stranger and a longstanding American commitment to provide safe harbor to some of the world’s most vulnerable, persecuted and oppressed people. This commitment to provide refuge makes our nation and our communities stronger. World Relief CEO Tim Breene said, “This repeated reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. is incredibly troubling. Not only is it a continuation of a series of unprecedented attacks on our American values and on the humanitarian nature of the refugee resettlement program, but it falls far short of helping the large number of vulnerable people around the world. This is just another step in the systematic dismantling of a program that exists to shelter people who need our support and protection. America can do better.”
As the United States aims to put its values and interests first, it must not forget that offering freedom from oppression is a crucible of its founding. Resettling refugees is a way that the U.S. can live out its core values and ensure a more stable and democratic world.
As these numbers continue to drop, however, World Relief Sacramento remains optimistic and uniquely poised to continue to both welcome newly arrived refugees and also pivot to serving the thousands of refugee families, women and children here in our community, our organizational goal being to help them integrate and thrive. Learn more about our new initiatives here.