WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Biden’s Monday increase to the refugee admissions cap is being hailed as a victory by progressive advocates and conservative faith leaders alike, underscoring the broad support and deep commitment to refugee resettlement across the country.
Conservative evangelicals, law enforcement leaders, and others were among the wide spectrum of voices that urged Biden to increase the refugee ceiling to 62,500 from a historic low of 15,000. They are now applauding the decision — and looking forward to welcoming newcomers to their communities.
“The far-reaching support for President Biden’s increase in the refugee admissions ceiling makes it clear that welcoming refugees isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue — it’s an American one,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “From evangelical pastors to refugee advocates to police chiefs, there is overwhelming support for refugees — and a willingness to welcome them into local communities.”
“Through our advocacy and our vote, we asked the President to restore the American values that made us who we are today. As a great nation of immigrants, we can stand proudly behind the reinstatement of a refugee policy that recognizes the humanity and dignity of vulnerable people from around the world,” said Tess Clarke, Director of We Welcome Refugees. “Not only will refugees find a place to be safe from the harms they’ve fled, Americans will benefit from their spirit of ingenuity and tireless desire to thrive.”
We Welcome Refugees, a “grassroots community of women committed to living out Christlike hospitality for all God’s children,” led a petition urging the administration to raise the historically low annual admissions cap which garnered upwards of 5,000 signatures. Evangelical leaders also urged the president to raise the ceiling, and commended Monday’s announcement.
Law enforcement leaders have also applauded the increase, pointing to the positive impact of refugee resettlement on local communities.
“Refugees contribute to the health and well-being of communities across Iowa — from starting small businesses to revitalizing our neighborhoods. I applaud President Biden’s decision to raise the refugee ceiling,” said Police Chief Mike Tupper from Marshalltown, Iowa. “I look forward to welcoming refugees, and ensuring they play an integral role in our communities, for years to come.”
Below are additional quotes from faith leaders, police chiefs and refugee advocates across the country:
Eric Costanzo, Lead Pastor, South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma:
“I am so thankful President Biden listened to the voices of hundreds of evangelical pastors and leaders asking him to keep his promise to resume and increase resettlement of refugees who are deeply loved by Christ and are to be deeply loved by His Church.”
Chris Hall, Associate Missions Pastor, Houston Northwest Church:
“Today is a great reminder of one of America’s greatest strengths, welcoming those that are looking for a new hope, new start and a new home. During these challenging global times turning the tide to a course in the right direction is a step in the right direction for this current presidential administration. With this great opportunity on the horizon for many may we, as a country, be ready to respond with open arms ready to show them what it means to pursue life, liberty and justice for all.”
Police Chief Andy Harvey, Pharr, Texas:
“I support President Biden’s increased cap on refugee admissions. As a police chief, I’ve seen immigrant communities add value to our cities. I am ready to welcome refugees and work with them to keep our communities safe.”
Mary Kaech, Executive Director of Phoenix Refugee Connections:
“I’m relieved to see our nation return to its proud tradition of welcoming some of the world’s most courageous people: refugees who have survived war and persecution. For us to do this well, however, it’s going to require more than government offices and social workers. Individuals, families, groups of friends, and faith communities need to enfold these new neighbors into our communities. I especially call on local churches to respond to God’s repeated commands to love the foreigner — not with words or speech but with actions and in truth — by partnering with refugee-resettlement agencies in their cities.
Police Chief Brian Kyes, Chelsea, Massachusetts:
“America is a nation that welcomes refugees. President Biden’s move to raise the admissions ceiling is a step in the right direction to ensure that we live up to our American values.”
Lauren Snodgrass, Program and Church Engagement Coordinator, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries:
“While I am thankful that the President listened and realized the US must do its part in continuing our long history of welcoming refugees home, this number still reflects the damage that has been done to the refugee resettlement structure over the last four years. We must commit to rebuild our resettlement agencies and processing infrastructures in order to remain true to who I believe we are as a nation. We are a nation of immigrants.”
Mark Snodgrass, Senior Pastor, Church of the Nazarene in Bentonville, Arkansas:
“As a faith community, we are thankful for President Biden’s action that moves the refugee quota closer to historic norms. This program welcomes displaced and vulnerable people to the United States and gives the American church an opportunity to practice the grace of hospitality, a hallmark of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I pray for faith communities across our nation to come together and welcome these new friends into their lives as an extension of grace and as a means of experiencing it in a new way through fellowship with their new neighbors.”
Michele Suffridge, Executive Director, Refugee Hope Partners, Raleigh, North Carolina:
“I am thrilled that President Biden has raised the refugee cap to the 62,500 that he promised during his campaign. The legacy of refugee resettlement is strong. These families arrive in our country having weathered unfathomable tragedy, giving up everything they have ever known for the possibility of a safe future. Many churches are activated and ready to welcome new neighbors to our city. Refugee Hope Partners exists to love our refugee neighbors with the hope of the gospel in partnership with the local church. We are privileged to walk alongside them as neighbors and friends so that ALL may thrive.”
Eileen Wilson, Director, The Hope Center, Refugee and Immigrant Ministries Building Hope in the City, Cleveland:
“We are cautiously optimistic to see the numbers increase but hope that we will at least move back to the pre-Trump era numbers in the foreseeable future.”