[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] As a result of changing U.S. policy that lowers the number of refugees to be resettled in this country annually by more than half, Episcopal Migration Ministries will be reducing the size of its affiliate network by six sites in the next fiscal year. Currently, the Episcopal Migration Ministries network consists of 31 affiliate locations.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government.
“We are disappointed that we need to take these steps, but the current situation leaves us no choice,” commented the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries. “We have reduced our national core staff by 22% due to funding cuts and we are now looking at a similar cut in our network of affiliate partners through which refugees are resettled. While difficult, the decision making process regarding these reductions has been carried out carefully and strategically, with the welfare of refugees at the forefront of our minds.”
As Episcopal Migration Ministries prepares for fiscal year 2018, six offices will not be included in the resettlement plan submitted to the government. The affiliates, and the Episcopal dioceses in which they are located, are: Refugee One, Chicago, IL (Diocese of Chicago); Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, FL (Diocese of Florida); Lutheran Social Services of ND, Fargo, ND (Diocese of North Dakota); Lutheran Social Services of ND, Grand Forks, ND (Diocese of North Dakota); Ascentria Care Alliance, Concord, NH (Diocese of New Hampshire); and Ascentria Care Alliance, Westfield, MA (Diocese of Western Massachusetts).
Episcopal Migration Ministries recently announced the closing of its satellite office in Miami, Florida, effective the end of July 2017, as a result of changing immigration policy regarding Cuba. At the moment, there are eight staff members in the Miami office.
“We are thankful for the ministry and mission of the committed staff of all our affiliate partners,” Stevenson said. “These professionals provide effective and safe welcome to new neighbors in this country. We also give thanks to the wider church for its support in helping us maintain a strong ministry despite the pressures of the current political landscape. Episcopal Migration Ministries will continue to provide opportunities for refugees to thrive as new Americans. “