[Episcopal Public Policy Network] Each year, Episcopal Migration Ministries, dedicated volunteers, and host congregations offer care, hospitality and fellowship to thousands of refugees as they seek to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient. Each year, however, the need for innovative resettlement policies that facilitate successful refugee integration becomes increasingly clear. At the 75th General Convention this summer, the Episcopal Church reaffirmed its commitment to “welcoming the stranger” through resolution B028 “Refugee Policy Reform.”
The Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act, introduced in September by U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (MN-5) would address many of the barriers to integration facing refugees and introduce needed reforms to make this life-saving program more sustainable, efficient and responsive to refugees’ needs.
The Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act would streamline refugee processing overseas, while taking advantage of that processing time to provide refugees with English classes, orientation and work training. This bill would admit refugees as Lawful Permanent Residents, saving the government valuable resources as refugees would not have to adjust status once in the United States. Acknowledging the effects of the economic downturn, the bill would also provide increased assistance for housing, transportation, and professional recertification for these new Americans. The bill would also extend services for elderly or disabled refugees and children who are victims of serious crimes.
When given a strong foundation from which to rebuild their lives, refugees are successful entrepreneurs, engines of economic growth, and engaged citizens. Strengthen our welcome today – ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R.6460.