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Canada resettled more refugees than the U.S. for the first time. That's shameful and unconscionable, America.

For the first time since 1980, the U.S. doesn't lead the world in refugee resettlement numbers.

The U.N. states, "A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so."

Refugees differ from asylum seekers in that refugees' claims have already been verified. Asylum seekers only gain refugee status after their asylum claims have been vetted and been determined to be legitimate. Refugees are the people we know can't go home.

The United States has a long history of refugee resettlement. Up until 2017, the U.S. resettled more refugees each year than the rest of the world combined.

Now, for the first time since the Refugee Act of 1980 was passed, we no longer lead the world in that category. In 2018, Canada settled more refugees than the U.S. by about 20%—28,000 resettlements to our 23,000. Canada, as a reminder, has one-tenth the population of the U.S. and its economy is about one-tenth the size of ours.


Per capita, Canada actually resettled more than ten times as many refugees as the U.S.—around 750 refugees per million residents to our 70 per million. Australia (510 per million), Sweden (493 per million) and Norway (465 per million) also had much higher per capita resettlement figures than the U.S.

This is not winning.

Despite a booming economy and dire global need, the U.S. has slashed its refugee resettlement numbers by more than 75% in the past three years.

Since 1975, the U.S. government's resettlement program has settled some 3 million refugees—that works out to an average of 75,000 per year.

Until recently, the lowest annual number resettled until recently was 2002, when around 27,000 refugees were admitted. (That was the year following 9/11, when the U.S. was understandably on super high security alert.)

Pew Research Center

In 2016, we welcomed 97,000. That number plummeted to 33,000 in 2017 and to 23,000 in 2018.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are close to 26 million refugees right now—the largest number the world has ever seen—and half them are children. The U.S. resettlement of 23,000 accounts for less than .01 percent of the total number of people awaiting resettlement, who are living in overcrowded refugee camps or stuck in limbo in stopover countries.

Our current approach to refugees is embarrassing, and a shameful stain on our country's legacy. I mean, we welcomed more refugees immediately following the worst terror attack in history than we did last year. The need is greater than ever, our economy is booming, and yet we are closing our doors in the faces of desperate families who have nowhere to go.

Gross. We are better than this, America.

As a reminder, the data shows that refugees do not drain our resources, nor do they pose a threat to our safety.

The main reasons I see people argue against resettling more refugees are "We can't afford it," and "A terrorist might slip in." Neither of those arguments hold up, though.

Research shows that, even after accounting for the initial cost of getting them settled, refugees have a neutral-to-beneficial effect on the economy. In other words, over time they create more revenue than it costs to bring them in. Since immigrants in general tend to start more businesses than the average American-born citizen, refugees are actually more likely to add jobs and boost the economy.

Regarding safety, the refugee resettlement program is the longest, hardest, and least likely way to get into the United States. Most refugees don't get to choose their country of resettlement, and the ones who come to the U.S. are the most thoroughly vetted people to set foot in our country. You'd have to be a really dumb terrorist to try to slip in through the refugee resettlement program, which is why the chance of being killed in a terrorist attack by a refugee on U.S. soil is a whopping 1 in 3.64 billion.

There's no good reason for our refugee resettlement numbers to be slashed when there are more people in need than ever before. If the government really doesn't want to fund it, why don't they create a private refugee sponsor program like Canada has?

We can't offer a safe haven for everyone, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't help as many as we can—and we can definitely do a lot more than we are doing right now.

UNHCR's global trends in forced displacement – 2018 figureswww.youtube.com

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We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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