After months of waiting, late last week the annual presidential determination was announced. A new record low of only 18,000 refugees could be invited to be resettled across the entire USA this new fiscal year (beginning Oct 1). Read World Relief's full press release here.
If you are someone who has had the opportunity to build friendships with refugees here in Memphis...
...who has learned more than most Americans if all you've managed to do so far is attend one of our orientations
...who has learned that refugees are people forced to flee in search of survival and peace because of war and well-founded fear of persecution
...who knows that most refugees are stateless and waiting for an average of 17 years
...who knows that none of us chose what nation or time of history or privilege we were born into
...and who knows that our organization's beliefs are so strongly held because we see instruction for welcome and compassion and protection of the vulnerable stranger (foreigner) all throughout the Bible...
then this news should be received with deep sadness and alarm.
But this isn't the only decision that was announced Thursday. In addition, on Thursday the President also signed an Executive Order requiring that, within 90 days, the administration implement a process requiring the written consent of each state and locality in which a refugee may be resettled. By giving a veto to states and municipalities on where refugees are resettled, many refugees who have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. will be unable to be resettled in the same communities as family members already in the U.S. This policy undermines families and is counter-effective toward the goal of promoting economic self-sufficiency. This directly impacts our past and present clients, our friends and neighbors, right here in Memphis.
What are we asking you to do?
Pray. Pray BOLD prayers.
Then take a step of faith, and be willing to share that YOU have personally been changed because of being introduced to refugees and immigrants here in Memphis, in America.
That means letting your Pastor(s) know. Letting your family know. Letting your social media friends know. Letting your coworkers know. And letting our city-county-state-national leaders know.
Proverbs 31:8-9 is just one of many passages throughout the Bible that challenges us to speak up for people who are oppressed and voiceless. Who will you speak up for today?
Visit our Advocacy page to get government contact information and sample scripts.
Show your love-in-action and support locally by attending and inviting others to join us at Unite Memphis, our October 17th social event with live music, fund-a-need, and live & silent auction - all directly impacting our work with refugees and immigrants right here in the Mid-South.
Our mission is to empower the church and her community to serve the most vulnerable. We are the relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, a historic collaboration of churches who chose for us to serve those displaced by war and persecution globally and in the US - refugees and immigrants.
We hope you feel empowered today. Let's demonstrate love in action. We would love to hear back from you and pray with and for you if you choose to act.
- Karen Spencer, Mobilization Director firstname.lastname@example.org