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Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin and several governors have joined the call for admitting more Syrian refugees.
*** See photos from thousands of MoveOn members across the country here, including school groups, 100 people on the steps of the Idaho capitol, and more: https://AmericaWelcomes.us ***
The AmericaWelcomes effort includes an online photo campaign, donations to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and more.
WASHINGTON, DC – A grassroots groundswell by MoveOn.org members calling for the Obama administration to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. to 100,000 was bolstered this week as prominent leaders including Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin, governors, and the heads of major aid organizations spoke publicly in support of that goal.
In addition to Durbin, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently said their states welcome Syrian refugees, joining other public officials and leading advocates.
Beginning last weekend, thousands of people joined AmericaWelcomes, a dynamic new campaign by MoveOn.org Civic Action calling on the United States to raise the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. to at least 100,000 and to encourage people in local communities across the country to open their hearts and extend a welcome.
Check out some of the amazing photos of Americans in small towns and big cities, in their living rooms and in front of public monuments, holding signs with messages of welcome for Syrian refugees:
See a map of the United States marking the location of individual welcome messages at AmericaWelcomes.us.
“Our hearts were broken by the photo of a little boy, drowned, lying alone in the sand,” said MoveOn Campaign Director Jo Comerford. “But these new images of people with open arms welcoming exhausted Syrian refugees the world over have begun to put our hearts back together. The profound decency of ordinary folks is driving governments around the world to respond to this crisis. Now it’s America’s turn to act–and Americans are proving we’re ready and more than willing to step up.”
MoveOn is partnering with organizations including USA for UNHCR and Refugee Council USA on the effort and plans to deliver the photos to the White House and State Department in the coming days, while also making them visible during Pope Francis’ U.S. tour. In addition, MoveOn is amplifying the work of Welcoming America to help strengthen the local welcome so that refugees can thrive in their adopted hometowns.
Statements from AmericaWelcomes launch partners:
Rachel Peric, Deputy Director, Welcoming America: “This comes amid National Welcoming Week, a time when communities across the United States are celebrating the contributions of immigrants and refugees, and building bridges across the community. With more than 230 events in 33 states, National Welcoming Week marks a growing positive response from Americans when it comes to immigration. As chants of ‘refugees welcome’ are heard across Europe, the chorus of Americans celebrating and creating more welcoming policy and culture in local communities grows louder. These positive welcoming initiatives and the leadership of mayors and other local officials stand as a beacon representing the best of American values. They reflect a growing recognition that welcoming is not only the right thing to do for communities, but that communities can benefit economically from being more inclusive and diverse places, where everyone—including refugees—can thrive.”
Naomi Steinberg, Director, Refugee Council USA: “Congressional offices, civic leaders, faith leaders, and concerned community members around the country join us in asking the United States to do more in response to the staggering Syrian refugee crisis. Communities around the country are ready to welcome Syrians, and the time is now to make sure that our voices are heard to let the Administration know that the United States can and should resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.”
Anne-Marie Grey, CEO, USA for UNHCR: “The United States has always been a leader in protecting and assisting refugees from around the world. The U.S. should sustain that tradition of leadership with the primarily Syrian refugees arriving in Europe. As the world now sees, there is not enough being done to face the challenge of refugees from Syria and elsewhere. This is the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. We are excited about what Americans can do to set the standard for how the world deals with this global crisis.”