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Press Release

IRC Voice Piper Perabo visits asylum seekers in Phoenix, Arizona; calls for the U.S. Government to support vulnerable families

Ahead of World Refugee Day, actress, activist, and International Rescue Committee (IRC) Voice Piper Perabo visited IRC’s programs in Phoenix, Arizona to draw attention to the conditions faced by asylum-seeking families, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Northern Triangle.

While in Phoenix, Piper welcomed over 100 asylum-seekers, all families with small children or infants, with a customary ‘Bienvenidos’ and a friendly face. At the day center that the IRC operates with St. Vincent de Paul and other local community groups, Piper had the chance to hear about the current situation, legal rights, and services available to asylum-seeking families as they continue on their journeys to family and safety.

Said Actress, Activist, and IRC Voice Piper Perabo:

“When the families arrive here at the day center, they have been through these long arduous, sometimes traumatic sometimes violent journeys and now they are someplace safe. As the families start to realize this, they start to relax. You see the fathers start to sit back in their chairs, the mothers set their kids down and let them go play, they start talking, and you start to feel this relief happening. Even though it is subtle and small, it is one of the most amazing things to see – people recognizing they are now safe.

“El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are three of the most violent countries in the world outside of a war zone – in El Salvador, a woman is killed every 18 hours because of gang violence. These people are the kind of people who qualify for asylum. In the news they talk about migrants and people rushing the border, but really, these are families fleeing dangerous, violent places and seeking legal asylum here in the United States.”

During her visit, Piper heard increasingly desperate stories described by asylum-seekers about their home countries’ dire situations while she helped serve meals, play with the children, and make phone calls to alert the relatives left behind that their family members had found safety. In the last part of her visit, Piper escorted families to the airport where many of them boarded their first airplane in search of a better future.

As of June 4, the IRC in Arizona has provided emergency humanitarian assistance through a collaborative shelter operation in Phoenix to over 4,000 children and parents, providing warm meals, clothing, emergency short-term shelter, legal orientations, travel coordination to help them reach their final destination in the U.S., as well as referral information for when they arrive.

What is happening at the U.S. border is a symptom of the real crisis in Central America that people are fleeing. There is an increase in numbers of people seeking asylum, and the U.S. Government has the resources to increase its capacity to more effectively and humanely manage arrivals.

This is not an impossible situation – we can all help. The International Rescue Committee is responding in the United States and El Salvador and will continue to partner with key humanitarian, social and legal service organizations to support the complex needs of U.S. Cross-Border Crisis.

Visit Rescue.org/Act to learn more, to donate, and to contact your members of congress to ensure that the U.S. Government course corrects and supports vulnerable families today.

In addition to Phoenix, Piper has visited the IRC’s New York Resettlement Office, as well as Beirut to view our child protection work, and Lesvos, Greece during the height of the Syrian refugee crisis.

You can find photographs of Piper’s visit with the IRC to Phoenix here.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.