Bethany Welcomes U.S. Government’s Actions to Rebuild Refugee Resettlement, Urges Swift Follow Through on Pledge to Raise the Refugee Ceiling

February 04, 2021

Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit organization that supports vulnerable children and families in the U.S. and around the world, welcomes the signing of a new executive order to expand refugee resettlement. While today’s order is an important step, Bethany urges the president to swiftly follow through on his pledge to raise the refugee ceiling and rebuild the refugee resettlement program.

“This order signals the beginning of actions to restore and reinvigorate America’s historic commitment to resettling vulnerable people who were forced to flee their homes and countries,” said Chris Palusky, the President & CEO of Bethany.

Despite an estimated 1.44 million people in urgent need of resettlement worldwide, only 22,770 were resettled through the UN Refugee Agency last year – just 1.6% of the global need. From 1980 through 2016, the U.S. resettled an average of 95,000 refugees each year. Today, the world is in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in modern history with more than 1 in 97 people currently displaced from their homes, including 34 million children.

Dona Abbott, Bethany’s Senior Vice President of Global, Refugee, and Immigrant Services said, “With the refugee crisis reaching alarming levels, now is the time for the U.S. to reassert global leadership in support of those who have been forced from their homes because of persecution, conflict, and natural disasters. This executive order restores hope for children and families who need a safe place to call home.”

Since the Refugee Act of 1980 was signed into law, the lifesaving U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and from the White House. In fiscal year 2016, the U.S. admitted nearly 85,000 refugees, a number that declined to fewer than 12,000 refugees by fiscal year 2020.

“Over time, people who come to the U.S. as refugees become cherished neighbors and vital parts of our community,” Abbott continued. “In fact, they are working on the frontlines of the pandemic, including 176,000 who are serving in the healthcare industry and another 175,000 working in the food supply chain.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), refugees paid $63 billion more in taxes to all levels of government than they received in benefits over a ten-year period. Refugees are also the most vetted travelers to the United States.

“At Bethany, we demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to vulnerable children and families,” noted Palusky. “Jesus teaches Christians to care for the overlooked and the ignored, love our neighbor, and welcome the stranger. We should reach out to serve refugees rather than push them away.”

About Bethany Bethany is an international Christian nonprofit that is changing the world through family. 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, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Bethany demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus by strengthening and preserving families, finding new families for children who need them, and supporting refugees and immigrants who have fled danger, because everyone deserves to be safe, loved, and connected.