Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission


A statement on the reduction of refugees admitted to the United States

By Thomas Kemper
General Secretary
General Board of Global Ministries

At Global Ministries, we train, commission and send missionaries from everywhere to everywhere. We connect the church in mission around the world. We respond to disasters and work on sustainable development globally.

Through these ministries, on behalf of The United Methodist Church, we have learned that the root causes of migration are conflict, poverty and climatic change. Our missionaries and partners work on these issues the world over. Their observations and insight inform our ministry and this statement.

More than 68 million people in the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Resettlement in a new country is a viable solution for less than one percent of the world’s refugees. And yet, the U.S. government is proposing to cut refugee admissions to the country from a typical annual figure of 90,000 to 30,000 in 2019 – a new historic low since the current program was introduced at 95,000 annual admissions.

This is unacceptable from a humanitarian perspective. It is immoral. It does not reflect the generosity of the American people or the practices of the nation’s past.

We encourage United Methodists and others to oppose the current policy and to welcome sojourners from everywhere to everywhere. For us to be welcoming in the United States, our refugee admissions policies must change.

United Methodists are informed in this appeal by the 2016 legislating United Methodist General Conference, which said for the church: “Welcoming the migrant is not only an act of mission; it is an opportunity to receive God’s grace. …Therefore, The United Methodist Church understands that at the center of Christian faithfulness to Scripture is the call we have been given to love and welcome the sojourner. We call upon all United Methodist churches to welcome newly arriving migrants in their communities, to love them as we do ourselves, to treat them as one of our native-born, to see in them the presence of the incarnated Jesus, and to show hospitality to the migrants in our midst, believing that through their presence we are receiving the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Resolution 3281, “Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.”)

This statement is coordinated with the campaigns of others to win a reversal of the decision on the number of refugees accepted by the U.S., namely those of our sister agency, the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, and our ecumenical partner, Church World Service. Both have websites detailing ways that persons can speak for change that will allow the U.S. to be more welcoming as a nation and United Methodists to be more compassionate as a church.

CWS: TAKE ACTION NOW: Top 5 Ways to Protect U.S. Refugee Resettlement

Church and Society: What you can do.