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Welcome the Stranger
June 12, 2009

Welcome the Stranger
On World Refugee Day, Become an Advocate for Refugees

"I was hungry and you gave me food, 
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, 
I was a stranger and you welcomed me."
Matthew, 25:35

On June 20 – World Refugee Day – Americans join with others around the world in remembering the needs of displaced people, noting their challenges, recognizing their struggles and triumphs, and celebrating the contribution that refugees continue to make to their adoptive homelands. 

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is committed to give help, hope, ear and voice to these vulnerable and often forgotten people by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international response to refugee situations. We believe that JRS/USA can be an effective sign of God’s love and reconciliation, particularly in times of despair and isolation. And we believe you can help.

While refugees and forced migrants too often continue to be greeted with suspicion and fear in many countries, including, at times, in the United States, as Americans we can be proud of our long national tradition of welcoming the stranger, which continues to be manifested today in a vigorous U.S. refugee program. This year alone, the U.S. Department of State will provide well over a billion dollars in aid to help the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and host governments to shoulder the responsibility of assisting refugees fleeing violence and persecution, and to welcome tens of thousands of refugees seeking resettlement to new life opportunities in the United States. 

At this time of economic downturn, however, the continuation of this generous response is by no means certain. Congress and the Obama administration need to be reminded that Americans are committed, even in these hard times, to continuing to extend a helping hand to people fleeing oppression in hope of finding freedom and opportunity. You can help to keep the light of freedom burning by taking action now.

How you can help

Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and give the operator your zip code to be connected to the offices of your Senators and Representatives. Ask for the person who deals with refugee issues. 

Tell them that overseas assistance to refugees and resettlement of refugees in the United States is important to you and to your community. Urge your representative to join the Refugee Caucus to support initiatives assisting refugees. Ask them to work for generous funding for next year's refugee programs, and for comprehensive immigration reform that will treat asylum seekers and migrant workers with the fairness and dignity they deserve. 

Your calls will send an important and life saving message that Americans continue to stand up for displaced people struggling to obtain the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we hold dear. 

Thank you for your participation!

Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
202-462-0400 ext. 5946