This year, our IRP+ advocacy team has held the line against anti-refugee and anti-immigrant proposals, elevated the moral call for hospitality and mobilized refugee leaders to make their voices heard.

Following erroneous reports that a Syrian refugee was involved in the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, more than 80 anti-refugee bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress, and 52 anti-refugee bills were introduced in 19 state legislatures. CWS responded immediately, sharing policy analysis and action alerts with its 33 offices and affiliates, 37 member communions, refugee and immigrant leaders and partners. Together, we defeated legislation that would have stopped the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, forced local police to serve as immigration officers and negatively impacted refugee and immigrant communities. We also successfully urged the administration to increase refugee admissions and improve access to family reunification for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. As both the United Nations General Assembly and President Obama host summits on refugees and continue to seek solutions to the refugee crisis, CWS is urging the U.S. to lead by example by doubling refugee resettlement, ensuring access to protection for asylum seekers, and increasing funding for refugee assistance and resettlement.

CWS has played a key role in coordinating the resurgence of the Sanctuary Movement, in which 500 congregations across the country are demonstrating solidarity with individuals facing deportation and more than 6,000 people of faith are calling for an end to the raids that have targeted Central American asylum seekers. We also coordinated the filing of a faith-based amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs.

CWS is changing the narrative about refugees by training refugee leaders in community organizing, media outreach, civic engagement and voter turnout. More than 300 refugee leaders in Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia are building New Americans teams to collectively lift their voices against anti-refugee proposals and demonstrate that refugees are constituents who need to be listened to. These teams are moving forward to win concrete changes important to their communities, and are registering hundreds of New Americans to vote. Through this work supported by Unbound Philanthropy and the Carnegie Corporation, we are serving as a catalyst for sustainable change in how refugees are treated by the media, the public and policy makers.

By combining policy analysis, media outreach and grassroots organizing the IRP+ advocacy team continues to stop harmful legislation, win concrete policy changes and transform how refugees and immigrants are viewed by the media and policy makers.