Fear and Ignorance Around Refugees

If you keep silent, you lose your right to exist.” –Ziauddin Yousafzai

My mind has been racing a lot lately. With all of the crazy going on in the world I often worry. I’m passionate about working with refugees. These are people who have fled horrible situations, some who have endured unspeakable things, and are grateful to have a safe place here in our country.

I worry because of all the hateful rhetoric out there surrounding these innocent people. In the past few weeks, I have a volunteered at a number of events to help the refugee community here in Colorado. It makes me ill that at every one of these events, before I exit my car, I really consider the possibility that some maniac could come in and murder every single person at the event because they believe refugees= terrorists. I fear for them and I fear for myself. This work is deeply important to me and so I continue to do it. I want to take a minute and give some fact about refugees:

  • Last year (FY15) the United States received 69,933 refugees (www.state.gov).
  • As of May 31, 2016 , the United States of America has received 41,424 refugees (FY15). The biggest four groups being from Burma, Iraq, Somolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (www,wrapsnet.org).
  • The United States resettles more refugees than any other country in the world.
  • During the current Syrian crisis, the average vetting time for a Syrian refugee to be accepted into a country is 18-24 months, this means they are waiting in refugee camps until their application is accepted. (www.migrationpolicy.org)

This is the infographic from the whitehouse.gov website about the screening process to be accepted by the United States:

wh_blog_refugee_workflow_1125.jpg

Now seeing these facts, is it realistic for a terrorist to spend years in a refugee camp just to get into the United States? Absolutely not. So where does the hate speech and the fear come from? Ignorance and the unwillingness to learn are my best guesses. I highly recommend for everyone to seek out the refugee resettlement groups in your communities and ask questions. Get past the fear and get educated on the issue before fear destroys you as a human being.

The families I have personally met and spoken with all have the same message. They are here to help their children have a safer more prosperous life. The children who I have spoken to are incredibly excited to be going to a school in the United States, more importantly they want to get an education to try to make the world a safer better place. Yes, multiple children from multiple countries have told me this.

In a few weeks, Refugee Outreach Clothing Kids will be distributing brand new outfits. We are estimating over 400 children in the Denver Metro Area. If you are in the area and want to volunteer please sign up her are www.refugeeoutreachclothingkids.com. If you are not in the area but would like to read more about the organization and possibly donate money, please check out the website above.

 

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