America's duty to take in refugees

My organization, World Relief, has settled more than a quarter of a million refugees in this country over the past 40 years, working with thousands of congregations to welcome others who have no place to call home, creating a place not just to live, but a place to belong. We’re an evangelical charity, and our motivations for this work come from what we believe about Jesus, who was himself a refugee who fled with his mother and father to Egypt, and told us to “do for others as we would want done for us.”

We are joined in this work by many other agencies, religious and secular. They act out of their own traditions and conviction, but all see the need to take bold action to end human suffering.

My group’s resettlement efforts began in 1979, when a couple who had returned from two decades of ministry in Vietnam searched for a local church to welcome a refugee family. Over the next decade, the federal government, resettlement agencies and thousands of local churches resettled more than 700,000 refugees from Asia, most from Vietnam. Today, Vietnamese-Americans are a resounding success story: Compared with the country as a whole, they are more likely to be employed and less likely to live in poverty, and they earn slightly higher wages.