World Relief is laying off over 140 employees and closing five offices across the country as a “direct result” of the Trump administration’s recent moves to halt refugees entering the U.S.
Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief, says not only is the loss of over 140 jobs “deeply troubling”, but additionally the people they are forced to let go “have served diligently and sacrificially—some of them for many years.” As these seasoned staff leave, they take with them “decades of organizational expertise and invaluable capacity to serve the world’s most vulnerable people.”
The non-profit organization, which specializes in refugee and immigration services, among other humanitarian efforts, is determined to keep working toward its mission. However, CEO Tim Breene says, “given the unprecedented nature of the global refugee crisis, there are simply more people than ever that need our support and our compassion.”
Offices in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Glen Burnie, Maryland will be closing, according to a press release. World Relief says combined, these offices have helped to settle more than 25,000 refugees over the past 40 years.
World Relief started as the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals in 1944. Their first order of business was to help pick up the pieces of post-WWII Europe. Over the decades, the organization has adjusted its mission to assist the changing needs of the “world’s most vulnerable.” Today, they focus on things like maternal and child health, disaster response, and agricultural training, in addition to their work with refugees.
This is not the first time World Relief has appealed to the government for immigration reform. In 2011, the organization released a formal statement in support of the DREAM Act, which would allow young undocumented immigrants to go to college and join the U.S. military, thereby providing them an easier path to U.S. citizenship.
Commenting on the Trump administration’s abrupt immigration policy changes, Breene says “America is now less able to help those around the world who need our help the most.”