|A little girl looks on as the rest of her family sleep on the ground on Lesbos, Greece, 14 September 2015. (Cécile Deleplanque / Jesuit Refugee Service Greece)|
|By demonstrating national leadership at this time, the United States "would both encourage European nations to live up to their refugee protection obligations, and help to prevent further deterioration in the protection climate in the countries bordering on Syria that are currently hosting millions of Syrian refugees.”|
JRS/USA, along with other members of Refugee Council USA — a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations focused on refugee protection — and organizations in 28 states co-signed the letter.
The organizations urge the U.S. to increase the number of refugees resettled here to 200,000 in the next fiscal year, with 100,000 of them being Syrian. “This would not be the first time that the United States proudly carries out our historic tradition of welcoming refugees in large numbers. After the end of the wars in Southeast Asia, the United States resettled 111,000 Vietnamese refugees in 1979 and then essentially doubled that number to 207,000 in 1980.”
The organizations note that by demonstrating national leadership at this time, the United States “would both encourage European nations to live up to their refugee protection obligations, and help to prevent further deterioration in the protection climate in the countries bordering on Syria that are currently hosting millions of Syrian refugees.”
The U.S. has provided $4 billion in funding to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis, and JRS/USA and the other organizations “commend this tremendous generosity, but given that only 37% of the U.N’s funding appeal in response to the crisis has been funded, we encourage the United States to continue to urge other countries to increase their funding of the humanitarian response while at the same time continuing to increase the amount that the United States gives.”
Please click here to view the full text of the letter in PDF.
Write the President and your Congressional representatives to urge them to take action.
Jesuit Refugee Service is working within Syria, in neighboring countries, along transit routes and within Europe to provide safe spaces for refugees and assist them with food and water, clothing, bedding and medicine, and counseling and education programs.
Examples of JRS programs to aid refugees within Europe include:
• The Welcome program in Paris matches an asylum seeker to a family or religious community willing to host them for up to a month. Other JRS offices in Europe plan to model programs after France.
• the JRS safe house in Macedonia house for refugee families.
• in Malta JRS provides counseling services and legal aid for asylum seekers and refugees.
• JRS continues to run language and vocational training courses from Portugal to Romania in order to help refugees integrate.
• In London, JRS has been involved in a project that helps women asylum seekers learn to ride a bike. Seemingly a simple skill, it not only boosts confidence but facilitates freedom of movement.
• In Italy, JRS helps more than 30,000 refugees each year, cooking hot meals daily, offering medical and legal aid, helping children with school supplies, providing language classes, and more.
• In Romania, JRS provides legal aid, housing, language classes and more to refugees including Syrians.
• In Germany, for those threatened with deportation, JRS offers specialized legal aid.
• In Portugal, JRS offers training to resettled refugees in skills like care for the elderly so they can get jobs. JRS Portugal is a member of a movement providing answers about legal issues and other support, so that local groups who offer to help refugees can effectively welcome them.
JRS continues European wide advocacy for humanitarian visas and expedited processing of visas.
Please click here to make a secure online donation to support Jesuit Refugee Service efforts on behalf of Syrian refugees.