The Idaho Office for Refugees supports our nation’s commitment to welcome refugees from Central and South America and reunite families who have been separated.
The U.S. is one of 20 countries endorsing the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The declaration, adopted June 11 at the Summit of the Americas, brings a much-needed focus to the plight of people in the region who have had to flee their homes due to violence and instability. Many nations are working together to seek solutions and are committing to expand their asylum systems and address the root causes of displacement.
The United States is pledging to welcome 20,000 refugees from Central and South America in the next two years, a threefold increase nationally compared to projected arrivals for this year. The U.S. will also resume expedited family reunification for Cubans and Haitians, increase the number of seasonal worker visas, and expand resources for people displaced by the crisis in Venezuela.
We don't have specifics yet on how these efforts will impact resettlement in Idaho, but we stand ready and willing to do our part.
Refugees and immigrants play a crucial role in our economy, in our agricultural industries and in our communities, and we stand for clear, streamlined and humane pathways for all people seeking refuge.
Idaho has welcomed small numbers of refugees from Central and South America over the years, including nine people from Guatemala and four people from Honduras this year.
"Idaho is fortunate to have a strong cultural heritage from Latin America,” said Tara Wolfson, director of the Idaho Office for Refugees. "Our communities are enriched culturally and economically when we provide compassionate and efficient ways for people to have peace, stability and opportunity.”
We encourage leaders on the local, national and global scale to continue pushing for solutions, collaboration and dignified treatment of all people seeking refuge.
WORLD REFUGEE DAY & IMMIGRANT HERITAGE MONTH
People around the world are coming together this month to celebrate World Refugee Day and Immigrant Heritage Month.
As our partners at Episcopal Migration Ministries said so well: “World Refugee Day is an opportunity to highlight the journeys refugees face, their dreams and hopes for a better future, and our responsibility to advocate for pathways to protection for all people forced to flee home.
“We also celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, a celebration of the important contributions of immigrants from around the world.”
There are many ways to support refugee resettlement in Idaho that fit with your talents, interests and resources. You can tutor English students, mentor or sponsor a new family, attend events, support refugee-owned businesses, provide housing – the list goes on! Learn more at idahorefugees.org/get-involved.html.
Join Idaho World Refugee Day celebrations on Saturday, June 18, in Boise and Friday, June 24, in Twin Falls.
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Author: Holly Beech
Idaho Office for Refugees Communications Manager
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