Daily Dispatch 1/8/2020: Stand-up for Refugees: Resources from LCWR

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Daily Dispatch

January 8, 2020

Last night Beltrami County became the only county in Minnesota, and only the second county in the U.S., to deny entrance to refugees under Trump's new executive order. Image: RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII – MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
Gallery: Those in attendance who favored a motion against refugee resettlement stood in the back and made their opinions known.

LCWR has assembled some helpful information and resources to assist communities in organizing to push back against the Trump administration’s efforts to close off this country to refugee resettlement. Today the District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland is hearing arguments in a case about one of the administration’s efforts (an Executive order requiring states and localities to offer written consent before refugees can be resettled there - more detail immediately below).  The hearing is the inspiration for the list of resources being shared below. So here it is, from :

As you may recall, on September 26, the President Trump issued an (EO 13888) that could drastically reduce, if not entirely end, the resettlement of refugees in your community. It requires state and local officials to provide written consent in order for refugee resettlement to continue in their states and localities. This means that refugee resettlement will stop in an entire state unless the governor sends a letter providing consent. County executives or their equivalents, depending on each state’s setup, must also provide consent in order for refugees to be resettled in their localities. We are urging governors and county officials to sign letters allowing refugee resettlement to continue, ASAP and by January 17th at the latest so the State Department has them when making decisions about where refugees can be resettled.

This EO is already creating chaos and confusion about where refugees can be resettled, which will lead to family separation for refugee families, and will leave refugees, former refugees and U.S. citizens without necessary supportive services. To make matters worse, the administration has set of 18,000 refugees for the next year, an abysmal number that stands in stark contrast to the historic average annual resettlement goal of 95,000 refugees. Together, these actions are likely to destroy the resettlement program. It’s critical that we work together to demonstrate and ensure our state and local officials publicly declare welcome for refugees. We need you to make your voice heard and reach out to your members of Congress, governors, mayors, and county officials and ask them to support refugee resettlement. 

On Wednesday, January 8th - the District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland will hear oral arguments about this anti-refugee executive order and consider a preliminary injunction to block its implementation. LCWR is one of many faith-based organizations supporting the injunction against the Trump administration’s EO. This could decide the fate of the refugee resettlement program and impact thousands of refugees and their families.

We’ve created a —which contains background information about the EO and the court case, talking points, sample letters-to-the-editor and opinion pieces, sample social media posts, and an action alert that you can share with your folks.

We’ve also suggested other ways that you and your community can support refugees and refugee resettlement.

    1. Share Stories: Dedicate prayer, testimony, or a message to your faith community to welcome refugees.
    • Share the stories of refugees to move your congregation and community to action in support of welcoming refugees.
    • Invite a refugee member in your community to come and share their story. Record the activities via video, blogs, newsletters, or social media posts to spread the word more broadly.
    • Click here to share and use .
    • Click here to sign up your congregation so that we know who is taking action and would like additional resources.
    1. Engage Local Media Outlets: Write an Opinion Editorial or Letter to the Editor.
    • Writing for your local newspaper or your church newsletter is a great way to both educate your community members and demonstrate support for refugees.
    • Click for background, talking points, and sample letters.
    • Host a public narrative training to help refugees learn how to tell their stories with the media, elected officials, and community members - and pitch stories to the media for those who are separated from their families because of the harsh anti-refugee policies of this administration.
    1. Amplify: Use Social Media
    1. Activate: Elected Officials
    • Members of Congress: Call your 2 Senators and 1 Representative and tell them to protect refugees and restore the resettlement program.
      • Join us to tell your Members of Congress to protect refugees and restore the refugee resettlement program! Please make your voice heard so that all members of Congress hear loud and clear that their constituents care about refugees. The Trump administration has reduced the refugee resettlement program by 80% and set this year’s refugee admissions goal at 18,000 – the lowest level in U.S. history. Given that there are more than 25 million refugees worldwide — more than half of whom are children — these numbers are shockingly low.
      • Call Congress: 202-858-1581 Please call three times to be connected with your 1 Representative and 2 Senators

“I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and [as a person of faith] I urge you to protect refugees & asylum seekers and to be bold in choosing moral, just policies that provide refuge for vulnerable individuals seeking protection. I call on you to:

          • Co-sponsor the GRACE Act (S.1088 and H.R.2146), which would set a minimum refugee admissions goal at 95,000 (the historic average since 1980).
          • Co-sponsor the Refugee Protection Act (S.2936/H.R.5210), which would protect and strengthen protections for refugees and asylum seekers, modernize the resettlement program, and make it easier for families to reunify. 
          • Hold the administration accountable to meeting this year’s 18,000 refugee admissions goal and urge them to commit to resettling 95,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2021.
          • Join the bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus (for Representatives only).

My community welcomes refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”

Please spread the word—Send this alert to your networks!