FIVE Ways You Can Share the Holiday Spirit with Refugees
Download Toolkit Here
While millions of Americans celebrate the holidays with their families and look forward to a new year, thousands of refugees will not be as merry. Due to President Trump’s October 24th executive order banning refugees from 11 countries for three months, indefinitely banning refugees from reuniting with their spouse and children through the “following to join” process, and mandating onerous and unnecessary data requirements, many refugees in the U.S. remain separated from their families and refugees abroad who had already been promised safety remain stranded in dangerous situations.
All of these changes are in addition to the multiple refugee and Muslims bans that the administration has put in place since January 27th to effectively dismantle the refugee resettlement program. Current projections show that if refugees will be admitted at the current pace under these new restrictions, only an estimated 15,000 refugees will enter the United States this year, far lower than the 45,000 refugee cap for 2018, which was already the lowest refugee admissions goal in U.S. history.
We are in the midst of the worst displacement crisis the world has ever seen, with more than 22 million refugees worldwide. The U.S. resettlement program is proven to be the safest in the world, ensuring refugees undergo extensive vetting. Further, the program advances our national security interests and invests in the American ideals of freedom around the world. We must make our voices heard against these systematic attacks against refugees and the accompanying anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant sentiment in which they are based.
During the holidays, you have the power to speak out. No matter where you are from, the value of family togetherness is something all of us can relate to. Here are 5 ways you can take action in solidarity with refugees this holiday season:
1. Meet with your Members of Congress when they’re in their state and district offices from November 17th to November 27th, December 15th to January 3rd, and January 22nd to January 28th. Request to meet with them or their staff. Let them know your opposition to the latest refugee ban and urge them to support refugee resettlement. Click here for a toolkit on setting up a meeting with your Members of Congress and building an advocacy team.
2. Click actnow.io/ZUYLi6E to receive a call and be patched through to your one Representative and two Senators. Or call 1-866-961-4293 three times and use this script to express that as a constituent, you oppose the latest refugee ban and to share how it impacts your community.
3. Make your voice heard with friends and family, and on social media. It's the holidays! If you're passionate about refugee and immigrant rights, click here to download the “Surviving the Holidays: How to talk to family about refugees & immigrants” guide. You can also Tweet and post on Facebook, tagging your Members of Congress and asking them to support refugee resettlement. You can upload a short video of your family talking about the parallels of Thanksgiving and the refugee crisis today. Link to graphics and informational materials at GreaterAs1.org and use these hashtags: #RefugeesWelcome #NoMuslimBanEver #GreaterAs1 and ask your friends to post too.
Sample tweets and Facebook posts:
.@memberofcongress: Happy holidays! Please share the holiday spirit with those who most need it. Support refugee resettlement and oppose the latest refugee ban. #RefugeesWelcome #NoMuslimBanEver #GreaterAs1
.@memberofcongress: Happy Thanksgiving! Refugees give thanks every day for a country that has allowed them to live a better life. Please support refugee resettlement and oppose the latest refugee ban. #RefugeesWelcome #NoMuslimBanEver #GreaterAs1
Use the same message for Facebook, tagging your Members of Congress.
4. Write Opinion Editorials and Letters to the Editor stating your support for refugees and your opposition to the ongoing refugee bans. Click here to view sample letters you can send and here for more resources.
5. Hold a public event like this #WhereRtheRefugees Interfaith Vigil in Texas to lift up impacted refugee community members and push back on the latest refugee ban. Invite refugees, refugee service providers, faith leaders, veterans, and local elected officials to speak during the event. Even small events, multiplied across the country, will send a powerful message to the Trump administration and Congress that welcoming immigrants and refugees, and standing alongside Muslim community members are part of our values as a country. Find resources on how to host an interfaith vigil at bit.ly/InterfaithVigilToolkit. Or host a multi-cultural dinner in your community and invite refugees to share their stories. Sitting down together to share a meal is a timeless tradition that unites across all cultures and religions. This is a great way to show hospitality and to urge policy makers to support refugee resettlement. Many civic groups and congregations have hosted dinners that double as a fundraising event to collect donations and funds to help refugees rebuild their lives in the United States. Check out the Refugees Welcome toolkit will help you prepare a dinner that will build relationships and understanding around refugee resettlement. Click here for resources on engaging local media outlets. Also, it’s not too early to start planning an event on January 27, 2018, which will mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the first refugee and Muslim ban. Click here to join the Washington, DC mobilization, or organize a local event near you!
You can also take action by organizing or joining LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL VISITS TO SUPPORT REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT!
Click HERE to learn more!
- RCUSA refugee 101 backgrounder
- RCUSA background on the security screening process
- Refugee Resettlement State Profiles
- Letters and articles, national and state-by-state, demonstrating welcome for refugees
- Letter from former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security
- Letter to Congress from 20 Former National Security Officials
- Former U.S. Officials Sign Letter to President Trump Rejecting Revised Refugee Ban Executive Order
- Letter signed by more than 5,000 faith leaders affirming welcome for refugees
- 4,000 Catholic priests, religious brothers and sisters, and deacons continue broad support for refugee resettlement program
- Top evangelical leaders from all 50 states call on President Trump and Vice President Pence to support refugees
- Over 1,900 Rabbis support welcoming refugees
- 80 CEOs and business leaders across 12 industries call on President Trump to uphold refugee and immigration policies that affirm the equal opportunity of the American Dream
- 1,000 health care professionals sign letter to President Trump affirming support for refugees and resettlement
- Quotes from faith leaders in opposition to refugee executive order
- Stories of refugees impacted, including responses to the announcement from Syrian, Iraqi, Cambodian, and Bhutanese refugees.
Share This Message with Your State and Local Officials
Your state and local leaders need to hear the same message too. Tell them that your community opposed this announcement and welcomes refugees. To find your governor, state legislators, mayor, and local officials, click here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. To tweet your state and local officials, click to find the twitter handles for your governor and state legislators.