Standing Up For Refugees
In the wake of terrorist attacks around the world, political leaders in the U.S. have unfairly characterized Syrian refugees who are coming to America. Specifically, certain governors are saying they will not accept Syrian refugees in their state, a response that is totally fear based. Today on The Feed, we are offering a re-post from Rob Rutland-Brown, the executive director of National Justice for Our Neighbors, an organization that provides legal services for low income refugees and immigrants. In this post, Rob shows a direct way we can address this fear-based response to Syrian refugees.
By Rob Rutland-Brown
As we mourn the tragic terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris, and Baghdad, National Justice for Our Neighbors chooses to respond with love, not fear.
NJFON works with immigrants everyday who have endured unspeakable hardship and violence, like the attacks we have read about over the past few days. We help refugees who have fled civil unrest and violence to obtain a green card so they can remain here permanently and safely, and can petition for their family to join them. We also help those seeking asylum, who fear persecution or death if forced to return home. Our Northern Illinois JFON attorney alone currently has nine Syrian clients, including a mother and her three daughters, an engineering student, and a doctor. As she says, “I can tell you without any reservation that they are all exactly the kinds of people we want and need to have in the United States.”
Yet now, in the wake of the recent terrorist tragedies, many of our leaders are allowing fear to dictate their actions. Governors are seeking to prevent refugees from coming to their states, and Congress is discussing the fate of refugee funding. The mission and services of Justice for Our Neighbors require us to show love not just when it is easy, but also when it may be most difficult, for that is when our brothers and sisters around the globe need our compassion the most.
Therefore we urge the U.S. to continue to welcome refugees who flee such recurring violence on a daily basis. Now is the time to stand up for immigrants and refugees.
One way you can support refugees is by contacting your Governor, Representative, and Senators to let them know you want to welcome refugees into your community. You can tell them that refugees in the U.S. undergo the most rigorous screenings of any people admitted into our country, including background checks, in-person interviews, and fingerprinting. I have attached below a page with phone numbers and talking points prepared by our interfaith immigration partners.
Another way you can support refugees is by becoming more involved in the work of JFON. To learn about our clinics around the country where you can volunteer, visit here.
You can also make a financial gift that enables us to provide immigration legal services to the most vulnerable immigrants in our communities, including refugees, asylees, women who have experienced domestic violence, and unaccompanied children from Central America.
Thank you for joining with us to stand up for refugees and all vulnerable immigrants. Thank you for responding with love.
Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director - National Justice for Our Neighbors
YOUR VOICE IS URGENTLY NEEDED:
Tell Congress & Your Governor to WELCOME SYRIAN REFUGEES!
Background: As people across the United States are donating to help Syrian refugees abroad and volunteering to welcome refugees in their communities, a number of Governors recently announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees. This is morally reprehensible and goes against everything for which the United States stands. Some Members of Congress have even introduced legislation that would stop refugee resettlement altogether. It is critical that public officials hear from their constituents NOW as decisions are being made that will drastically impact the lives of Syrian refugees and refugee resettlement in the United States.
Please take action TODAY:
Call your Representative and Senators : 1-866-961-4293
AND if you live in these states, call your Governor!
- Alabama: (334) 242-7100
- Arizona: (520) 628-6580 / (602) 542-4331
- Arkansas: (501) 682-2345
- Florida: (850) 488-7146
- Georgia: (404) 656-1776
- Idaho: (208) 334-2100
- Illinois: (217) 782-0244 / (312) 814-2121
- Indiana: (317) 569-0709
- Iowa: (515) 281-5211
- Kansas: (785) 296-3232
- Louisiana: (225) 342-7015
- Maine: (207) 287-3531 / 1-855-721-5203
- Maryland (410)-974-3901
- Massachusetts: (617) 725-4005 / (413) 784-1200 / (202) 624-7713
- Michigan: (517) 373-3400
- Mississippi: (601) 359-3100
- Nebraska: (402) 471-2244
- Nevada: (775) 684-5670
- New Hampshire: (603) 271-2121
- New Jersey: (609) 292-6000
- North Carolina: (919) 814-2000
- Ohio: (614) 466-3555
- Oklahoma: (405) 521-2342
- South Carolina: (803) 734-2100
- Tennessee: (615) 741-2001
- Texas: 800-843-5789 / (512) 463-1782
- Wisconsin: (608) 266-1212
- Wyoming: (307) 777-7230
When you call, tell the receptionist that as a constituent, you want to help WELCOME Syrian refugees and that you’re against the calls of some governors to reject Syrian refugees.
Ex: “I’m a constituent from [City] and I support the resettlement of Syrian refugees. I urge the Senator / Representative / Governor to represent me and other constituents who seek to welcome Syrian refugees.”
AND IF you live in one of these states, call your Governor to say THANK YOU!
Urge your Governor to continue on the path of compassion, wisdom and reason:
- Alaska: (907) 269-7450
- California: (916) 445-2841
- Colorado: (303) 866-2885
- Connecticut: (860) 566-4840
- Delaware: (302) 744-4101
- Hawaii: (808) 586-0034
- Kentucky: (502) 564-2611
- Minnesota: (651) 201-3400
- Montana: (406) 444-3111
- New Mexico: (505) 476-2200
- New York: (518) 474-8390
- North Dakota: (701) 328-2205
- Oklahoma: (918) 581-2801
- Oregon: (503) 378-4582
- Rhode Island: (401) 222-2080
- South Dakota: (605) 773-3212
- Utah: (801) 538-1000
- Vermont: (802) 828-3333
- Virginia: (804) 786-2211
- Washington: (360) 902-4111
- West Virginia: (304) 558-2000
Here are some helpful points that you may want to mention, but the most important point is your story and why your community wants to welcome Syrian refugees!
- The U.S. government handpicks the refugees who resettle here, and refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people to come to the United States.
- All refugees resettled in the United States undergo rigorous security screenings by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies, including biometric checks, forensic testing, medical screenings and in-person interviews.
- This is not an either/or situation. The United States can continue to welcome refugees while also continuing to ensure national security. We must do both.
Thank you for your advocacy!