Friends of Refugees has been around for more than 20 years. In that time, we’ve seen lots of changes in the ways Refugees are treated and spoken about at the national level. Yet even after years of experience, we’re preparing for one of the most dramatic changes to Refugee policy we’ve ever seen! It all starts next year.
Background: How Many Refugees Come to the U.S.
You may know that the President of the United States determines the numbers of Refugees that the U.S. will accept every year. The president weighs many factors when making this decision. Some include the number of displaced people worldwide and the situation in the U.S. Nonetheless, the U.S. has had a Refugee resettlement cap of about 80,000 -120,000 per year since the 1990s. The actual number of new Americans who came tracked pretty closely, meaning the U.S. typically resettled tens of thousands of people every year.
That pattern changed a few years ago. Over the past few years, the number of Refugees resettled in the U.S. has plummeted. In 2020, the U.S. welcomed only 11,800 people. It was the smallest number in decades. This current year has the lowest Refugee resettlement goal in the history of the modern Refugee program.
How did this affect Friends of Refugees
Before the recent decrease, Friends of Refugees routinelyserved about 3,000 Refugees each year. The year-to-year fluctuations in how many New Americans came to Clarkston did not change too much for us. We have continued to focus on inviting Refugees into abundant life and creating flourishing communities.
The recent decrease has meant that we’ve focused even more on building up the families who are already here. This focus only deepened when the pandemic hit. We’ve continued to welcome as many new friends as we can, but we do lament that there have been fewer families who have come.
Now, we are preparing to welcome more friends than ever next year!
What’s Happening Next Year?
The current administration has raised the refugee cap to 125,000 people for the coming year. That means our country is planning to welcome up to 10x more new friends than we did in 2020! This is the biggest increase we have seen since we started this work. It’s exhilarating and challenging. We want to be ready to journey with these friends!
Right now, that means we’re working to assess and scale our programs. We don’t know how many of these new Americans will come to the Clarkston area, but experience tells us that many could. It’s time to prepare! We’ve grown so much over the past 26 years, and now we get to grow even more. It’s our honor to demonstrate what wholehearted welcome means and what it looks like to create a community together.
Your support and encouragement plays a key role in growing our capacity. Now, we’re preparing to move forward together to build a bigger, more abundant community in the coming year.