5 ways to support refugees on World Refugee Day

By Oxfam
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Kibwile, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, makes stoves, tubs, and buckets for refugees arriving in the Kenani Transit Centre in Zambia. He received training and materials from Oxfam and its partner Action Africa Help to make and sell them, generating income. “This work has given us meaning,” he says. Photo: Alexis Huguet/Oxfam

Make a difference today with Oxfam in the life of a refugee.

Did you know that every single day families around the world are forced to leave their homes in search of safety and a better life?

Fleeing conflict and violence, poverty and persecution, many escape with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. Crossing borders and oceans, they set their sights on Lady Liberty and put their hopes and dreams in the US, a country founded by immigrants and enriched by those who have arrived on its shores.

But that tradition and opportunity is under attack. The Trump administration has enacted racist, heartless, and anti-American policies that have turned our nation’s back on these families. The legal right to seek asylum—enshrined in the Refugee Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as US law—is under assault. The bigotry and hatred that many of our politicians have spread betray our American values.

We need your help today because we refuse to turn our backs on refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers.

Here are five ways you can make a difference in the life of a refugee this World Refugee Day.

1.Tell Congress to welcome more refugees to the US

Refugees attempting to cross the border between Macedonia and Serbia. Photo: Pablo Tosco / Oxfam

Over the past two years, the Trump administration's repeated attempts to limit the scope of the US refugee resettlement program have undercut its noble purpose. Last year, less than 23,000 refugees were resettled inside the US.

With the number of displaced people across the globe at an all-time high—more than 70 million, twice as many people as 20 years ago—there has never been a more important moment for the US to reestablish itself as a world leader in humanitarian protection.

You can tell Congress to reverse this trend by passing the Guaranteeing Refugee Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act. Introduced in April by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), the GRACE Act pushes the US to admit larger numbers of resettled refugees as well as make a commitment to increased refugee resettlement for the long-term. The bill would return the minimum number of refugees resettled annually to the historic average of 95,000 in the coming fiscal year.

2.Show your support for refugees on social media

Yasmin is a Syrian refugee. She has lived in Iraq for six years and owns a bakery thanks in part to a savings and small business initiative to build the resilience of conflict-affected communities. Photo: Noor Tahir/Oxfam

At a time of unprecedented global displacement, there is a lot of misinformation online about refugees and their families. And it doesn’t help when the current administration fosters a climate that is hostile to refugees, immigrants, Muslims, and other vulnerable groups.

That’s why we’ve taken time to put together a toolkit to help you share your voice in support of refugees around the world. The toolkit includes definitions, key facts about refugees, sample social media posts, and colorful graphics.

It’s never been easier to stand up and show your solidarity for refugees on your social media platforms. Follow us and if you tag us, we will amplify your message through a like, retweet, or repost.

3.Tell Congress to champion lifesaving programs that support refugees in crisis

Rohingya refugee Ayesha Khatun collects water for her family in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. She is responsible for her two daughters after her husband and son were killed in Myanmar. Oxfam is providing vital aid, including clean water to help prevent outbreaks of disease, as well as food vouchers that can be exchanged for fresh ingredients at local markets. Photo: Maruf Hasan/Oxfam

Vital funding is necessary to support refugees and provide lifesaving assistance for the world’s most vulnerable people. Of the more than 70 million people who have been forcibly displaced, more than 25 million are refugees with protected status under international law.

For decades, the US government has made a commitment to fund a collection of programs to meet its obligations to uphold human rights. Presidents from both parties have long recognized that at just one penny of every federal budget dollar, these programs yield great returns in terms of global progress, security, and stability.

Oxfam urges Congress to allocate at least $56.4 billion for this fiscal year’s State Department and Foreign Operations budget to ensure ongoing US leadership in responding to humanitarian crises, protecting the world’s most vulnerable, and fighting poverty.

4.Oppose the nomination of Ronald Mortensen

The headquarters of the State Department in Washington, DC. Photo: AP

The re-nomination of Ronald Mortensen to lead the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees (PRM) is an attempt to undermine America’s spirit of compassion for people fleeing harm’s way.

PRM is one of the most important bureaus in the department, and its assistant secretary in many ways functions as America’s top humanitarian diplomat. Mortensen works at the Center for Immigration Studies, which has been designated as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-immigrant views and “repeated circulation of white nationalist and anti-Semitic writers.”

We need someone who epitomizes America’s spirit of partnership. Simply put, Mortensen does not. If Mortensen is confirmed by the Senate, the impact could be devastating for countless more families seeking safe haven.

5.Dismantle President Trump’s Muslim ban

A rally against the Muslim ban. Photo: Oxfam

More than two years ago, President Trump’s Muslim Ban went into effect. It was wrong then to bar people from majority-Muslim countries from coming to the US, and it’s wrong now.

According to the State Department, there were almost 50,000 applications for immigrant and non-immigrant visas from people from those countries affected by the ban between December 8, 2017, and October 31, 2018. Only 2,216—less than 6 percent—met the government’s criteria for a waiver.

Oxfam supports the NO BAN Act to dismantle the Muslim Ban—once and for all. The legislation repeals all three versions of President Trump’s ban; strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion; and limits overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans. It has the support of more than 90 members of Congress; almost 400 diverse civil rights, faith, national security and community organizations; private companies; and more than 50 immigration law professors.

Now is not the time to close our hearts, minds, and borders to the most vulnerable among us. Welcoming those in need of refuge is a fundamental part of our national story. Turning our back on the oppressed means forsaking our core values and what it means to be American.

Stand with refugees today by signing this petition to make a difference in the lives of refugees around the world.

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