The Christian Reformed Church in North America cautions, “A drastic reduction in the number of refugee resettlements allowed next year would prevent our churches from following our longstanding calling to extend hospitality to refugees.” It issued the statement July 19, 2019, after acknowledging a media report mentioning a proposed further reduction to the number of refugees allowed to be admitted to the United States in Fiscal Year 2020.
The full statement, which included praying “that Congress will hold the administration accountable to doing what is both faithful and just by ensuring that the U.S. refugee resettlement program remains intact for years to come,” and encouraging “CRCNA members to express the great value of refugee resettlement programs to their elected officials,” can be read here.
“After significant reduction to refugee resettlement numbers in the U.S. for the last two years, the disclosure that the administration might consider zero admissions in 2020 alarms the CRCNA,” said communications director Kristen deRoo VanderBerg. “We felt that it was important to remind all our members about our history, our faith-rooted calling, and the importance of stewarding the power of our citizenship in this critical moment.”
Beyond issuing this latest statement, the CRC, by way of its Office of Social Justice, has continued to hold the needs of immigrants and refugees before congregation members. This summer, OSJ prepared a series on its Do Justice blog called Seeing Beyond the Immigration Rhetoric; completed an audio series called Immigration is our Story and distributed a video by justice education team leader Rev. Kate Kooyman reviewing what she thinks “scripture says to Christians about how we can think faithfully about immigration.”
The OSJ also shared background and rationale for its Protect Refugee Resettlement campaign. Through the agency’s advocacy action center it urged “Ask Congress and the Trump Administration to protect refugee resettlement and oppose proposals to decimate the program.”
Ten days after releasing the statement, VanderBerg said, "The reaction to the statement has been positive. We haven't sent up any official metrics, but social media ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ show that it has hit home with CRC people, which makes sense given our strong history of support for refugees and immigration issues."