Presiding Bishop renews Episcopal Church commitment and urges reform on 30th Anniversary of Refugee Act

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In 1980, the United States Congress passed the Refugee Act, a comprehensive bill answering a national desire to receive persons fleeing persecution in many regions of the world.  The Episcopal Church has extended a compassionate welcome to forcibly uprooted persons arriving on our shores since World War II.  We have been eager partners in the U.S. refugee resettlement program created by this more recent and landmark legislation. As we mark the 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act, we can celebrate the renewal of life and hope experienced by the thousands of people resettled through Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM).

The renewal and transformation experienced by those who flee war, oppression, and persecution and find safety here finds a complement in the transformation experienced by Episcopalians who have assisted refugees in their communities over the past three decades.  In addition to the ministry of our own members, we gratefully acknowledge the steadfast commitment of EMM affiliate offices and devoted ecumenical, interfaith, and community partners in the effort to serve the least of these.  God continues to call us to serve the orphan and widow, victims of war and violence, the alien and the sojourner in our midst.

The 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act is an opportunity to renew our commitment to remember and advocate on behalf of the uprooted, recognizing that situations of violence and war around the world will continue to force people from their native lands.  We will continue to work for meaningful aid and assistance to those who suffer displacement and loss overseas.  On the domestic front, we will urge Congress to enact much needed reform of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, particularly through seeking the resources necessary to promote self-sufficiency and to integrate refugees seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in our nation.

The Episcopal Church remains committed to responding to the needs of the uprooted and displaced, resettling more refugees at present than at any time in our history.  We remain confident that our work with federal partners and companions in mission will lead to strengthening our nation’s long-established tradition of offering safety, security, and hope to those seeking a life defined by freedom and opportunity.