We Are Welcomers
This time last year, I was attending the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) Summit for Refugees and Migrants where the pivotal New York Declaration was signed. United Nations member states committed to do more to solve the global refugee crisis.
In one of the breakout sessions during the Summit, I found a seat near the back of the room and quickly tapped out a tweet. Still glancing at my phone, I heard the proceedings begin, with a male voice speaking French commencing the meeting. I glanced up to see that, just 30 feet in front of me, was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, co-chairing the session with Queen Rania of Jordan. Needless to say, I was star-struck.
The UNGA this week is again in session, with leaders of the member nations gathering at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Leaders like Queen Rania are calling us, and the wealthy nations of the world, to task. Countries like Jordan are doing far more than their fair share in helping to solve the global refugee crisis, and furthermore, are buckling under the strain.
Meanwhile, here at home in America, we at one and the same time have virulent anti-refugee voices in positions of national leadership while we also have a robust, strong, committed, and growing movement to welcome refugees in communities across the country. We in resettlement had been working, preparing, and gearing up to welcome 110,000 refugees this fiscal year alone. We were ready. We can do it. Whole communities have organized to save lives and welcome refugees. Yet, as the administration debates lowering the refugee admissions ceiling for fiscal year 2018 to the lowest levels in history, the work of refugee resettlement and protection teeters on the edge. But the welcoming movement won't be quieted. We may be down, but we are not out.
We are welcomers, and we stand with nations of the world like Jordan, and leaders like Queen Rania, who are speaking with a moral clarity and conviction that is desperately needed. We are listening.
We won't stop the work, we won't stop welcoming. We'll continue fighting for an American tomorrow that respects the dignity of every human being, and honors the worth, value, and contributions of all our citizens and residents - immigrants, refugees, and the native-born. America is stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it.
Learn more about how you can support refugees here.
Allison Duvall is a member of Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky, where she is also the Vice President of the Executive Council of the Diocese of Lexington. She serves as the Manager for Church Relations & Engagement for Episcopal Migration Ministries.