Blessing Not Burden | October 12, 2016
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Dear advocates,

We are witnessing the greatest displacement of people in recent history—over 65 million. Refugees entering the United States are fleeing persecution and great violence, not perpetuating it. Every refugee who enters the United States has gone through an extensive, up-to-two-year screening process through the United Nations and the United States government. This is the most vetted group of people that enters the country.

We know that terrorism does not discriminate—Christians, Muslims, and other religious minorities are all victims of ISIS. As Christians, we are called to advocate for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger who comes to live among us. The situation in Syria is not improving—we’ve all heard of the devastation of Aleppo, especially the impact the violence has had on children. We have an opportunity to use our Christian identity of welcoming the stranger and advocating for the most vulnerable by urging Congress to increase funding for refugee resettlement and to honor our commitment of resettling 110,000 refugees, an applauded increase from 85,000 in FY 2016. Together, we can make clear to Congress that Christians all across the US support refugees and welcome them into our communities.


Your voice matters! Congress recently passed a short-term measure that flatlines funding for refugee resettlement until December. In response, we are asking our mayors to demonstrate their support for refugees by signing on to a national letter urging Congress to increase funding for refugee protection and resettlement for the rest of FY 2017.

Congress will revisit the budget for FY 2017 very soon, and it is critical that they receive broad support for increased resources for the Office of Refugee Resettlement during this time. The hope is that your mayor, and many more around the country, will sign on to the letter and empower Congress to increase resources for refugee resettlement. It is critical that the increase in refugee resettlement be met with increased funding to ensure that local communities have the resources they need to help refugees integrate and thrive. The proposed funding cuts in the FY17 funding bills will damage integration efforts and negatively affect communities that welcome refugees. To view the letter and contact your mayor, click below.


Clearing the Air: Even Undocumented Immigrants Are a Blessing

“Since the launch of the Blessing Not Burden campaign, many people have wondered, which kind of immigrant are you talking about? The Blessing Not Burden campaign acknowledges and affirms the contributions of all immigrants, regardless of legal status. Myths surrounding who immigrants are, what they take, and the process through which they come too often inform our attitudes and policy, rather than the facts, relationships, and our faith.” Read more here.


#RefugeesWelcome Story

Pillar Church in Holland, Mich.: "Our church has gotten the chance to know a Sudanese family who has spent 17 years traveling from Sudan to Cairo to Tel Aviv and finally here. They have taught us all so much about the resilience and strength of the human spirit. They have also opened our eyes to how difficult it is to be poor in our community. It has been hard and uncomfortable and wildly fun to learn how to speak with hand gestures or sit in silence together. We are so blessed to know this family."

To check out more stories of CRC congregations throughout Canada and the US receiving the blessings refugees bring, view our Facebook album.


Immigration Series

What would you change about our immigration conversation in the US? There has been much talk about immigrants during this election season—but not much listening to immigrants themselves. During this Do Justice series, we'll be hearing four immigrants respond to this question: How do you think the immigration conversation in the USA needs to change?

Check out our first piece from Sarahi Bravo from Sunnyside, Wash. To have each blog in this series sent to your inbox, subscribe here.


Haitians in the US

In late September, the Obama administration made a statement that deportations of undocumented Haitians in the US will fully resume. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the administration suspended deportations of Haitians on account that Haiti was too unstable to send people back to. However, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, this morning DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the US has put a temporary hold on the recent policy but will reinstate it when the humanitarian crisis is under control. With cholera still a serious problem, the devastation of the recent Hurricane Matthew, and many claims that Haiti has not recovered from the earthquake, the Office of Social Justice recently signed a letter to the Department of Homeland Security urging them to rescind this policy until conditions in Haiti truly improve. Read more here.