An unexpected, outrageous casualty of Trump's travel ban, and 6 ways to fight it.

When you're a refugee in a new place, you're facing a lot of unfamiliar things. New foods. New languages. New schools. New neighbors.

That's where organizations like World Relief come in. Among other services, the Baltimore-based nonprofit helps resettle refugees, partnering with local churches across the U.S. to help refugee families feel more at home in their new communities. With President Trump's travel ban targeting Muslims, however, the nonprofit's facing a new, discouraging obstacle.


Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images.

World Relief announced it's closing five offices across the country — laying off over 140 of its workers in the process — due to President Trump's travel ban barring refugees.

"Our staff at each of these locations have served diligently and sacrificially — some of them for many years — and we are deeply saddened to have to make this difficult decision," World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in a statement, noting the tragic move will hinder the group's ability "to serve the world's most vulnerable people."

Even in the relatively short amount of time that the travel ban was signed and enforced before courts blocked key provisions, its ramifications are still causing refugees — and the groups aiding them — to suffer. What's more, the travel ban — announced by a president elected largely for his commitment to put American workers first — is now causing job losses: World Relief's woes will result in over 140 employees losing their jobs.

Despite its struggles, however, the nonprofit is devoted to doing whatever it can to make a difference.

“The unfortunate truth is that given the unprecedented nature of the global refugee crisis, there are simply more people than ever that need our support and our compassion," CEO Tim Breene said in a statement.

If the news out of World Relief is frustrating to you, here are six ways you can keep fighting for refugees in the wake of the group's setbacks:

1. Keep calling Washington. It works.

The Senate has been overwhelmed with phone calls from constituents across the country. Sen. Chuck Schumer's office told CNN that roughly 1.5 million calls were pouring into the Senate every day the first week of February, with the vast majority focused on Trump's controversial cabinet picks and executive orders.

John McCain probably won't personally call you back. But you should still call. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Outraged callers won't guarantee success all the time (take Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' razor-thin confirmation, for instance). But it works better than most voters realize (case in point: Congress' attempt to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics). Call your senators and members of Congress and tell them you're against Trump's travel ban.

2. Pledge to register as a Muslim if Trump attempts to start a Muslim registry.

Trump has suggested a national Muslim registry would help keep us safer from terrorism, yet again dangerously blurring the lines between religious extremists and the vast majority of Muslims. This sort of fearmongering is used to justify his travel ban. Regardless of your personal faith, you can stand with all Muslims by pledging to register yourself.

3. Support the vital organizations aiding refugees in the U.S. and around the world.

Conflict in Syria has caused a refugee crisis unlike anything we've seen since World War II, with millions of families torn away from their communities and forced to rely on the goodness of others for food, shelter, and protection.

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

There are many groups of all sizes doing vital work helping refugees this very moment, and they could use our support: Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, White Helmets, Karam House, Syrian American Medical Society, Islamic Relief USA, UNHCR, Oxfam, Save the Children, and, yes, World Relief.

4. Post the news about World Relief on Facebook along with this video explaining why refugees are not the problem.

Over 700k refugees have resettled in the United States since 9/11. During that time, not a single one has carried out an act of terror. Video by Valerie Bischoff.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, October 13, 2016

Your friends and family should see how anti-refugee rhetoric and policies affect far more people than refugees themselves — like the 140 World Relief employees who lost their jobs due to unfounded fear.

5. Sign a petition against the ban, then spread the word.

A MoveOn.org petition against Trump's travel ban — which states "targeting people based on their religion is wrong and unconstitutional" — has reached nearly 400,000 signatures. Help it reach 1 million.

6. Support the refugees in your own community, who — now more than ever — need to know they're welcome here.

As TED Ideas notes, there are plenty of practical ways you can help folks integrate into your city, especially if you live in a region with a high population of refugees. Start a soccer team — even if you can barely kick a ball — and make sure to include refugee kids. Volunteer to help a refugee student learn English. If you're a business owner, hire them (or if you know a business owner, nudge them in the direction to do so).

1951 Coffee Company in Berkeley, California, hires refugees to help give them a leg-up after resettling in the U.S. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

Trump's travel ban targeting Muslims is immoral, ineffective in keeping us safe, and bad for U.S. workers.

In the U.S., there have been more than enough terrorist attacks since 9/11 carried out by right-wing extremists — and none from refugees. The vetting process to enter the U.S. as a refugee is long and arduous and certainly not one that leaves us vulnerable to terrorism, experts have argued.

Don't let the ban — and the misguided views of Islam that's helped buoy it — become normalized. Stay outraged.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.