Better with Refugees

Kadija

Our countries are better with refugees. Our communities are better with refugees. Our lives are better with refugees. As an organization, we share collect and share the stories of refugees to deepen understanding and influence action. The people sharing their stories are our neighbors and friends. We know from our personal relationships with them the value that they bring to our lives, our communities, and our countries. Beyond that, there are so many economic and societal benefits too. Using the United States as our example, please allow us to share why we are #BETTERWITHREGUEES

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

Between FY 2016 and 2020, there was an 86% decline in refugee arrivals in the US. Asylum seekers, those who apply for protection inside the US, decreased by 68% between March 2017 and Sept 2019. The likelihood of approval for asylum was also severely restricted.

Many people celebrated these decreases, citing safety concerns and protection of America and its interests. But restricting refugee resettlement and denying asylum hearings does not benefit America. According to the Center for Global Development, restricting refugees in this period cost the overall U.S. economy today $9.1 billion per year. It will take years for America to recover what it has lost.

Recently, the current U.S. presidential administration unveiled plans to enact new asylum restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico boarder. Looking forward, the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 includes over 175 immigration provisions, including plans to terminate the legal status of 500,000 Dreamers, curtail large categories of legal immigration, and suspend updates for temporary worker visas, thereby cutting off those individuals who fill critical gaps in the agricultural, construction, hospitality, forest, and other essential labor sectors within the U.S. Both such changes will/would have a dramatic negative impact on the U.S. economy.

MAY: Mental Health Awareness

“If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”

– President Ronald Reagan

SOCIETAL BENEFITS

Refugees enrich our communities in numerous ways beyond the significant economic contributions they make:

Cultural Diversity: Refugees bring a wealth of cultural practices, languages, and perspectives that enrich the cultural tapestry of our country. This diversity fosters greater understanding and appreciation for different cultures and can lead to more inclusive societies.

Community Revitalization: Refugees often help revitalize declining areas and contribute to the creation of vibrant, dynamic communities by bolstering decreasing populations, expanding the tax base and launching scores of small businesses in cities like St. Louis, Buffalo, Dayton and Cleveland.

Global Perspective: Refugees often have a global perspective and contribute to a more globally aware society. They can play a role in shaping international relations and fostering global cooperation.

Humanitarian Values: The United States has often taken refugees because it is “the right thing to do.” Welcoming refugees reflects and reinforces our humanitarian values as a country. It shows our commitment to assisting those in need and upholding human rights, which strengthens the moral fabric of our society.

Resilience and Determination: Refugees often demonstrate remarkable resilience and determination as they work to rebuild their lives, which can inspire and motivate others within the community.

Personal Relationships: Newcomers to our country can expand our perspectives and our horizons. They are our neighbors, health care workers, teachers, restaurant owners, and more.

Welcoming refugees is not just about this moment in time in our country. We are better with refugees because of how their presence impacts the country in years to come.

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“Just down the street from Della Lamb is the Vietnam cafe, Pho. That Vietnam Cafe wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t welcomed those from Vietnam in the 1970s. People now see it as a mainstay of Kansas City. We're not just shaping the city today. We're shaping the city 50 years from now. There will be richness because of our efforts to welcome people now.”

– Ryan Hudnell, Executive Director of Della Lamb Community Services

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