LSSNCA Reacts to FY2021 Refugee Admissions Number

Full text of letter:

It comes as no shock today that the Administration plans to set the U.S. refugee admissions number at 15,000 individuals for Fiscal Year 2021. Over the past three and a half years, the U.S. has experienced a continued decline in the number of refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). In 2017, the Administration lowered this admissions number to 50,000, followed by sequential declines to 45,000, 30,000, and 18,000.

In fact, despite a FY2020 refugee admissions ceiling of 18,000 individuals, merely 11,814 refugees were admitted as of the end of September, according to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). It is troubling that the Administration continues to dismantle the U.S. resettlement program. Our country has the capacity and the ability to resettle at least 95,000 refugees annually. While this number remains less than half of one percent of the total number of refugees worldwide, it is more than six times the current U.S. impact to those seeking refuge.

Though the decline in refugee admission numbers has negatively affected the refugee resettlement services of LSSNCA, we are thankful to provide resettlement and employment services to Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders from Afghanistan. SIV admissions numbers are not folded into this Presidential Determination (PD) on refugee admissions, but rather are set by Congress through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Due to our work welcoming Afghan families, we resettled over 500 individuals in FY2020, thanks to the help of community partners and donors.

We cannot help but hold onto the hope that future Administrations will see the humanitarian, diplomatic, and national security advantages of a robust refugee admissions number. We will continue to welcome refugees and immigrants to the Washington Metro Area for as long as we are able and with the support of our many generous community partners.

We appeal to you today to persist in urging your lawmakers and representatives to remain welcoming. Further, we ask that you join us in welcoming the refugees and immigrants we will resettle in this next year. Our clients come to the U.S. seeking to restart their lives in communities that are safe and friendly. They come knowing this will not be an easy journey to self-sufficiency, but with your help we can make that transition smoother. Visit to find ways you can help welcome our newest neighbors.

For all advocacy questions contact Dana Lea, Director of Community Outreach, at

Visit for information on how you can help us resettle refugees and immigrants in the DMV, including: become a Good Neighbor Partner, donate furniture, visit our Wish Lists, volunteer, and make an online donation. Don’t forget to #WelcomeBoldly!

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