On Thursday, August 20th, the IRC in Boise held the Exclusive Congressional Briefing: The State of Resettlement in the US & Idaho for our Idahoan members of Congress. Representatives from all four congressional offices attended the meeting, including those of: Chairman James Risch, Senator Mike Crapo, Representative Mike Simpson, and Representative Russ Fulcher
During the briefing, the IRC in Boise detailed the urgency and importance to increase ongoing support for immigrant and refugee families through the COVID-19 global pandemic. Executive Director Julianne Donnelly-Tzul shared how the IRC in Boise continually shifts emergency services to tailor community needs during an ever-changing landscape as well as the stories of refugee frontline workers risking their safety to keep their communities safe.
Youth Success Specialist Fredrick Shema and Senior Economic Wellbeing Coordinator & Career Pathways Coordinator Rebecca Wilkey shared an overview of how their programs are keeping families housed, fed, and connected to the internet during uncertain times.
In addition to local updates, Community Engagement Coordinator Georgette Siqueiros contextualized the wider, global picture. With an annual ceiling on refugee arrivals set to an historic low of 18,000, the US has welcomed less than 8,000 so far. At the same time, the humanitarian need climbs higher than ever with the growing need for protection of the people of Hong Kong and the Syrian crisis accounting for 41 percent of total global need.
To address these needs, Congress must start by support a ceiling of 95,000 refugee arrivals for Fiscal Year 2021. Congress must also support returning to a system of needs-based admissions as a reflection of the U.S. commitment to providing safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable refugees.
The IRC in Boise strongly believes the refugee admissions goal must be visionary and reflect a strong policy intention of welcoming refugees.
YOU can help
Our elected officials work for us, the people -- not the other way around. Did you know that all federal, state and local representatives track every call, email and visit they get from constituents just like yourself? If they get enough support for a particular issue, their vote may be impacted or at the very least, they may do research into a previously unknown issue.
Every single call counts. So call your elected officials today, tell them that YOU welcome refugees and they should, too. Calling is easy:
Calling is simple, and calls are usually taken by an office aid. Don't worry, if calling makes you nervous, you can leave them a message after office hours and they will see it in the morning.
Write down a few talking points.
While calling is simple, it doesn't hurt to be prepared and mention specific asks for members of Congress to support, such as:
- The ceiling for refugee arrivals in Fiscal Year 2021 be no less than 95,000 -- the historical average of arrivals
- The Senate include immigrants and refugees in any forthcoming COVID-19 relief legislation
- Congress must allocate sufficient funds to support vulnerable communities, like immigrants and refugees, throughout the COVID-19 crisis
Remember to personalize it, too. Sharing the reason you care about welcoming refugees can make your call even more impactful.
Make the call.
Again, calling is simple and takes only a couple minutes, but may impact the way your representative votes.
More resources to support refugees: