My (our) view on Refugee crisis
What can we Cape Codders do to respond to the worldwide refugee crisis? The over 65 million refugees* worldwide (primarily from Northern Africa and the Middle East ) comprise perhaps the greatest practical and moral challenge of our generation. The impact of this crisis on world economics, resources, societies, and international relations is just beginning to be felt. * Those displaced because of war or persecution.
The United States government has planned to welcome 110,000 refugees in 2017. This is less than recommended by international relief agencies, but it is an increase over the 2016 goal of 75,000 which was later increased to 85,000. We encourage all Americans to support this increase and to urge Congress to do so when it finally sets the budget for 2017. American political leaders should resist the isolationist and fear filled calls for turning our back on those in need as unworthy of our great nation.
The truth of the matter is that we are perhaps the best prepared country in the world to receive refugees as potential Americans because of the principles enunciated in our founding documents, the fact that we have always been a nation of immigrants, our population density (180th out of 240 nations, where the 1st nation has the most dense population and the 240th the least dense) our thorough vetting process which takes about 2 years, and our abundant natural resources, especially our people!
No federally authorized Resettlement Agencies are assigning refugees to Cape Cod at this time since they are all established in or near urban service areas. However, the Refugee Support Team of the Nauset Interfaith Association is coordinating long distance support as an “Extended Community Circle” with the Ascentria Care Alliance in Worcester and in cooperation with Worcester Interfaith. This agency helps about 270 new refugees each year and in September 2016 received 70 new refugees.
The Nauset Interfaith Association through our Refugee Support Team is building a relationship with refugees in Worcester through providing funding, gift cards and donations of tangible items. We also have traveled to Worcester ( and they to us ) to build this partnership. We are exploring an expanded partnership in the future. Equally important, we believe, is the work of advocacy and education in our congregations and wider community here on the Cape. Several upcoming events are in the planning stages including an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 20th at 2 pm at St. Joan of Arc Church in Orleans. We are also very interested in learning about and supporting other Cape faith communities or organizations that may be involved in refugee advocacy. For more information please contact The Rev. Rod MacDonald or The Rev. Ken Campbell .
Note: The Nauset Interfaith Association represents 15 faith communities in the 6 towns of the lower and outer Cape.