UMCOR Names Proposed Refugee Admissions Ceiling 'Unneighborly'
As an agency that has been integrally involved with alleviating suffering for over 75 years, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), The United Methodist Church’s relief and development agency is outraged by the Trump administration’s recent proposal to set a ceiling on the United States Refugee Admissions Program for 2019 at 25,000 people. This is half of what the administration set for 2018 (which was half of the previous year) and the lowest ceiling proposed by United States’ presidents since the program began in 1980. What makes this proposed ceiling a travesty is that it comes at a time when global displacement is at a record high of over 62 million.*
Although we do not expect the United States’ government necessarily to adhere to Christian principles, we, as a Christian organization that has assisted refugees and others since 1940, find this proposal to be total anathema to the Judeo-Christian mandate to “welcome the stranger.” The decision also ignores both great need in the world and the fact that refugees historically contribute significantly to our economy. The declaration of such a low refugee ceiling does not demonstrate global leadership on this issue and is downright unneighborly. At the very least, this ceiling is neither reasonable nor appropriate.
Consistent with guidance and best practices on advocacy provided by The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society and ecumenically through Church World Service, we urge United Methodists to contact their elected officials and object to the proposed refugee admission ceiling.
*International Organization for Migration website, 2018 Global Migration Report.