Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today applauded the Biden-Harris administration for making immigration and refugee resettlement a priority as they take office. On the morning of Inauguration Day, the new administration announced several steps to ensure that new and prospective Americans will not be forgotten. The Biden administration will send to Congress an historic immigration bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented community members, strengthen family reunification, and restore many asylum and refugee protections. This signals an important step toward rebuilding U.S. moral leadership, and CWS looks forward to working with Congress to pass this legislation.
“We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris for using one of their first acts in office to reestablish welcome as a guiding principle in U.S. policy. This may be only an initial step forward, but it is an important one. Immigrant and refugee families have been long-torn apart—both by a system that shuts doors instead of opening them and by those who would use that system as a tool to amplify their xenophobia,” said Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service. “Today marks a new beginning for compassionate policy, a fresh start for immigration and resettlement, and a rekindling of hope for families seeking to be part of our great nation free from fear. It is now the duty of Congress to pass this bill and deliver it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.”
CWS also celebrates the administration’s commitment to issue a series of immigration and refugee executive actions that will terminate the discriminatory Muslim and African bans, direct a moratorium on most deportations that cruelly separate families and wreak havoc on communities, ensure robust restoration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, reduce the militarization of our border, and begin to repair the damage done to the U.S. resettlement program and asylum system, all of which particularly targeted and harmed Black and Brown people.
CWS notes that while these initial steps from the Biden administration are welcome, there is a long road ahead to rebuild both the immigration system and refugee resettlement program. The administration must prioritize the experiences of Black immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees to build an equitable, humane and just system for all.
Further, the organization calls on Congress and the Biden administration to:
Immediately increase the FY 2021 refugee admissions goal to reflect global need, with an eye toward setting the FY 2022 admissions goal at 125,000 – and conduct an inter-agency audit of refugee processing to increase efficiency and fairness.
Enact the Refugee Protection Act, which would restore, reinvigorate and strengthen our resettlement program and asylum system.
Terminate all anti-asylum policies and welcome and process all asylum seekers – and address root causes of displacement.
Ensure sufficient appropriations and issue directives to rebuild the program at home and overseas.
Appoint a senior White House coordinator and issue directives to federal agencies to take all steps necessary to rebuild the U.S. resettlement program.
Church World Service is a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster. We are celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2021.
This post was previously published on cwsglobal.org.
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