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Bethany Christian Services Releases Refugee Report, Encourages Trump Administration to Restore U.S. Refugee Resettlement Cap to 95,000

September 28, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit organization supporting vulnerable children and families in the U.S. and around the world, today released a report about the global refugee crisis and called on the Trump Administration to respond to the hardship facing displaced families around the world by committing to resettle 95,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2021. The announcement regarding U.S. refugee resettlement levels is traditionally made by October 1. Without a signed determination from the President, refugee resettlement to the U.S. will halt.

“The number of displaced people worldwide was at a record high at the end of 2019,” said Bethany CEO Chris Palusky at a National Immigration Forum press conference today. “The challenges of COVID-19 are especially severe for people who are on the move and who are desperately seeking safety. I’ve spent my entire career working with humanitarian groups to address global crises, and I’ve never seen a crisis of such scale and urgency. The President has repeatedly expressed his commitment to persecuted religious minorities around the world. It is imperative that the U.S. commit to resettling more refugees in 2021. We have the infrastructure to respond and to do so in a manner that keeps refugees and Americans safe.”

At the press conference, Palusky announced the release of a new report published by Bethany today, which finds that the long-term displacement crisis, made worse by violence, persecution, and the COVID-19 pandemic, has disproportionately affected children. As many as 34 million of the world’s children are currently displaced without a permanent home. Displaced children and families face:

• The loss of livelihoods. • Evictions from their current place of residence. • Growing stigmatization against refugees and displaced people around the world. • Lack of access to basic hygiene and social distancing measures. • The risk of being left out of national health and social welfare programs in their current country of residence.

Refugee resettlement has historically been a bipartisan issue, with both parties recognizing humanitarian efforts to stabilize and support vulnerable people around the world. Last week, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reiterated its recommendation that the U.S. government should restore its resettlement amount to 95,000 vulnerable refuges.

In the U.S. and abroad, refugees contribute to efforts that halt the spread of COVID-19, mitigate its impacts, and help their communities weather the pandemic. In the U.S., an estimated 176,000 refugees are health care workers, and another 175,000 work in the food supply chain.

“I waited four years to be reunited with my family,” said Elombe, a Bethany staff member in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and refugee whose spouse and two children were three of the few refugees admitted into the U.S. this year. “When I met them at the airport, my children ran to me and jumped into my arms. So many people take the small moments with their family for granted, but I never will again.”

A new survey showed that 77% of displaced people have lost their jobs or revenue amid the pandemic. It also showed that 70% had cut the number of meals for their household. Due to the global food shortage, most refugees fear starvation more than contracting COVID-19.

Bethany’s report finds that increasing refugee resettlement does not put Americans at risk. The CDC has published guidelines on how to safely resettle refugees, who undergo extensive health and security screenings prior to traveling to the United States. American nonprofits that specialize in resettlement have the capacity to resettle thousands more refugees – especially children, who account for 40% of displaced people around the world.

“Refugees who don’t find a safe haven face a looming global food shortage and starvation,” said Dona Abbott, senior vice president of Global and Refugee Programs at Bethany. “They are also at risk of physical harm. From January to June 2020, 31% of refugees who were resettled in the U.S. had survived violence or torture.”

To read the full report, click here.

About Bethany Christian Services Bethany is an international Christian nonprofit changing the world through family. Around 75 years ago, we began our work by serving one child. Today, we partner with churches and communities in more than 30 states and nearly a dozen countries to strengthen and preserve families, support refugees and immigrants fleeing danger, and find safe, loving families for children who need them. Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives every year, because we believe everyone deserves to be safe, loved, and connected.