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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Keeping America's door open

Lutheran agencies continue to resettle a dwindling trickle of immigrants and refugees

Danielle Kearney looks up from her paper-strewn desk with a worried frown. Outside her Tampa office door, only one refugee seeks assistance.

"In the eight months before 9/11, we averaged 45 refugees a month," says Kearney, director of Lutheran Services Florida's refugee and immigration program. "Since then it's fallen to about 16 a month." Kearney understands the need for security measures, but it's the people that most concern her.

Government restrictions on immigrant and refugee arrivals are a phenomenon that all of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service's 27 resettlement affiliates are experiencing. LIRS, supported by the ELCA, the Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora and the Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod, serves refugees and migrants in the United States. Government funding, based on numbers of arrivals, supports their work.


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November issue

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