Reaching the cap of 125,000 refugees in the next year “will require ramping up overseas processing and eliminating inefficiencies,” they wrote. While maintaining the “thorough vetting process” of the program, “we also need processes nimble enough to respond to emerging crises as well as protracted refugee situations,” according to the letter. Some refugees have had “to wait literally decades in refugee camps and other inadequate conditions,” they said.
The EIT organizations called for continued help for at-risk Afghans and Ukrainians, but they also urged Biden and congressional leaders “to ensure the U.S. offers similar protections to those fleeing persecution in other contexts that have received less media attention.” The letter acknowledged the “unique dynamics” in the last year that resulted in the arrival of many from Afghanistan and Ukraine in this country by legal means other than the refugee admissions program.
In addition to the ERLC, the EIT organizations that signed the letter to the president and congressional leaders were the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, World Vision, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Bethany Christian Services and The Wesleyan Church.
The United Nations has defined a refugee as “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion,” according to its 1951 Refugee Convention.
A Lifeway Research survey released Tuesday showed 73 percent of Americans who are evangelical Christians by belief agree the United States has a moral responsibility to admit refugees. EIT and World Relief sponsored the public opinion poll.
Messengers to this year’s SBC meeting in June approved a resolution regarding the war in Ukraine that called on the U.S. government to make the admission of Ukrainian refugees a priority. At the 2016 SBC meeting, messengers adopted a resolution that urged Southern Baptist “churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes as a means to demonstrate to the nations that our God longs for every tribe, tongue, and nation to be welcomed at His throne.” Messengers to the 2018 meeting reaffirmed that resolution.
Care for refugees is one of the focus areas of Send Relief, the Southern Baptist Convention’s compassion ministry carried out through the cooperative efforts of the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board. Send Relief encourages churches to proclaim the Gospel while meeting practical needs.
This article originally appeared here.