WASHINGTON — Reports released Thursday show the Trump administration intends to reduce the number of refugees admitted into the United States to 18,000 in the next fiscal year.
This number is the lowest ever and continues a trend President Trump started his first year in office when he cut the number from 116,000 to 45,000.
General Secretary Susan Henry-Crowe of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church denounced the decision, saying it was antithetical to the teaching of scripture.
“At a time when refugees worldwide are seeking safety and security, the decision to further restrict admissions and encourage discrimination is outrageous,” she said. “The Bible calls us to show hospitality to strangers and people in need. (Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:35, Hebrews 13:2) This action is antithetical to that command.”
The law that empowers a president to set the cap for refugees also requires the president to consult with Congress. That has not yet happened, but a statement from the State Department as reported in the press says consultation is forthcoming.
President Trump also signed an executive order that clears the way for state and local governments to block refugees from their communities.
Henry-Crowe pointed out this is contrary to the vision set by The United Methodist Church. She said, “The United Methodist Church has engaged in acts of welcome and refugee resettlement worldwide. We will continue this witness, despite exclusionary policies. As United Methodists, we are called to welcome refugees in our communities and congregations.”
The denomination has declared, “At the center of Christian faithfulness to scripture is the call we have been given to love and welcome the sojourner. We call upon all United Methodist churches to welcome newly arriving migrants in their communities, to love them as we do ourselves, to treat them as one of our native-born, to see in them the presence of the incarnated Jesus, and to show hospitality to the migrants in our midst, believing that through their presence we are receiving the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Refugees and asylum seekers are internationally-recognized categories for people escaping environmental catastrophe, organized violence, political chaos, economic desperation, human trafficking and ecological exploitation.
The General Board of Church and Society is the social justice and public policy agency of The United Methodist Church. Its main office is located across from the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Rooted in our faith, we seek to implement the statements of the denomination as contained within the Social Principles and Book of Resolutions.
This news release is also available on the umcjustice website.