City Transformation: Welcoming Refugees and Others in Need
- Pray that God moves on our hearts to welcome and assist arriving refugees
We’ve prayed over the past months about becoming a city of refuge. We’re sensing that it is time to recognize that we are a city of refuge and start thinking, praying and acting that way. Even the US federal government has recognized that we are.
For example, over the next two years, 10,000 refugees from Syria will be settled in 180 US cities, including Colorado Springs (Map). Lutheran Family Services will process them here in the Springs. On average, 55 people will be settled in each city. How many end up in each city is determined by the Department of State based on cost of living and location of any relatives the refugees have in the US (Source).
For additional context, the US State Department has this to say about the resettlement of refugees:
A refugee is someone who has fled from his or her home country and cannot return because he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The first step for most refugees is to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country to which s/he has fled. UNHCR has the mandate to provide international protection to refugees. UNHCR determines if an individual qualifies as a refugee and, if so, works toward the best possible durable solution for each refugee: safe return to the home country, local integration, or third-country resettlement.
According to UNHCR’s latest statistics, there are approximately 15.4 million refugees in the world. The vast majority of these refugees will receive support in the country to which they fled until they can voluntarily and safely return to their home country. A small number of refugees will be allowed to become citizens in the country to which they fled, and an even smaller number — primarily those who are at the highest risk — will be resettled in a third country. While UNHCR reports that less than 1 percent of all refugees are eventually resettled in third countries, the United States welcomes over half of these refugees, more than all other resettlement countries combined.