1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

The U.S. Must Welcome More Refugees

By Ali Rahnama, Marisa León-Gómez Sonet, September 2, 2020


The current administration has cut refugee admissions by more than 80%, from the historic norm of 95,000 to just 18,000 admissions in FY 2020. This is the lowest level in the last three decades. Our nation can and must safely resettle more refugees and reunite more refugee families.

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Urge Congress to Welcome 95,000 Refugees

Act Now 

As people of faith, our call to welcome refugees and care for the vulnerable is rooted in scripture and is part of our history. FCNL’s policy statement puts it this way: “Friends acknowledge the indispensable role of government in safeguarding the integrity of our society and the essential dignity of every human being.”

Refugees contribute immensely to our country and have been absolutely essential in our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 176,000 refugees serve in the healthcare field and 175,000 work as part of the food supply chain.

When the pandemic wreaked havoc in New York and New Jersey, these foreign trained medical workers responded to the calls of governors and joined the front lines of caring for their fellow Americans. They are essential members of our communities.

COVID-19 Makes Resettlement Even More Urgent

The current COVID-19 crisis is worsening conditions in more fragile states that are suffering from armed conflict and have populations at risk of famine. According to the International Rescue Committee, we could see up to 1 billion COVID-19 infections and 3.2 million deaths across 34 crisis affected nations.

Refugee camps are the most densely-populated areas in the world, and those forced to flee are especially vulnerable as they wait to have their applications for resettlement processed. They are dependent on relief aid for survival.

Now more than any other time in modern history, in a moment of unprecedented global crisis, the United States should take leadership in welcoming refugees.

Congress and the Administration Must Respond

Now more than any other time in modern history, in a moment of unprecedented global crisis, the United States should take leadership in welcoming refugees.

Shutting the door on refugees is a callous response to our fellow neighbors in need, and it hurts the national interest of the United States. Refugees positively reshape communities that welcome them by opening businesses, revitalizing towns, becoming citizens, and buying homes. They make an enormous net contribution to the United States with a fiscal impact of $63 billion over a ten-year period.

By the end of September, U.S. law requires the administration to consult with leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees before deciding the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States for the current fiscal year.

FCNL is joining the Refugee Council USA in calling on the administration and the honorable members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to set the number of refugee admissions for FY 2021 back to the historic norm of 95,000. To voice your support by tweeting at key Representatives and Senators, please click here.

Ali Rahnama

  • Legislative Manager, Immigration & Refugee Program

Ali Rahnama is the legislative manager for FCNL's immigration and refugee program. In this capacity he leads FCNL’s lobbying efforts to achieve a more equitable, compassionate, inclusive, and flexible immigration system.

Marisa León-Gómez Sonet

  • Program Assistant, Immigration & Refugee Program

Marisa León-Gómez Sonet is the program assistant for the immigration and refugee program. She works towards a more humane and dignified immigration and refugee system that is equitable, compassionate, inclusive, and flexible.