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IRC goes to Capitol Hill

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On the heels of the one-year anniversary of the travel ban, IRC advocates from across the country convened in Washington, DC for a two-day training to share ideas and best practices in grassroots advocacy, and to meet with congressional offices. In the past year, IRC has greatly expanded its capacity for grassroots advocacy at both the state and local level in order to address legislative action (both pro- and anti-refugee) as well as the desire of our community members to engage in advocacy and make their voices heard. One key pillar of this strategy has been to identify and cultivate IRC Ambassadors who can speak to the importance of welcoming refugees in our community and our country.

IRC staff visit Capitol Hill. Photo: IRC

IRC advocates worked with IRC Ambassadors representing the faith community, law enforcement, and employers to practice making a compelling argument and having tough conversations with community members and elected officials. Advocates then broke into small delegations and visited 35 congressional offices, sharing with each of them the struggles and successes of the last year under the travel ban, and the impacts it has had at the local level. IRC staff from Charlottesville and Richmond met with the offices of Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Tom Garrett. 

Stephen Allen, Site Manager for the IRC in Richmond, and Diana Cole Connolly, Development Coordinator for the IRC in Charlottesville, visit the office of Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett. Photo: IRC

With a historically low refugee arrival ceiling of just 45,000 refugees for this fiscal year, advocates urged lawmakers to do everything in their power to make sure we as a nation can hit that ceiling. If resettlement continues at the current pace, arrivals may be as low as 15,000 refugees, leaving tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people in harm’s way.

Urge your representative to keep the United States a welcoming country and a safe haven for refugees seeking to rebuild their lives. Join the IRC’s grassroots network of advocates. Visit IRCaction.org to sign up today.