1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

On World Refugee Day We Call on Congress to Strengthen Refugee Protections

By Karla Molinar-Arvizo, June 19, 2020


The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) joins the celebration of World Refugee Day. As a Quaker organization, FCNL is dedicated to pursuing policies that uphold and sustain the inherent worth, contributions, and dignity of each person including refugees. We commemorate as well the 40th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980.

FCNL was founded by the Religious Society of Friends to lobby Congress and the administration for U.S. policies that advance peace, justice, and good government. Since our founding in 1943, amid the refugee crisis caused by World War II, FCNL has held a deep concern for refugees and all individuals who are forcibly displaced from their homes.

With a record number of refugees around the world, welcoming the stranger is no longer just an ideal—it must be the reality we practice.

Historically, the United States has been a global leader in refugee resettlement, yet under the current administration, we have weakened our moral commitment to those in most need by decreasing our refugee resettlement from 97,000 in 2016 to record-breaking low of 18,000 refugees in 2020. This comes against the backdrop of increased displacement of the most vulnerable. With a record number of refugees around the world, welcoming the stranger is no longer just an ideal—it must be the reality we practice.

“The US should be open to those who seek refuge from violence and persecution. Diminishing the number of people allowed in the United States as refugees diminishes us as a nation,” said FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall. “Quakers have long advocated that we must welcome refugees. It is our moral responsibility and opportunity to care for and protect one another.”

An estimated 65 million people are displaced worldwide—an unprecedented 22.5 million of whom are refugees fleeing to other countries. Between 75-80 percent of refugees and internally displaced people are women and children.

The United States should resettle at least 95,000 refugees annually, the historic average throughout the duration of the program by enacting the Refugee Protection Act (S. 2936/ H.R.5210). FCNL calls on the administration to strengthen the United State’s place as a global leader in the protection refugees, and on Congress to pass meaningful legislation to protect refugees at every possible turn.

Karla Molinar-Arvizo

  • Program Assistant, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Karla was the Program Assistant for Immigration and Refugee Policy for 2019-2020. In her work, Karla tracked key legislation on congressional appropriations and funding, collaborated with partner organizations, and uplifted the values of FCNL through congressional visits and lobbying. She believes in the importance of maintaining relationships with constituents, and advocates for an immigration system where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.