By Sheetal Dhir, Senior Crisis Campaigner Amnesty International USA
1. The refugee ban lives.
Although the Trump administration’s ban on refugees has expired, it’s been replaced by a set of restrictions that will effectively dismantle the refugee admissions program.
Don’t be fooled, this is still a ban that is based on cruelty and hate. You can help challenge the vilification of refugees by holding a film screening on the refugee crisis with 8 Borders 8 Days. Use this facilitation guide. People need to understand the crisis facing the world’s refugees. It will take all of us to spread this message: #IWelcome Refugees.
2. It will leave thousands stranded in dangerous situations
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) considers just over 5 percent of the world’s refugees to be in need of resettlement. They’re among the world’s most vulnerable people — those who’ve fled danger, but cannot remain in neighboring countries or refugee camps because of their unique situations. This include torture survivors, people with severe medical conditions, LGBTI individuals, children alone, and women and children at risk — all of whom who cannot return home and cannot stay in their host country due to their extreme vulnerability.
These are the people who will be put back in limbo. For the next 90 days, refugees from 11 countries will be banned from coming while the government reviews the security vetting process yet again. This comes after the 120-day ban of the refugee program. Most of the countries are Muslim-majority; and yet many of the people harmed are religious minorities, such as Christians and Yezidis.
Remind your Senators that this is not okay and you don’t support this move by the U.S. government by signing your name here.
3. Including kids who’ve lost their parents
The Trump administration is indefinitely suspending the process by which families fleeing violence can reunify in the US. Ordinarily, refugees who’ve resettled in the US can file “follow to join” visas for family members still abroad. Every year, there are about 2,500 of these applications.
You have the power to speak out. Whether you’re a mother, daughter, father, or son, separating families is something you can relate to. Tell your member of Congress how you relate to the refugee ban in a personalized letter; share it with us, so we can feature it.
3. And it won’t make us safer
Refugees entering the U.S. already undergo the strictest security vetting screening of anyone coming to the United States, with the Department of Defense, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and National Counterterrorism Center all involved, and including in-person interviews with the Department of Homeland Security.
Many of us welcome refugees as neighbors, teachers, friends, and business owners. They are an integral part of this country and have been for generations. To share the facts about who refugees are and how businesses thrive thanks to refugees, we recommend ramping up awareness through tabling and events. To request swag for use at events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Refugees can’t win
Refugees who’ve already completed all of their security screenings will have to go through those same checks again. During the time that it takes to do their new security checks, their other security checks will expire. It’s like a medieval gauntlet that makes it impossible to survive. We expect very few refugees to make it to the US in the coming months.
This ban turns our back on the U.S. tradition of welcoming refugees. It’s a betrayal of this country’s values and history of welcoming refugees.
If someone in your life is uninformed on these issues, inform them! It’s worth it!
For thoughts on how to navigate tough conversations with your personal circles, and your community, download our guide.