Welcoming 125,000 refugees is important goal and moral imperative

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Advocacy, Refugees & Immigrants

LCSNW statement on new Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions

President Biden has once again set the annual target for refugees entering the United States at 125,000  – a number that has strong support from Lutheran Community Services Northwest. Our support, however, comes with an expectation that Biden’s team will have more success attaining it over the next 12 months than they did over the past 12.

Reaching that milestone would send a clear message to thousands of oppressed people and desperate families around the world: America’s values of freedom, equality and prosperity are meant to be shared.

“The Biden administration’s decision to set the annual number at this historic level reflects the best of what America represents as a beacon of hope and safety for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Daryl Morrissey, LCSNW’s Director of Refugee Resettlement. “It’s a commitment at both the national and the neighborhood levels to extend a helping hand to others while at the same time making a better community, and a better America, for us all.”

The number, officially called the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2023, is the same as it was in 2022. Some describe it as a cap or ceiling. At LCSNW, we see it as an important goal and a moral imperative, and we aspire to do our part. Over the past 12 months, our teams resettled 693 refugees in Tacoma and Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.

Moving forward, we have our work cut out for us. U.S. resettlement agencies received an estimated 25,000 refugees – one-fifth the federal target – in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The government must continue to rebuild its resettlement infrastructure, including the overseas processing of refugee applications, that deteriorated to historic lows during the previous administration.

But that 25,000 number is deceiving; it doesn’t reflect all that our agency and country have done to assist Afghan and Ukrainian asylum seekers. Because they are here without a path to permanent residency, they are not classified as refugees. At LCSNW, we resettled 779 Afghans who were evacuated to the U.S. with temporary status over the past 12 months. 

We urge the Biden administration to shift resources into welcoming more families to the U.S. permanently. We also urge Congress to adopt the Afghan Adjustment Act to secure the future of those who traded dire conditions back home for temporary protections here.

About us: Founded in 1921, Lutheran Community Services Northwest is a trauma-informed human services organization with offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. As part of our mission of health, justice and hope, we have resettled nearly 50,000 refugees from all over the world dating back to the 1950s. 

For questions, interviews or more information, contact Communications Director Matt Misterek at [email protected]

To donate to our Refugee Response campaign, click here.