Fear is so very paralyzing and powerful. But it is not ultimate as a motivator. Love is.
- Bishop Tim Smith, North Carolina Synod, read full reflection here
By now, you have seen the countless headlines and images of Syrian refugees that fill our news. During the largest refugee crisis of our time, it is good to pause and refresh our knowledge of what a refugee is.
What is a refugee?
A refugee is a person who is outside of his or her country or nationality and unable to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution. Violence and armed conflict chase millions of people from their homes, their families, and their countries, forcing them to seek safety in other countries around the world.
Refugees come from all walks of life
Currently, the most common countries that we re-settle refugees from are Iraq, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest re-settles people of all faiths. About 80% of refugees are women and children.
Refugees undergo an extensive security screening
It is extremely unlikely that a terrorist will enter the United States as a refugee. Many refugees that we work with have been waiting decades to enter our country, and can be victims themselves of terrorism. Before admission to the U.S., each refugee undergoes an extensive interviewing, screening, and security clearance process administered by the Department of Homeland Security. They enter the country legally and documented.
How you can help
We rely on so many community partners to embrace our refugee neighbors. Our partners hire refugees who are eager to work. Our congregations sponsor families and make their cultural adjustment a little lighter. Our neighbors provide gift cards, so that refugees can purchase household items that they need.