Where are the Refugees?

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Kang Uk Yi, an immigrant from South Korea, at work in a factory in Tacoma, Washington, on February 21, 2018. He was placed in his job with assistance from Tacoma Community House, a United Methodist Women-supported agency that helps new immigrants with language, employment and a variety of other services. The factory manufactures large concrete beams for bridges and construction. Photo by Rev. Paul Jeffrey

By the Rev. Lyda Pierce

Currently there are 22.5 million refugees around the world – the highest number in recorded history. Yet at this time of great need the US government set an all-time low goal for refugees admissions for the 2018 fiscal year of 45,000. To make matters worse, the administration is on track to only receive 20,000. By March 31, half-way through the fiscal year, less than 10,000 will have been resettled, not even meeting their own goal.

I was taught in Sunday School that the church is committed to care for refugees because God loves them as much as any us. I was taught in 5th grade social studies class that the United States is based on a basic value of respect for everyone’s life, and that the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty define a commitment to receive those in need:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! [1]

In a time of such great need, why are so few of these refugees arriving in this country?

We are a global church. And the people called United Methodist in the Pacific Northwest make our home in the United States. We do not control all that this country does. However, we do have the power of voice based on God’s call to love and care for the stranger, the immigrant, and our neighbor.

Let’s all join in the Wednesday, March 28, National Call-in Day to let Congress and the White House know of our desire for more refugees to arrive in the US and settle in our communities.

Click here for help in how to join the Call-In. 

To keep up to date and to be reminded of this Call-In, join the Facebook group We Welcome Immigrants – UMC of the Greater Northwest


The Rev. Lyda Pierce serves as director of Hispanic/Latino Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference Office of Connectional Ministries.

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