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Religious groups ask U.S. to help more refugees

by Harvest Prude
Posted 6/20/19, 12:39 pm

WASHINGTON—A coalition of religious organizations wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, asking the Trump administration to increase the number of refugees it resettles, particularly those fleeing religious persecution. The letter, sent on World Refugee Day, noted that the number of refugees admitted to the United States has fallen “at a time when the world is facing its worst refugee crisis and religious persecution remains a significant threat.”

The United Nations Refugee Agency reported this week that the number of refugees in the world has grown to 70 million. About half of the displaced persons are children.

The United States reduced its refugee ceiling from a historical low of 45,000 in 2018 to 30,000 for 2019 and is on track to admit fewer than that this year. The letter notes that as of May, the United States had resettled only 18,051 refugees. If these numbers continue, the letter writers project that there will be a significant decline in the number of religious refugees accepted from countries where they face the most persecution, including a 94 percent decrease in Christians from Iraq, a 58 percent decline in Christians from Pakistan, and a 95 percent drop in Yazidis from Iraq and Syria.

The organizations—which among the 40 included International Christian Concern, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, World Relief, Islamic Relief USA, and the National Council of Jewish Women—asked the Trump administration to admit the full 30,000 refugees it said it would allow in 2019 and to increase refugee admissions in 2020.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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