We need your help today, as Congress might flatline funding for refugee resettlement at the same time as we prepare to welcome more refugees in 2017.
I want to share the story of my friend and colleague, Bhuwan Pyakurel, who was forced to leave his home in Bhutan because of religious persecution. Bhuwan spent 18 years living in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal before coming to the United States in 2009.
Resettling in the United States provided a new opportunity for Bhuwan and his family. When people ask how he is doing he replies, “perfect” because he is no longer in the camps and finally has a home, but Bhuwan needed assistance to be able to start over.
Resettlement services funded by the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) met their basic needs, like food, clothing, and shelter, and helped them learn English and receive job training. For Bhuwan and his family, their new beginning started after arriving in the United States where they finally felt safe and were able to buy their own home. Now Bhuwan is helping other refugees like him to become leaders in the community, to advocate on issues that impact them, and integrate through being actively engaged.
Unfortunately, Congress is proposing legislation that would prevent resettlement agencies and communities across the United States from supporting refugees just like Bhuwan. By flatlining funding for ORR, Congress could take away critical services that refugees need to thrive in their new homes. That is why we are asking our governors and mayors to stand up for refugees and tell Congress to increase funding for refugee protection and resettlement.
Make your voice heard and tell your Governor and local mayors to sign on by Monday, September 26 to a national letter supporting additional resources for refugee resettlement programs.
As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger, stand with the vulnerable, and love our neighbor. As the world searches for solutions to the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, we have a moral and legal obligation to refugees seeking a chance to rebuild their lives and create a better future for their families.
Take action today to call on our lawmakers to support refugee resettlement by Monday, September 26.
Thank you for your continued work to welcome refugees.
Rev. Noel Andersen
National Grassroots Coordinator
Church World Service