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Refugees International Launches #WeCanWelcome Campaign

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WASHINGTON---Refugees International is launching today a campaign with a strong message: that #WeCanWelcome asylum seekers.

In the prior presidential administration, policymakers stoked a "border crisis" narrative that willfully ignored both the capacity and the will of Americans to welcome people seeking safety from persecution and gross violations of their human rights. Non-profits, faith groups, and local officials are eager to coordinate with the federal government to receive with dignity those seeking refuge at the border. And with smart and humane policies, these noble objectives can and must be secured.

"Whether is it South Sudanese who have fled into Uganda, Rohingya who have escaped genocide in Myanmar and found protection in Bangladesh, or our Central American neighbors fleeing unspeakable violence and seeking asylum at our southern border, governments---including the United States---have an obligation to provide refuge to people seeking safety," said Refugees International President Eric Schwartz. "American communities are ready and willing to welcome people seeking safety, and new Americans contribute to our neighborhoods, economies, and country in countless ways. When we welcome, we are better for it."

As part of our ongoing Voices from the Border initiative, over the next few weeks, Refugees International will be sharing the stories of individuals---including asylum seekers, public officials, volunteers, and faith leaders---who are on the frontlines of creating and contributing to welcoming communities across the country.

"The people I have met at the U.S.-Mexico border have conveyed clearly that we need and want to welcome those seeking asylum with humanity, dignity, and fairness," said Refugees International U.S. Senior Advocate Yael Schacher. "The Biden administration has an opportunity to make refuge at the border a reality and to make American asylum procedures a source of pride rather than heartbreak."

The first video in the series, launched today, follows the journey of Mirna Linares de Batres, a mother and asylum seeker who fled from El Salvador and has rebuilt her life in Colorado.

"I hope that sharing my story allows me to help others," said Mirna Linares de Batres of the campaign. "I hope it helps people to understand that immigrants are not criminals. We are people seeking solutions to the problems we are facing at home. And to show the world that we can also succeed despite all the obstacles we are faced with."

Read Mirna's full story here.

Refugees International is also launching a petition with a message of solidarity:

"The United States has a responsibility to welcome people seeking protection from persecution. But this is not only something we should do. It is something Americans can do and want to do. Take action now and tell the Biden administration that #WeCanWelcome those arriving at our border in search of safety with compassion, fairness, and dignity."

Refugees International will deliver this message to the Biden administration on its 100th day in office.

Representatives from Refugees International including Eric Schwartz and Yael Schacher as well as the asylum seekers, public officials, volunteers, and faith leaders involved in the campaign are available for media interviews.

Contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at ssheffer@refugeesinternational.org or +1 202 540 7029 to arrange an interview or learn more.