Yesterday, President Trump signed a new executive order, once again banning all refugee arrivals—regardless of background or country of origin—for 120 days and reducing the total number of refugee arrivals from 110,000 to 50,000.
Currently, there are 40 refugees in 7 families who have been approved to come to Northwest Arkansas and are waiting for their travel to be booked. The majority of those individuals come from Africa and Central America. Many of them have been waiting for over a decade to be resettled. Now, because of this ban, they will have to wait months more—and some of them will not be permitted to come until next year because of the drastically-reduced cap on admissions.
We are heartbroken for these families who must now remain in unsafe, hopeless circumstances for months as a result of this decision. While we desire for our country to be safe, decades of refugee resettlement have empirically proven that refugees do not pose a threat to our national security. As a result, we simply do not understand the motivation for halting the arrival of those desperately fleeing persecution.
With the help of our community, Canopy has resettled 24 refugees to date. All the children are enrolled in school—many of them for the first time in their lives. All the adults are enrolled in English and job training classes, and 5 of them have already begun working. All refugee families have been matched with dedicated co-sponsor teams who have already begun developing strong friendships with them and have begun introducing them to all that Northwest Arkansas has to offer.
Although our first families have only been here 3 months, Northwest Arkansas is already home to them. They have Arkansas State IDs, Arvest bank accounts and jobs in our local workforce.
They are Arkansans.
They get to be Arkansans because of our collective work—and because our elected officials allowed them the opportunity to come.
This Executive Order is heartbreaking to us, and is devastating for the refugee families we work with.
These are real people who are experiencing real suffering. Real suffering that needs to end.
We are a nation founded by refugees fleeing religious persecution (pilgrims) and built up by immigrants seeking better lives.
WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
We are truly thankful for Governor Hutchinson's, Congressman Womack's, and so many others’ vital support to Canopy's refugee resettlement efforts here in Northwest Arkansas, and we ask our community to join us in continuing to express the importance of the US's commitment to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
1) CALL THE ELECTED OFFICIALS LISTED BELOW.
Please join us in calling our State and Congressional representatives to let them know that Northwest Arkansas expects the US to stand by our commitment to refugee resettlement.
Here are the numbers you can call:
· Phone: (501) 682-2345
· Website: http://governor.arkansas.gov/contact-info/
· Twitter: https://twitter.com/AsaHutchinson
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asaforarkansas
SENATOR JOHN BOOZMAN
· Phone: (202) 224-4843
· Website/Email: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
· Twitter: http://twitter.com/JohnBoozman
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnBoozman
SENATOR TOM COTTON
· Phone: (202) 224-2353
· Website/Email: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=contact
· Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenTomCotton
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorTomCotton
CONGRESSMAN STEVE WOMACK
· Phone: (202) 225-4301
· Website/Email: http://womack.house.gov/contact/
· Twitter: https://twitter.com/rep_stevewomack/
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RepSteveWomack
If you aren’t sure what to say, you can just say the following:
My name is [NAME] and I live in [City]. I am calling to share that I strongly support the US maintaining our commitment to refugee resettlement by reversing this Executive Order.
Welcoming refugees makes our country stronger and our world a better place. I would like to see [Representative Name] do everything in his power to reverse this Executive Order and let President Trump know that Northwest Arkansas stands ready to accept refugees.
2) GIVE TO CANOPY.
We're going to need your support to get through these uncertain times. If you can’t give much right now, set up a recurring monthly gift of $10 or $15. You won’t hardly miss it, but it will really add up for our work.
OUR WORK IS NOT SLOWING DOWN.
In fact, this Executive Order only strengthens our resolve to the mission of creating a place of refuge for families in crisis.
Thank you for joining with us in this and stay tuned for more information.