Community members are encouraged to contact Whatcom County Council members to show support for the Welcoming Refugees Resolution. Members of Amnesty International Group 270 drafted the resolution and spoke in favor of it at the June 18 council meeting. They are now asking for support to get it on the agenda for the July 9 meeting. The agenda comes out next Wednesday, July 3.
“Every day there are more human rights abuses going on that involve refugees,” says Colleen Curtis of AI Group 270. “A resolution will not solve this, and it won't mean the County Council has to incur any costs or other responsibilities, but it's an important statement of support.”
You can view the draft resolution here.
Similar resolutions have been adopted by cities and schools around the country, including Las Vegas and the State of Vermont House of Representatives.
Curtis says that comments or suggestions on the draft are welcome; you can submit them on this contact form: http://amnestyinternational270.weebly.com/contact.html. “Whether or not it ends up being placed on the agenda, I encourage attending the next County Council meeting to show or speak of your support,” she says.
Please call & urge the Whatcom County Council members to address and pass a resolution welcoming refugees:
Letter sent to Whatcom County Council on June 20, World Refugee Day:
We believe our communities should welcome refugees.
We urge the county council to pass a resolution that would be a non- binding declaration of support of refugees, regardless of their religion, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or country of origin. More than 200 communities have already stood up for refugees and asylum seekers.
The society we want to live in is one where we take care of people who need safety. Strong communities help people realize their potential, and welcome others who also want to contribute makes society better for all.
The United States should be the world’s leader in welcoming refugees, but our government has abandoned that leadership. They have decided to meet the world’s worst refugee crisis in recorded time with historically low levels of support. If our national and local officials don’t hear our voices in support of refugees, this will only get worse.
Right now, 25.4 million refugees worldwide are seeking a home, and more than half of them are children. Less than 1% will be resettled each year. Refugees deserve to be welcomed – not demonized. But in the face of the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, the U.S. is closing its doors. The Trump administration capped annual refugee admissions to another historic low of 30,000 refugees this fiscal year, implemented a series of severe restrictions which act as a de facto refugee ban, restricted access to asylum at the southern border for those fleeing violence and persecution, and proposed drastic cuts to funding for refugee programs and humanitarian aid. ICE is currently detaining more than 52,000 people, an all time high. Families continue to be separated from their children, as people are kept in overcrowded and inhumane detention centers.
Seeking asylum is legal under US law, regardless of where or how people enter. The administration’s efforts to curtail access to protection violates both U.S. and international law. People have the right to seek asylum where they feel safe. Refugees leave their homes because they have no other choice, and should be treated with compassion. All countries, including the United States, should protect dignity and fairness, and reject fear and prejudice.
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