America: Evangelical Leaders Ask Trump to Raise Refugee Ceiling for 2019, Cite Religious Freedom

Seven evangelical leaders have directly voiced concern about the Trump administration's drastic slowing of refugee resettlement to the United States, citing the administration's own call to protect religious freedom worldwide.

Leading Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore and prominent Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez joined their colleagues from the Evangelical Immigration Table on Tuesday in sending a letter to three top federal agency officials expressing "deep concern about the impact on international religious freedom of recent changes in the U.S. refugee resettlement program."

The Evangelical Immigration Table is a coalition of organizations that advocate for immigration reform to reflect "biblical values." The organization's letter calls on the administration to set the U.S. refugee resettlement cap for fiscal year 2019 at 75,000 refugees, which would be about 50,000 refugees more than a planned limit reportedly being considered by the president for next year.

The letters were sent to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, the latter of which led the State Department's first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom last month.

As many of the evangelical leaders who signed the letter attended the ministerial, they expressed gratitude for the strong focus and initiative that the Trump administration has put toward protecting religious freedom around the world.

However, they went on to express disapproval with the fact that the refugee resettlement numbers to the U.S. have decreased at a time when the global refugee population is higher than ever before — over 25 million.

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