Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

-Proverbs 31:8

NEW - Urgent Advocacy Needs - Spring 2020

BIPARTISAN WORLD REFUGEE DAY RESOLUTION

Advocacy, lending our voice for the voiceless, is one tangible and vital response. If the Church and Community do not speak up for refugees and immigrants and let our Government know we are prepared and ready to welcome them and walk with them into stability and integration, what opportunity might we miss? Here’s what you can do.

 

BIPARTISAN WORLD REFUGEE DAY RESOLUTION

There is a bipartisan resolution introduced in the House  led by Rep. Sylvia Garcia and Rep. John Curtis, bi-partisan House co-sponsors of  the resolution celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the US Resettlement Program. You may read it HERE.  

Secondly, the fourth Congressional COVID19 stimulus package, or COVID4, is being considered in Congress right now. The House passed its version last week and the Senate is now considering its version.

 

Please reach out to your Senate contacts to reiterate our policy points below as they draft legislation. Here is a draft email you can copy and paste. Contact information is below the email.

 

EMAIL TO ASK FOR REFUGEE SUPPORT IN COVID4 PACKAGE

SUBJECT: Critical Refugee Protections Needed in COVID-19 Legislation

Hi {{recipient_first_name}} - thank you for your important work during these trying times.

As Congress considers another package, I am emailing to ask your boss to push for the inclusion of refugee related protections that are critically needed in any future COVID-19 related legislation. There remain unique challenges that refugees face, particularly as many were left out of previous packages. 

Refugees are significantly impacted by COVID-19. Many refugees are essential workers and on the frontlines of pandemic response, including in the healthcare field, as truck drivers critical to the supply chain, and as grocery store employees. These stories are illustrative of our clients and their families’ needs and ways in which we have united to extend compassion. Many more refugees and other vulnerable populations are facing dire and immediate challenges during this unprecedented public health crisis. Many of these families will fall through the cracks without meaningful congressional intervention, as the public health crisis endures.

It is imperative that Congress supports provisions that would:

1.     Provide $642 million for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) through the Refugee and Entrant Assistance account to ensure vulnerable populations like refugees don’t fall through the cracks and can receive housing, food, and the care they need.

2.     Ensure 2019 and 2020 refugee arrivals receive the stimulus cash payments.

3.     Automatically extend security check and immigrant visa validity periods and processing deadlines so that refugees and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients are not harmed by COVID-19 disruptions to applications, renewal, and processing. (Please note that immigrant visa and SIV validity period extensions are included in the Heroes Act, H.R. 6800.)

4.     Waive (or at minimum permit remote) USCIS interviews for refugees applying for greencards – and direct USCIS to re-use biometric information to prevent further delays.

5.     Resume refugee admissions expeditiously consistent with general travel restrictions from refugees’ countries of residence and continue processing vulnerable refugees with acute protection needs.

6.     Pressure the administration to re-allocate refugee admissions to ensure the U.S. meets the FY2020 record-low admissions goal of 18,000.

7.     Ensure the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) increases reception and placement direct assistance by $1,000 per capita to strengthen direct support for recent and new arrivals, including and beyond their first 90 days of arrival, and support domestic resettlement infrastructure.

 Additional information about our refugee requests are linked hereMore than 1,000 faith leaders and faith groupsthe Interfaith Immigration Coalition150+ resettlement and humanitarian organizations, and coalition partners support these requests. 

 Please let me know if you have any questions - and thank you for your work.

 Warmly,

{{your name}}

 

Contact congressional representatives with this message at (202) 224-3121 and you will be directed. OR you can contact direct:

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn Email Form HERE or call at (202) 224-3344 @marshablackburn

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander Email Form HERE or call at (202) 224-4944 or (901) 544-4224 @senalexander

  • U.S. House District 8 Representative David Kustoff at (202) 225-4714 @repdavidkustoff

  • U.S. House District 9 Representative Steven Cohen at (202) 225-3265 @repcohen


What is advocacy? Advocacy is using your voice, rights, and privileges to speak out against issues of poverty and injustice. This is done by influencing those in positions of power to promote changes to the policies and structures that are harming the most vulnerable and by ensuring that beneficial policies are maintained. This is also done by raising awareness within our personal circles of influence that leads to agreement and action on behalf of the most vulnerable.

Why advocate? In a world where good intentions often fail to translate into real action, advocacy is an accessible and effective way to stand for the vulnerable. If you have the privilege to vote or the ability to write in English to a legislator, you wield power that many refugees and immigrants lack. Using this power to speak up for the powerless helps to build a just society where all people have an equal chance to thrive.

Who does World Relief Memphis advocate for? In line with our mission to stand for the vulnerable, we focus our advocacy efforts on refugees and immigrants in the Memphis Area. While the struggles of these populations are similar to those of many Americans, refugees and immigrants face additional challenges of language, culture and policies that make them especially vulnerable.  

The Great Advocate: We at World Relief Memphis regard Jesus as humanity’s great advocate. He lived and died on our behalf. He empowered the poor, challenged unjust structures, and pleaded to God for our forgiveness. Over and over again, he intervened for disadvantaged people to bring redemption, renewal, and hope. Jesus calls us to follow his example by pleading the cause of mercy and justice in our communities, workplaces, and countries; and by advocating on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. This call to advocacy resonates throughout the Bible and compels us to act. 


Take Action to Stop the Separation of Immigrant Families

Since April 2018, news reports have highlighted a deeply troubling new U.S. “zero tolerance” policy that separates children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Families, many of whom are fleeing violence in Central America and seeking the asylum protections offered to them under U.S. law, are being divided as parents are charged criminally and children, labeled as “unaccompanied,” are transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. This harsh policy, designed to deter families from seeking safety in the U.S., is already having long-term traumatic impacts on vulnerable children.

In response, World Relief, The Justice Conference and We Welcome Refugees have created an advocacy campaign, as well as a host of resources, to help others understand the crisis better and speak out about it. 

WHAT'S AVAILABLE NOW: 

Advocate by Volunteering

Put words into action by volunteering with World Relief alongside refugees and immigrants in Memphis! Learn more about current volunteer opportunities HERE.

 

Pray4Reform

As part of our efforts within the Evangelical Immigration Table, World Relief helped launch a campaign called Pray4Reform which challenges Christians around the country to pray for our legislators as they consider changes to immigration policy. Watch this video to hear why Evangelical Christians in Memphis encourage Congress to support Immigration Reform.

After watching the video, here are two specific ways to participate:

1) Sign up for prayer requests at www.pray4reform.org and encourage others to do the same.

2) Share this video on social media with the hashtag #pray4reform.