Assisting refugees - Our approach
A refugee woman carries supplies to her new thatch home on a steep hillside in the Mae Ra Ma Luang camp. She says she fled Myanmar one month earlier after the Burmese army destroyed her village.
Photo: UNHCR/J. Redfern
The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program was created by several Protestant denominations that came together at the end of World War II to respond to the needs of refugees in Europe. Since 1946, CWS has helped 500,000 refugees begin new lives in the United States, and continues to resettle about 8,000 more refugees and Cuban and Haitian entrants each year.
CWS, seven participating denominations and their congregations, and 36 CWS local offices and affiliates in 21 states work together to meet the needs of refugees upon their arrival to the United States, assisting them as they strive to attain self-sufficiency. A growing number of local affiliates provide immigration legal services along with refugee resettlement services.
The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program also:
Prepares the case files for all refugees in sub-Saharan Africa who are being considered for resettlement in the United States through a Cooperative Agreement with the Department of State/Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. The CWS Resettlement Support Center based in Nairobi, Kenya, also assists with departure arrangements for refugees whom the U.S. government has approved, helping get them on their way to one of the U.S. voluntary agencies, including Church World Service, that are responsible for the reception and placement of these refugees.
Administers the Religious Services Program, which was established in 2004 and operates in U.S. government-administered immigration detention centers across the United States. On-site staff coordinators and volunteers provide immigration detainees with structured and consistent religious opportunity and enhance overall religious program quality, accommodating all religious beliefs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security funds the program, which is carried out in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Service.
Carries leadership within CWS for incorporating concern for protection into all of its humanitarian programs. Through its Durable Solutions for Displaced Persons program, IRP works closely with CWS offices and local partners around the world to increase displaced persons’ access to post-primary education and vocational training, health care and education, information and information dissemination, food security and shelter, legal assistance, and capacity to advocate for their own rights.
- Monitors public policy and practice toward immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants; represents public policy positions adopted by CWS to the federal government, and works in collaboration with a number of advocacy partners in refugee resettlement and protection organizations to build a hospitable community in the United States for immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.