Advocating For Refugees
Advocating for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program and refugees worldwide is vital to effectively respond to the greatest refugee crisis in human history. Resettlement agencies and affiliates are being forced to close offices with budgets slashings, bans and budget cuts effectively reducing the number of refugees to the lowest admission numbers in history. Once the global leader setting examples for the rest of the world, today the U.S. is a poor example of how to respond to the global humanitarian crisis. When leaders fail to lead, the impact is far-reaching and long-lasting.
Join us as we let our legislators at federal, state and local levels know that you are a humanitarian and American who believes in welcoming refugees.
In June 2018, HHR/WRI launched an Advocacy campaign, beginning with the United Nations-sponsored World Refugee Day (6.20.18) and continuing beyond Welcoming Week 2018 (September 14-23). This year we started even earlier, participating in Advocacy Days in Washington DC in April, continuing on with participation in Westchester County Heritage Festivals, and repeating our efforts around both World Refugee Day and Welcoming Week.
If you or your group are interested in letting your voice be heard, we can help.
How to Advocate for Refugees
Ask your Member of Congress and all elected officials to stand up for refugees!
Refugee Council USA, the coalition of national refugee agencies offers an Advocacy Toolkit centered on World Refugee Day 2019 which provides information for doing local congressional visits, inviting elected officials to your World Refugee Day events, and ways to build champions for refugee protection & resettlement.
HHR Toolkit for Postcard Campaign
HHR has a Postcard Toolkit that includes:
- Instructions (how-to)
- Names and addresses (where to send)
- Sample petition
- Fact sheet (refugees/asylees/SIVs)
- Congressional representatives & maps
- Postcard designs (if you want to order your own)
- Postcard messages (what to write)
If you are based in Westchester County and organize a postcarding event, we will provide pre-labeled postcards. For friends beyond Westchester County, the HHR Toolkit includes designs and instructions for ordering your own postcards - although any postcard will do! Please print out our short informational sheets with sample messages. Personalized messages are fine too! Remember, the postcards should be:
- Respectful (no matter how you feel about the policy!)
- Handwritten (most powerful!)
- With name and address (at a minimum, writers should include their name and zip code)
- Collected, counted, stamped and mailed by you, the event organizer. (Don't rely on participants to get these in the mail! Please let us know the final count. Send us an event report to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Print out multiple copies of the petition to bring to any event and ask for signers. Citizens are encouraged to sign the petition AS WELL AS write postcard messages.
Please return the signed petitions along with postcards to Hearts and Homes for Refugees, PO Box 8558, Pelham, NY 10803.
Ideas for generating postcard advocacy:
- Organize and host one big event to collect many signatures at once.
- Invite six to ten friends to coffee or dinner and ask them to sign postcards.
Advocate for Special Immigrant Visa program*
Iraqi and Afghan translators risk their lives and the lives of their families to assist and save the lives of our troops in battle. As a result, many have been living in hiding and in fear for years while they await their visas. Many have died as a result of not being protected as promised. As of Spring 2017, there were approximately 60,000 Iraqi and 15,000 Afghan interpreters who had applied to resettle in the US, but only 1,437 visas were granted under the SIV Program and USRAP. Most recently, 4,000 more applications were promised. Yet, that it is not enough. Thousands more SIVs and their families wait in hiding and fear.
In addition to sending postcard messages expressing support for SIV cases, if you or your community is interested in learning about more ways to advocate for SIV's, please contact No One Left Behind and Veterans for American Ideals.