Facing a sharp drop in refugees entering the United States under Trump’s executive order on immigration (reportedly undergoing re-drafting), the World Relief, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that helps resettle refugees, has announced that it will close five offices and lay off more than 140 staff members nationwide. Offices shutting down are located in Columbus, Ohio; Miami; Nashville, Tennessee; Boise, Idaho; and Glen Burnie, Maryland. The organization cites that these offices have been responsible for resettling more than 25,000 refugees in the last 40 years.
According to the Baltimore Sun, “World Relief will continue to assist refugees with citizenship applications and other issues at its Baltimore legal clinic and will refer them to other local nonprofits, such as the International Rescue Committee, for other services.”
World Relief’s president, Scott Arbeiter, said on CNN: “Some of the most vulnerable people in the world right now are Muslims. If we say no Muslim should be let in, we are denying the humanity and dignity of people made in the image of God.”
According to Ruben Chandrasekar, executive director of the Baltimore branch of the International Rescue Committee, funding for most refugee resettlement organizations is largely provided by the State Department based on the number of resettlements each group manages. When the flow of refugees stops, nonprofits are left with no choice but to scale back.