The Next Three Weeks

In early October the fiscal year ends for refugee resettlement for the year in the US and the new year, new budgets and most importantly new numbers of people we will potentially accept will be set.

The US has had a refugee resettlement program since WWII and it’s operated much as it is now since the Refugee Act of 1980.

The program has been under assault in criticism since the campaign and in reality since the current administration has taken office despite none of the complaints being true. The are heavily vetted. They contribute to the US economy. None have ever taken a US life in a terror attack and they, in fact, become good new Americans. I have included facts about refugee resettlement in the graphic below but note that the number of refugees resettled worldwide dropped by over 50% in 2017 when only 1% of the world’s refugees were resettled in the first place. In 2016 the US welcomed 84,995 refugees. The US saw a significant drop to 53,716 as the travel ban was fought out in court and this year because of it’s passing we will resettle just under 20,000 refugees during a time of the highest numbers of displaced people in modern history. Weekly I get emails from our resettlement agencies that no refugees are coming despite hundreds of people in my city being trained, ready and willing to help with their welcome and resettlement. Many have had to close their doors and lay off staff. The infrastructure for the future of welcoming refugees is being dismantled. It is not about this year alone but future years and how we will be able to serve those displaced by war and violence, genocide, statelessness, persecution for their faith, political beliefs, or sexual orientation or gender.

I think of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims, the Yazidis and Christians that were murdered for their faith and taken as sex slaves by ISIS, Syrians being bombed by their own government, Iranians being thrown in jail for converting to Christianity,  the constant warfare in Congo that has displaced many.

America, we can do better. What part will you play in helping influence our nation and our politicians to be a nation that is welcoming to refugees? Pray, speak up, remind people of what is in the Bible about refugees, call your representatives, vote.

refugee resettlment

America at its Best

Beauty. I was at the dentist today with a Muslim friend from Pakistan/Afghanistan. Her translator, an Indian Sikh man with a turban and her and myself were speaking in broken bits of three languages. Urdu between them, her Pashto, and my English to each of them. An elderly white lady came through the door with a walker and the Sikh man jumped up to help her. She didn’t look up at him and settled in behind us. A few minutes later as we were chatting about all kinds of random subjects the lady in the walker behind me spoke up and said.. “it is so beautiful hearing you guys speak to one another.” I asked her name and introduced her to my old friend and new acquaintance. She said she was completely blind and could not see us but complimented my Afghani friend on her name. She was so kind and I loved her listening in. I wasn’t expecting it. Joy filled my heart. As we departed ways later we shook hands and said our “God bless you” to one another and I thought .. this is America at its best.