Three weeks after President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily stopping refugees from entering the country, a major evangelical refugee resettlement agency announced plans to shut down 5 of its 27 locations nationwide and lay off more than 100 staff members working there.

World Relief announced Wednesday evening that it would close offices in Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Glen Burnie, Maryland. These five locations had resettled 25,000 refugees.

“The unfortunate truth is that given the unprecedented nature of the global refugee crisis, there are simply more people than ever that need our support and our compassion,” said Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of nine agencies partnering with the government to resettle refugees.

Last year, World Relief took on its biggest caseload since 1999, only to go from settling about 45 refugees a day in the fall to drop to a halt under the temporary ban. As a result, the agency will cut 140 employees.

“How do we sustain our network?” World Relief president Scott Arbeiter asked in an interview with CT days before the executive order became official. “When you turn off the refugee flow completely for four months, that means you’re trying to carry all the infrastructure that you’ve developed over decades—great people with expertise and experience with these areas—how could we keep them on the payroll?”

Vickie Reddy, cofounder of We Welcome Refugees, shared similar concerns:

I can’t see how refugee resettlement offices will be able to survive any period of time where there is a moratorium on refugees being ...
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