Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has responded to reports that the government is dramatically lowering the ceiling for the number of refugees who will be allowed to come to the United States in 2019.
CNN reports that the ceiling will be lowered from 45,000 people admitted to the US this year as refugees to just 30,000 next year. In 2017, the target had been set by the previous administration at 110,000 refugees resettled. Immigration and refugee advocacy groups have strongly criticized the cuts, but they were defended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to CNN:
Pompeo said the number should not be considered as “the sole barometer” of the United States’ commitment to humanitarian efforts around the world, adding that the US would “focus on the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country.”
As evidence, Pompeo cited the number of asylum applications expected next year, saying the US will process up to 280,000 such applications in 2019.
“The ultimate goal is the best possible care and safety of these people in need, and our approach is designed to achieve this noble objective,” Pompeo said. “We are and continue to be the most generous nation in the world.”
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael B. Curry, joined the chorus of those decrying the cap today in a statement issued online by the Office of Public Affairs:
The Episcopal Church is gravely disappointed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement yesterday that the administration has set the refugee admissions ceiling for next year at 30,000. This is the lowest ceiling in the history of our country and is one more effort to pull the United States back from our leadership in addressing humanitarian crises. Further, the retreat from refugee resettlement flies in the face of our nation’s history of being a place of refuge to persecuted persons. The Episcopal Church, through the ministry of Episcopal Migration Ministries, is committed to welcome for all.
“As followers of Jesus Christ, we are saddened by this decision,” said Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry. “Our hearts and our prayers are with those thousands of refugees who, due to this decision, will not be able to find new life in the United States. This decision by the government does not reflect the care and compassion of Americans who welcome refugees in their communities every day. Our faith calls us to love God and love our neighbor, so we stand ready to help all those we can in any way we can.”
Read more of the statement and about the work of Episcopal Migration Ministries here.