Sadly, Governor Abbot has decided to withdraw Texas from the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program.
We at TMWF join refugee resettlement agencies and faith communities in objecting to Governor Abbott’s Decision.
Our agency and many others support re-settlement of Syrian refugees. It is to our advantage to welcome refugees. They are not a burden nor are they taking away jobs. On the contrary, they make significant contributions for the betterment of our society.
We believe that The United States of America is a nation of immigrants and refugees who came to this country seeking a better life. It’s interesting when reviewing the names of prominent refugees worldwide and nationwide to see a long list including co-founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, and founder of Kinko’s, Paul Orfalea. Simply Googling names of important refugees and immigrants reveals names like Albert Einstein, Steve Forbes, Yo-Yo Ma, and Khalil Gibran among others.
Bill Holston, Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative in response to this decision by the governor sent this appeal to his church:
“On September 21, Governor Abbott declared his intention for our state to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program. Refugees are people who have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Texas has led the nation in resettling those who have fled war torture and abuse.
This decision to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program is wrong for many reasons.
First, it violates scripture. Among other places, Scripture records in Deuteronomy: 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
Second, it violates Methodist teaching. Our Bishops have said in response:
As Christians and as Texans our values are grounded in respect and hospitality toward newcomers. Those values lead us to welcome refugees to our state. We recognize that these are difficult and complex times but as Christians, we rely on Jesus Christ to overcome our fear of those who may be different.
So, please let the Governor know you disapprove of his decision as well as the hateful language that has been used in connection with demonizing those whose only action is fleeing war and chaos to seek refuge.”
Urgent Take Action Alert
Please call the Governor’s office: 512-463-1782 and use the sample script below:
“Texas has a proud history of helping refugees. We cannot turn our backs on families who are seeking refuge and a chance to rebuild their lives in peace. That is not who we are as Texans. I am extremely disappointed by the Governor’s decision and I will continue to support refugee resettlement in Texas.
Texas has the largest resettlement program in the country and has been successfully welcoming refugees for over 40 years. Despite the Governor’s decision, Texans will continue to welcome and serve refugees. Local charitable organizations will step up and take on the role of coordinating resettlement services.
The Governor’s decision goes against the overwhelmingly welcoming spirit from faith and community partners across Texas and around the country. Every day we see Texans practicing their commitment to courage and hospitality by welcoming refugee families.
The United States has the most stringent security screening process in the world. Refugees who come to our state want nothing more than to work hard, send their children to school, and build new lives in safety. We cannot allow our state to abandon families who have already gone through so much. That’s not who we are as Texans.
We are extremely disappointed by the Governor’s decision and we are determined to continue supporting the refugee resettlement program in Texas.”
This is a critical time to show your support for refugees. Every action counts. Make your voice heard today!
Your voice can also make a difference in the upcoming national elections. Please take advantage of this great right and go out and vote. I strongly encourage you to educate yourself on the issues and the platform of every candidate before you cast your vote.
On Sept. 17, 2016, at the multi-purpose hall of the Islamic Association of North Texas (IANT), TMWF in partnership with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) hosted an orientation workshop for newly arrived Syrian refugee families to familiarize them with their new home in the USA. The workshop was extremely well attended, with close to 80 attendees.
The host agencies aim was to make the new arriving families aware of important facts pertaining to their children, including parent children interactions, safety, Internet security, law requirements for driving, school attendance, etc.
The host agencies aim was to form long time relations with these families, setting up mentoring programs for them with current resident families who can “adopt” them and help them transition smoothly into the new culture and the new country.
If you are interested in volunteering for this program, please send in your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a related note, Barbara Whitesides, author of the Arabic alphabet book, Sugar Comes from Arabic, read about TMWF’s workshop and graciously donated 5 copies of her book, to mentor families trying to communicate with their Syrian families.
What a kind and helpful gesture! Thank you, Ms. Whitesides! Both non-Arabic and Arabic speakers can learn simple basics about both English and Arabic, so they can begin their language studies to better communicate with one another.