Press Kit

For more than seven decades, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has been a champion for migrants and refugees from around the globe. Our legacy of courageous and compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities. Our history reflects American Lutherans’ deep immigrant roots and passionate commitment to welcoming newcomers.

LIRS’s vision is that all migrants and refugees are protected, embraced and empowered in a world of just and welcoming communities.

LIRS began in 1939 as a small office based in New York. A project of the National Lutheran Council, the focus of the operation was to resettle Lutheran refugees suffering from the effects of post-war Europe. Since that time the organization has grown both internally and externally. In 1960 LIRS made the decision to expand its helping hand further throughout the globe and to offer assistance to immigrants of all faith backgrounds. LIRS continues to maintain a supportive partnership with the Lutheran Church body which now includes the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. LIRS relocated in 1999 and now continues its mission of witnessing to God’s love, advocating for migrants and refugees, and transforming communities through ministries of service and justice from offices in the Lutheran Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

If you would like more information in addition to the resources provided here, please contact Miji Bell, LIRS Public Relations Officer at 410-230-2841 or

Get to know Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services:

The Mission, Vision, and Core Values that motivate the work of LIRS.

For information on specific areas of work within LIRS follow these links:

Overview: Ministries of Service and Justice
Service and Justice for Children
Service and Justice for Migrants at Risk
Service and Justice for Refugees
Service and Justice for Trafficked Children
Fact Sheet: Access to Justice

The story of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services:

The history of LIRS, including a timeline of growth and progress from 1939 to the present.

Meet the Team:

Get to know the many people who work hard to ensure that LIRS continues to be successful.

Linda Hartke became President and CEO in 2010; learn more about her and her work at LIRS.

LIRS also relies on a 15-member board of directors who come from various backgrounds and are located across the nation. Read more about the board of directors here.

Throughout the years the work of LIRS has expanded and so has the staff. Read more about LIRS staff here.

Facts and Figures:

The work of LIRS by the numbers including finance and impact reports.

Annual Reports
Quarterly Reports: Q1 Report and Q2 Report


LIRS works hard to maintain a commitment to humanitarian relief, to advocate for justice, and to create a welcoming community. By staying true to the values that the agency was founded on, the work of LIRS has produced many success stories. Here are a few:

A Refugee Donates to Help Resettlement Work Continue
Thousands Begin a New Life through Your Generosity!
Your Support Helps Trafficked Children Find a Place They Can Call Home

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services in the Media:

LIRS uses a variety of channels to communicate with those in need and those who can help.

Press Releases: Stay up to date on all the news surrounding LIRS and its mission of advocacy.

Read what other sources are saying about LIRS.

Redefining Welcome, a blog by President and CEO Linda Hartke, is always up-to-date on breaking news in the world of immigration and refugee advocacy.

The following links to videos and photos feature various aspects of LIRS and the vision it continues to work towards.