By now you’ve seen countless emotional photos of Syrian refugees in camps and in boats crossing the Mediterranean. Perhaps you have also heard of the women and children kept in detention centers here in our country. In the midst of the largest global refugee crisis in history, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) calls for compassion.
Welcome Syrian Refugees
The United States claims a long legacy of providing welcome to those seeking protection, yet our nation’s recent responses to refugees fall short of our history as a humanitarian leader. The current refugee crisis demands we do more.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. will increase refugee admissions to 85,000 in fiscal year 2016—10,000 of whom will be those fleeing from Syria. Secretary Kerry’s announcement is an incremental move toward compassion and welcome, and we are certain your continued support ushered President Obama in the right direction.
However, welcoming 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. is woefully inadequate when over 4 million Syrians are seeking protection. With the support of people of faith, local churches and communities, our nation has the capacity to take a bold stance in welcoming far more of these vulnerable refugees into the United States.
Help by reiterating the call for the U.S. to accept 100,000 additional Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2016.
End Family Detention
Last week, the U.S. government took a disappointing step regarding families and children from Central America seeking refuge here. The U.S. government filed an appeal to a ruling in the Flores class action lawsuit, concerning the treatment of children in immigration detention. The Department of Homeland Security argues that they are reforming the three “family residential centers” into short-term “processing centers”.
No matter what the Government calls the centers, they are still prison-like facilities that prevent family unity and liberty for the mothers and children held within. History has repeatedly demonstrated that there is no humane way to detain families. Family detention is not only inhumane and damaging, it dishonors our proud legacy as a nation of welcome for vulnerable people, including those fleeing persecution.
In light of the U.S. government’s recent responses to refugees from both Syria and Central America, we ask you to remind the White House of the compassion and generosity that define our nation. You can call upon President Obama to echo your spirit of welcome.
Take a stand against the inhumane practice of family detention.
Your voices have made an impact, but we cannot stop now when our nation’s capacity for welcome and compassion is far greater. Join us in calling for compassion toward all refugees.