Refugee Crisis Update

August 2018

Refugees and U.S. Policy: Tens of thousands of refugees continue to be impacted by current U.S. resettlement policies. We believe we can have safety and compassion:

  • The White House lowered the number of refugees who can come to the U.S. to a record low of 45,000 (from 110,000). Actual resettlement numbers are on track for around 25,000 to be resettled in PY 2018.
  • There are special restrictions on refugees from 8 countries. The nationalities impacted no longer include Iraqis who supported the U.S. military efforts in Iraq; however Iraqis (including Christians and other minorities) are being subject to “additional” scrutiny.
  • Restrictions have been placed on refugee reunification (family members in camps not being allowed to join those already in the U.S.). This impacts many from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Statistics show that the refugee resettlement program is the safest U.S. immigration program. No one in the U.S. has been killed by a terrorist act committed by any of the 3+ million refugees resettled since 1980. Yet, there is now a “virtual wall” excluding many refugees, including persecuted Christians from Iran and Iraq.
  • We don’t know how many new refugee families Arrive Ministries will resettle in 2018 (we have been approved by the U.S. State Department to welcome 155 refugees and 20 with Special Immigrant Visas).  We were previously resettling about 400 per year.
  • We have expanded our outreach to those refugees who are already here and asylum seekers. We have experienced a burgeoning number of volunteers in our Somali Adult Literacy Training (SALT) and Refugee Life Ministries (RLM) programs.

Refugees Worldwide (Source – UNHCR):

  • 4 million refugees worldwide (and 3.1 million asylum-seekers)
    • 4 million Syrians have fled as refugees.
    • More than 62% of the 2.0 million refugees who have fled Southern Sudan are children.
    • More than 8,000 drowned in the Mediterranean seeking safety in 2016 and 2017.
    • 17 years – the average length of time a refugee spends in a camp until they are resettled
  • 40 million Internally Displaced People (IDP), including 6.6 million Syrians and 3.0 million Yemenis

Refugees in the United States (Source – US State Department):

  • 3,000,000 refugees from all countries have arrived in the U.S. over the past 30+ years.
  • In the past 15 years (2002 to 2017), the U.S. admitted 405,000 Christian refugees and 302,000 Muslim refugees. 46% of all refugees who have entered the U.S. during this time have been Christian while 33% have been Muslim (Pew Research Center).
  • More than 250,000 women/children have been resettled in the U.S. since 2011 (70% of total).
  • 18-24 months is the average security screening time for a refugee before arriving in the U.S.
  • The Administration lowered the number of refugees to be allowed into the United States annually from 110,000 in PY2016-2017 to 45,000 in PY2017-2018 (or one refugee for every 7,000 U.S. residents). Actual resettlement numbers are on track for less than 25,000 to be resettled.

What this means:

  • The administration has seriously cut the number of refugees who can be resettled in the U.S. This means that fewer refugees are helped, family reunification cases will be put on hold indefinitely, and those under TPS (and possibly DACA) are subject to deportation.
  • Refugees in the United States are protected by U.S. law. Refugee status does not expire, but we encourage refugees to apply for green cards (after 1 year) and to become U.S. Citizens (after 5 years).

DACA/Dreamers—A Primer

  • What is DACA?The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, temporarily shielded certain child immigrants (often called Dreamers) from deportation and made them eligible for work permits. It was considered a temporary measure until Congress addressed immigration reform.
  • Who is eligible for DACA?To qualify, immigrants had to have been under 31 at the time the program was announced (2012), have come to the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday, have lived in the U.S. continually since June 15, 2007, and have no criminal record. About 1.6 million children qualified for DACA, but not all registered for the program.
  • Why did DACA end?Last September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that DACA would end on March 5th. The administration said the deadline would force Congress to find a substitute for DACA. Congress has not found a substitute and, in the meantime, Dreamers are in limbo and federal judges have ordered the administration to accept renewals to prevent deportation.
  • How many people have DACA?The total number of DACA recipients, reported by Department of Homeland Security, is around 800,000.
  • What can I do?Pray that congress would act and debate immigration reform. Please advocate on behalf of Dreamers who have no country to go back to and have no other way to become legal residents of the U.S. For more information visit

Temporary Protective Status:

  • What is TPS: The Secretary of Homeland Security can designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately because of such things as ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war) or environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic.
  • Countries for which TPS has been terminated:
    • Liberia: TPS terminated March 2018
    • Nepal: TPS terminating June 2019
    • Nicaragua: TPS terminating Jan 2019
    • El Salvador: TPS terminating Sept 2019
    • Haiti: TPS terminating July 2019
    • Sudan: TPS terminating November 2019
    • Honduras: TPS terminating Jan 2020
  • Countries which may lose TPS:
    • Yemen: TPS valid through September 2018
    • South Sudan: TPS valid through May 2019
    • Syria: TPS valid through September 2019
    • Somalia: TPS valid through March 2020

How to respond:

  • Pray for our country’s leaders, refugees around the world, and the church.
  • Love your friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are refugees, Dreamers or on TPS. They are feeling disheartened and fearful right now and unsure of the future of their loved ones still overseas.
  • Advocate for helping refugees overseas, and for a compassionate response to refugee resettlement, and for Dreamers from our leaders in Washington.
  • Volunteer and Support Arrive Ministries. We still have refugees being resettled and have many families already here who desire friendship, ESL/tutoring help, employment mentors, and other practical support.  Above all “love your neighbor as yourself.”

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