Open the door wider for refugees

Open the door wider for refugees

Ilhan Omar writes:

Of the many titles I hold—congresswoman, mother, sister, organizer—one represents a part of my identity that I hold particularly close to my heart: refugee.

People frequently come up to me and share their own refugee stories. We immediately ask each other how long it has been since arriving in the United States. In my case, it’s been 29 years since my family and I were given a golden ticket to start a new life in America as refugees.

We escaped war in Somalia and found refuge at the Utange camp in Kenya. During my four years living in a refugee camp with little food or water, I saw the best and worst of humanity. I witnessed the joy of a mother welcoming a baby safely into the world, despite the odds stacked against her. I witnessed the death of friends and family members in a camp where malaria, dysentery, and respiratory diseases were rampant. I am grateful that I made it out alive. But I would not be here without the generosity of the Kenyan people, the resolute efforts of UN workers, the help of resettlement organizations such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the welcoming spirit of the American people who gave me and my family a second chance at life.

Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented displacement crisis, as conflicts and catastrophes in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia displace tens of millions of people from their homes. I’m here today only because of the kindness of strangers who fought to open the door for those fleeing unthinkable circumstances. And that’s why today, as we observe World Refugee Day, I am calling on President Biden to raise the refugee admissions cap, and allow more to enter the United States. [Continue reading…]

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