This summer we hosted our first Pursuing the Dream Film Festival on Martha's Vineyard. Coming off of the panel discussions and conversations around forced migration, we wanted to provide a community toolkit for you to get involved in the conversation around forced migration.
We have put together a call to action to help you work within your community and beyond. Below you will find resources for getting involved at the local level under "Your Community Toolkit" followed by resources for taking action at the national level under "National Advocacy for Forced Migrants"
The Exodus Institute envisions a future America that recognizes and embraces the value and contributions of those seeking refuge from violence, poverty, discrimination, and environmental degradation to the fabric of our culture, society, and economy. We have a three-pronged strategy in which we act to educate, to advocate, and to facilitate, in order to raise public awareness and influence public policy.
We educate students, decision-makers and the general public regarding the drivers of forced migration, the economic value that forced migrants bring to the United States, and the importance of forced migrants to the American narrative. We advocate for policies and laws at the local and state level within the United States that promote the social, cultural, and economic inclusion of forced migrants in our communities. And we act as a facilitator to leverage the deep experience and networks of the Institute's leadership to broker cross-sector partnerships designed to advance the organization's mission.
Your Community Toolkit
Support Local Organizations That Help Immigrants and Refugees
You can volunteer or donate to many local organizations that assist immigrants and refugees. Refugee Council USA's member organizations have many local offices where you can help.
Create a Space of Welcome
Get involved in your local community by hosting welcoming events and getting to know people of all backgrounds who live within your community! Welcoming America has great resources.
National Advocacy for Forced Migrants
The words and actions of the Trump administration and many aligned with its policies have jeopardized refugees and migrants in the United States. A country continually shaped by migrant populations, the U.S. has offered shelter and resources to refugees and asylees since its founding.
As President John F. Kennedy argued while promoting a fair immigration policy in "A Nation of Immigrants", "There is no part of America that has not been touched by our immigrant background." These people and the programs protecting them are now under attack.
The Exodus Institute is creating a movement of strong voices at the national and grass roots levels, fighting the war on forced migrants with facts. We seek to combat anti-asylum/refugee rhetoric and legislation through grass-roots and national advocacy and strategy partnerships.
We ask you to join us in this work.
Anti-refugee and anti-asylum rhetoric does lasting damage. These policies have ripped families and communities apart, targeting those who are fleeing for their lives. It has eroded the principles and legal protections on which our country was founded and diminished our standing in the international community.
Many refugee applicants are from Muslim majority nations. Some have stood alongside American troops and institutions as translators, logisticians, and "fixers". For this their lives and those of their family members have been threatened.
In the words of Rep. Judy Chu (D. CA), who introduced a House measure to block federal funds from supporting implementation of Trump's Muslim ban, "It is simply un-American. We do not create policies based on religion and we do not target people because of who they worship."
This will be our legacy.
We urge our supporters and Congress to:
- Support all congressional work to overturn and oppose all versions of the "Muslim Ban"
- Advocate for a humane refugee admissions ceiling and oversight to ensure that the program is funded and the ceiling is met.
- Oppose all efforts to undermine existing US asylum law and protections and affirm the rights of asylees and refugees.
- Ensure the protection of the most vulnerable among refugees including children, victims of sexual violence and rape, LGBTI individuals, sick and injured, and the elderly.
- Support alternative and expanded pathways for the protection of vulnerable refugees, including the use of student, family reunification, employment and other visa programs on an expedited basis.
- The NAIJ, the ABA, the Federal Bar Association and other leading legal organizations are urging Congress to establish an immigration court system outside the control of the U.S. Department of Justice. The creation of an independent system would "protect and advance America's core values of fairness and equality by safeguarding the independence and impartiality of the immigration court system while ensuring the timely adjudication of cases," ABA President Bob Carlson, American Immigration Lawyers Association President Marketa Lindt, Fedearl Bar ASsociation President Maria Vathis and National Association of Immigration Judges President A. Ashley Tabaddor write in the letter.
- Advocate for continued funding of development programs in Central America.
- Advocate to keep ports of entry fully staffed and supported to avoid illegal entries and support those who need to claim asylum.
- Partner with countries to create a multilateral approach to migration. The World Refugee Council created a comprehensive report on forced migration that promotes this.
- Call Your U.S. Senators and Representatives Tell them immigrants and refugees are valued contributors to our communities, and that our country should live up to its values and remain a welcoming place. Visit USA.gov to learn how to contact your representative.