the global refugee crisis facts and figures, and the people who are talking about it
I spent today in Baltimore, working with churches from all over the country who believe that it's God's intention for Christians to engage in the current global refugee crisis in a meaningful way.
This was both encouraging and humbling.
Politically speaking, it's no secret where I stand on this issue. I strongly believe that the US has an ethical, moral and humanitarian obligation to welcome refugees — particularly from parts of the world where we instigated the issues that caused innocent people to face displacement.
The Christian church has an even higher spiritual and missional obligation to welcome refugees. This is the greatest missional opportunity for the church of our generation. The church must have this conversation.
At least the conversation.
Because if we have the conversation with any kind of Biblical integrity, we will take action.
What is disturbing to me is the fact that according to Lifeway research, the vast majority of Christians admit that their views on immigration and refugees are not shaped by the Scriptures we admittedly say we believe. A mere 12% of evangelicals say that their views on immigration are primarily influenced by the Bible.
I find this disturbing.
I also find it incredibly encouraging to spend time with the likes of the people I did today: Church leaders from around the country who are defying the statistics and having the conversation.
Most of my day was spent alongside these leaders, while hearing from some of the most informed, intelligent, passionate and knowledgable people I know presenting to churches the facts, figures and the tools churches need to engage with this crisis, both in the parts of world facing continued conflict and displacement and in our own neighborhoods.
Again - this is a crisis that the world needs to figure out. As a follower of Jesus, I can't express how strongly I believe that this is something the church must engage with. How we respond to this crisis today, will be the measure of the church for generations to come.
Here are some of the important facts and figures, related to immigration and refugees.
Did you know ....
- Immigrants in general, and refugees in particular, are 50% more likely to start a small business than most native-born Americans?
- The vast majority of refugees who come into the United State are persecuted Christians from southeast Asia?
- On average, it takes 17 years before a displaced person will find a permanent new home?
- The 70,000 refugees who enter the US this year through the refugee resettlement program are the most thoroughly vetted group of the 20 million immigrants who enter the country every year?
- Of the 3 million + refugees who have entered the US through refugee resettlement since 1975, there have been a total of zero terrorist attacks perpetrated by these refugees?
- The US economy is dependent on immigrants and refugees to be workers, consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs.
- There are nearly 20 million refugees in the world today, with an additional 38 million (plus) who are internally displaced (meaning people who have been forcibly removed from their homes, but have not been able to flee their country).
- 1.6% of immigrant males age 16-39 are incarcerated, while 3.3% of native born American males 16-39 are incarcerated.
Be like the people I had the privilege to spend time with today.
Get the facts, have the conversation and engage.