In February 2016, we partnered with the International Rescue Committee to welcome Syrian refugees to North America. Now more than ever, it’s time to extend a hand of friendship.
The United States has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those fleeing persecution and war. For the millions who have arrived on American soil, having lost everything to the horrors of war and violence, our country has been a symbol of peace and opportunity. It’s been a place free from oppression, regardless of skin color or religious affiliation. However, the door to the United States has now been slammed shut on thousands of vulnerable refugees, many women and children.
On January 27th 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that cut refugee admissions into the U.S. by more than half, halted all resettlement, and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the country. This order took effect immediately, resulting in refugees already en route to The United States being detained upon arrival at American borders—imagine their confusion when discovering they are suddenly no longer welcome. In a short-term victory, a federal judge issued a temporary stay for refugees travelling to the U.S. through February 2nd. This allowed those who had been detained upon arrival to be released. But beginning on February 3rd, the halt on resettlement will take full effect. The order will exacerbate the suffering of some 60,000 vulnerable refugees who have been security vetted and are awaiting resettlement to the U.S.
Refugees are not a partisan issue. They are human beings—parents, children, business owners, students, professionals—who have suffered unimaginable violence and tragedy through no fault of their own. It’s unacceptable that now, during what has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, they’re facing racism and discrimination in the very place that they’re meant to feel safe and welcome.
A country is not defined by its government, but by its people. When faced with fear and prejudice, individual acts of compassion and kindness will prove that one executive order cannot define us as Americans. Please share the #refugeeswelcome and #nobannowall messages far and wide and visit the International Rescue Committee to learn how you can take action.