West Michigan Faith and Community Leaders Express Support for Refugees

November 18, 2020

Grand Rapids, MI— Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit organization supporting vulnerable children and families in the U.S. and around the world, and Church World Service, a national refugee resettlement agency, together with a coalition of West Michigan faith and community leaders, released a statement urging President-elect Joe Biden to begin the process of restoring and rebuilding the refugee resettlement program in Michigan and across the country during his first weeks in office.

“Refugees have become an important part of the fabric of our community,” said 143 faith and community leaders in West Michigan. “They share their customs, music, food, traditions, and their hospitality with us. And studies show that the entrepreneurial spirit of refugees strengthens the West Michigan economy. Through the bipartisan U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, more than three million people fleeing for their lives found safety in the U.S. since 1980. We are proud to continue this legacy in West Michigan.”

“Throughout my entire career I’ve worked with humanitarian groups to address global crises, and the global refugee crisis is the largest, most urgent I’ve ever seen,” said Chris Palusky, Bethany’s President & CEO. “The United States has been and must continue to be a beacon of hope for the overlooked and ignored. In West Michigan, we can lead the way as a welcoming community for those seeking safety.”

West Michigan communities have long shared values of loving their neighbors and welcoming those fleeing persecution. The statement pushes back against recent untrue and disparaging claims made about refugees and the safety of resettlement during the 2020 election. It states, “Refugees are the most vetted travelers to the United States. They undergo screenings by eight federal agencies, six different security databases, two inter-agency security checks, as well as multiple medical screenings in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all before refugees arrive on U.S. soil.”

The President-elect recently announced that his administration will raise the refugee admissions cap to 125,000 following a greater than 80-percent cut to refugee admissions over the last four years. All signatories of the statement affirm this action and hope to see refugee resettlement restored across the country.

The entire statement is available here.

About Bethany Christian Services Bethany is an international Christian nonprofit changing the world through family. More than 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.