How to Help Refugees Right Now!
There’s so much we can do to help refugees here, right now, despite news reports that might make you think otherwise. There has been a sharp downturn in the flow of refugees coming to the U.S. , but those of us working with refugees are busier than ever.
We’re all everyday people. We’re Democrats and Republicans, Trump supporters and Clinton supporters, pro-choicers and pro-lifers, the religious and the secular.
Support for refugees comes from across the political spectrum. It turns out that what on the surface looks like a divisive issue is one on which Americans from across the political spectrum stand in solidarity. look at one national figure’s reaction to the June 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the third version of President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven countries–five of them majority Muslim–from entering the United States.
“While we respect the authority of the Supreme Court on these matters, we also believe it is vital that we, as a nation, affirm our core commitment to religious liberty for all people. Though the court may have found these restrictions to be lawful, that does not necessarily mean they are right or just.”
These are fighting words. Who said them?
Scott Arbeiter–president of World Relief. It is one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies approved by the U.S. State Department. And it was founded by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Yes, evangelicals–who we keep thinking are Trump’s base. That’s reasonable, white evangelicals voted 80% for the President. But it doesn’t mean that they are in lockstep with the Trump Administration on every issue, particularly when it comes to helping the stranger.
And the NAE itself is pro refugee. When President Trump issued his first executive order banning visitors from specific countries and shutting down refugee admissions for 120 days, the NAE spoke out.
NAE president Leith Anderson urged the President to continue the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
“Christians and churches have been welcoming refugees for 2,000 years, and evangelicals are committed to continue this biblical mission. Thousands of U.S. evangelicals and their churches have welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past 40 years through World Relief and other federally approved resettlement agencies. We don’t want to stop now,” he said.
It wasn’t just World Relief that protested. So did the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which along with Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court advocating that the travel ban be struck down as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
In a joint statement,Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty said: “The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries.”
World Relief and Catholic Charities are just two resources you can seek out to find out how you can help refugees.
Want to know how you can help refugees more? I’ll give you some pointers next week. Want to find out sooner? Email me using the form on this home page. I look forward to hearing from you!