The FY2020 Refugee Ceiling is proposed to be the LOWEST ever in program history.

 ACTION: Call your representative and one or both senator(s) at 202-224-3121 (Capitol Switchboard).

[Prioritize Rep. Emmer & Sen. Klobuchar due to relationships or committee assignments that may help provide influence]

MN Members of Congress (Congressional District Map)

  • MN01 – Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Mankato; covers a block pyramid shaped tier across southern Minnesota)
  • MN02 – Rep. Angie Craig (DFL-Eagan; includes Scott, Dakota, Goodhue, Wabasha, southern tip of Washington & eastern part of Rice Counties)
  • MN03 – Rep. Dean Phillips (DFL-Eden Prairie; includes Greater Hennepin County)
  • MN04 – Betty McCollum (DFL-St. Paul; includes Ramsey County & suburbs)
  • MN05 – Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis; includes Minneapolis & suburbs)
  • MN06 – Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano; north & west Metro along I-94 corridor through St. Cloud & a little beyond)
  • MN07 – Rep. Collin Peterson (DFL-Moorhead; Western side of state, NOT including southernmost layer of counties)
  • MN08 – Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Duluth; Northeastern MN from just south of Cambridge to the north, NOT including the counties that are part of the I-94 corridor)
  • Senators – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN Senior senator; covers whole state)
    • Sen. Tina Smith (MN Junior senator; covers whole state)

MESSAGE: Tell Rep./Sen. _______________  to urge the administration & congressional leaders to consider refugee admissions well above the proposed 18,000 person ceiling. The admissions should be at least 95,000 (as the faith groups & coalitions are urging – including the ELCA, mainline denominations, the Catholic church, AND the Evangelical Immigration table). Many refugees are already vetted & ready to come.

Other Talking Points [choose just a few]:

  • Refugees are among the most thoroughly vetted immigrants to be admitted to the U.S., an 18 mo.-2 yr. process that includes background checks, medical exams, interviews, and more;
  • Refugees are fleeing extreme violence or persecution and need safety;
  • The world has more refugees than at any other point in human history, & the U.S. must do its part;
  • The Refugee Resettlement Program has had strong bipartisan support since its start;
  • Caps on refugee admissions have been at historically low levels since 2017 (& this proposal is lower yet);
  • Refugee communities have low crime rates, especially compared to the general population;
  • Our church denomination has been engaged for decades in helping to settle refugees.

BACKGROUND: On September 26, the administration proposed a ceiling of 18,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2020. Although this is better than zero refugees, as was first considered in July, it is still fewer refugees than the U.S. has resettled at any time since the Refugee Resettlement Program started (breaking the records of 2017-2018).

Most church denominations and faith groups (including the ELCA) have been calling for at least 95,000 refugees/year. Although this decision should be reached in consultation with Congress, last year the level was announced & carried forward by the Administration without input from Congress (which is illegal). Nevertheless, members of Congress can still be influential with the administration, either directly or indirectly (through colleagues), especially if it is realized that concerns are coming from people of faith.

Refugees have become integral members of our communities, bringing skills, needed labor, and many blessings. Without the option of resettlement, they face years in camps marked by instability, danger, and with little hope for rebuilding their lives. At a time when more than 25.9 million refugees worldwide are fleeing persecution, war, or violence, the U.S. has already reduced its refugee admissions from its annual average of 95,000 to historic lows.

Scripture reminds us that when we welcome the stranger in our midst, we are welcoming Christ among us. The ELCA has long practiced this by working with and resettling refuges for many decades. We hope to continue this tradition and fulfil the scriptural call to “love the stranger.

Tamela K. Walhof, Director
Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota
105 University Ave.
St. Paul, MN  55103
Cell phone: 651-238-6506