An interfaith coalition of more than 750 religious groups and leaders have demanded that the Trump administration allow for more refugees to settle in the United States.

The Trump administration has garnered controversy for its reduction in the number of refugees being allowed to resettle in the United States. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­

In a letter addressed to President Donald Trump and officially dated Aug. 21, the religious groups declared that “people of faith will not stand by idly as the United States turns its back on these individuals.”

“Refugee resettlement is a critical tool our nation can use to relieve human suffering, and we urge the administration to fully utilize it,” stated the letter.

“We pray that in your process of discernment, compassion for the plight of refugees will touch your hearts. We urge you to be bold in choosing moral, just policies that provide refuge for vulnerable individuals seeking protection.”

Citing their “collective scriptural mandate” and “our nation’s history,” the groups urged the president to “commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019.”

“Faith communities in particular remain ready and eager to welcome refugees and decry the policies that are preventing refugees from receiving protection at this time. Many of our faith communities have made public statements of our commitments to offer hospitality to refugees,” continued the letter.

“For decades, people of faith have welcomed refugees into our homes, houses of worship, and communities. Refugees are powerful ambassadors of our founding principles of equal opportunity, religious freedom, and liberty and justice for all.” ­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Groups who have signed the open letter include the Alliance of Baptists, the Anti-Defamation League, Church World Service, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Islamic Relief USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), The United Methodist Church, Union of Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, and World Relief, among others.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration was considering reducing the refugee resettlement cap for the next fiscal year, even though the 45,000-refugee cap set for fiscal year 2018 was the lowest limit set by a president since the passing of the Refugee Act of 1980.

The Times cited two former government officials and an unnamed source familiar with the situation to state that the president may approve a plan that would allow for no more than 25,000 refugees to be resettled in fiscal year 2019, which begins on Oct. 1.

Earlier this month, the Evangelical Immigration Table sent an open letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback protesting the reduction in refugee resettlement.

The EIT letter called 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. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­

“… we believe the U.S. should continue to welcome some of the most vulnerable refugees who have been persecuted for their faith, alongside those who have been persecuted for their political opinion, ethnicity, and other reasons enumerated in U.S. law,” stated the EIT letter.

“… cuts to our refugee admission program affect all persecuted religious minorities, but these cuts significantly impact our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Written by: Michael Gryboski 
Feature image: Refugees wait to be transferred to the Moria registration center after arriving at the port of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, following a rescue operation by the Greek Coast Guard at open sea, on March 22, 2016. ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS
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