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March 9, 2017 
NEW REFUGEES/TRAVEL BAN--
& Active Faith Responses We Can Make!!
 
"The reduction of refugee resettlement numbers by more than half and restrictions for arrivals from war-torn nations at a time when there are more refugees than ever since World War II, does not reflect our best faith values of compassion and hospitality.  Our resettlement vetting program is rigorous, and keeps us secure and welcoming."  Dr. Sharon Watkins
On March 6, President Trump signed a new Executive Order  that announced a refugee and travel  ban to replace the one originally issued January 27th, which is currently held up in the courts.  
 
What does the new ban say and do?
The new travel ban imposes a 90 day suspension of entry to the U.S. of nationals from the six primarily Muslim nations of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Iraqi citizens and persons with Legal Permanent Residence status are not affected by the new order.  
 
The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and lowers the number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. this fiscal year to 50,000--even though there are more refugees in the world now than since World War II, and Congress previously allocated funds to resettle 75,000 refugees this year. Fifty thousand represents the smallest number of refugees ever allowed to be resettled in the U.S. since the beginning of the nation's refugee resettlement program. Since the fiscal year began October 1, 2016, already 38,000 of these refugees have been admitted. 

The indefinite ban on Syrian refugees (that was in the initial refugee ban) has been eliminated, as has the language which expressed preference for minority religious groups seeking protection.
 
During the 120 day resettlement suspension under the ban, the order proposes to review refugee screening procedures--even though the current refugee screening process is already the world's safest and most rigorous, takes up to two years, and includes 8 federal government agencies, 6 security databases, 5 separate background checks, 4 biometric security checks, 3 separate in-person interviews, and 2 inter-agency security checks. 
 
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, expressed deep concern this week that the decision "may compound the anguish for those it affects," leaving refugees stranded in life threatening conditions. The stated "pause" in refugee resettlement has also already crippled refugee resettlement programs, including our Disciples' resettlement partner Church World Service, which estimates a loss of at least $30 million for refugee resettlement for their organization this year.    
 
In response, there are many ways we can show compassion for the world's vulnerable refugees!:
 
1.   CALL YOUR SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES at  (202) 224-3121*  today and tell them you support the refugee resettlement program and oppose President Trump's executive orders against refugees.   *Call 3 times to connect with your 1 Representative & 2 Senators
 
Sample Script:  "I'm your constituent from [City, State], and I support refugee resettlement. I strongly oppose the President's executive orders against refugees - both the original January version and the rewritten version released on March 6th. The order will bar individuals from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; grind refugee resettlement from all countries to a halt; and reduce the number of refugees we welcome to 50,000, a historic low. This does not reflect the welcome for refugees I see in my community, and I urge you to do everything in your power to see this executive order rescinded."

See our full new RIM Alert posted at the end of this newsletter, and also available at: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/missions-advocacy/refugee-immigration-ministries/ 
  
2.   JOIN THE INTERFAITH IMMIGRATION COALITION'S WEBINAR on Monday, March 13, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, about "Faith Allies in Rapid Response" to learn concrete ways your faith community can respond to protect immigrants and refugees.  Register for the webinar here:  https://goo.gl/forms/0Ene40gYWRV608h22    To join the webinar, go to http://join.me/faith4immigration and follow the directions for audio and visual.   For audio only call: +1.202.602.1295 Access Code: 354-977-836#

3.  STUDY THESE DEVOTIONS about immigrant and refugee themes during Lent. Find them at: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LENTEN-Devotions-IIC-Disciples-2017-FINAL.pdf

4. PREPARE AND DISPLAY WELCOME SIGNS for refugees and immigrants to show your messages o
f s upport!   Choose this welcome sign, in Spanish/English/Arabic (originally designed by a Mennonite pastor in Harrisonburg, VA.) to communicate your welcome for refugees and immigrants:  https://immanuelmennonite.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/welcome-sign/  
And,  go here : for sample Refugees Welcome signs, which can be printed or adapted for your desired purposes:  www.discipleshomemissions.org/Refugees-Welcome-Signs-samples.pdf

5.   BUILD UNDERSTANDING AND RELATIONSHIPS OF SOLIDARITY WITH LOCAL MUSLIM COMMUNITIES  feeling fearful in this time.  C onsider studying resources such as these as an individual, family, or congregation:
--"My Neighbor is Muslim: Exploring the Muslim Faith, " a seven-part study guide for communities and congregations to build understanding about Islam, and developed through the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Go to: http://lirs.org/myneighborismuslim/ to download a copy, and/or to order a limited number of hard copies.
--"Christian-Muslim Dialogues," a five part series of panel discussions, links to lectures, articles, and additional resources for answering interfaith questions and building peaceful partnerships. Go here:  https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/christian-muslim-dialogues/  to access and download free materials!
--"The Jesus Fatwah: Love Your (Muslim) Neighbor as Yourself", a DVD and discussion guide from the "Living the Questions" resource series. Download some free materials, and purchase resources for home or group use here:  http://www.livingthequestions.com/xcart/home.php?cat=493

6.   USE YOUR VOICE (and signs!) to HOST A PRAYER VIGIL, WRITE AN OP-ED, OR PLAN ANOTHER EVENT  in your area to lift up the voices and testimonies of immigrants and refugees, to pray for communities and read scripture that calls us to "welcome the stranger," and to share information to educate others about the great benefits of immigrant and refugees in our churches and communities, and about the long term security of the U.S. refugee program. 

Go here: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RIM-2017-Toolkit-Community-Response-to-Trump-Attack-on-Refugee-Program.pdf  for talking points, and a toolkit of sample ways to assist with your efforts to share your voice of welcome for the stranger in your midst.

7.   REACH OUT TO YOUR PARTNERS IN THE BUSINESS, HEALTH, EDUCATOR, LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND FAITH COMMUNITY!    Urge them to sign onto these sector-specific letters supporting resettlement and opposing discrimination.  Go to these links for each letter:   

8.   TWEET THE PRESIDENT to  @realDonaldTrump &  @WhiteHouse --
9.    MESSAGE AND POST THE WHITE HOUSE.  
Go to  whitehouse.gov/contact and comment on a post on the White House Facebook page:  Facebook.com/WhiteHouse   
Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea
Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Disciples Home Missions
Five Thomas Circle, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-4153

(202) 957-7826 (Cell)

Refugee & Immigration Ministries is a ministry of Disciples Home Missions in Partnership with the Christian Church Capital Area and the Disciples Center for Public Witness