Month: November 2020

Certainty in Uncertain Times

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In 2020, it seems like the only thing certain is that things are uncertain. Surely the word “unprecedented” will be the most-used word of the year.

In these unprecedented times of uncertainty, we at West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry are thankful for the certainty that our donors support us in our mission: “striving to improve the lives of refugees.” Charitable gifts throughout this year have provided sustenance for our mission, allowing us to offer a peaceful safe haven for families literally running for their lives.

Although the pandemic has restricted how we provide services, it has given us time to discover creative ways to fulfill our mission and plan for the future. Given upcoming changes at the federal level, we are optimistic that 2021 will provide many opportunities to shine a spotlight on the worldwide refugee crisis and offer services to those who have been forced to flee their homes. 

#GivingTuesday, a national day of generosity, is just one week away on December 1.

As #GivingTuesday approaches, many have asked how they can help. 

  • You can click the Donate tab on our website (www.wvirm.com). There you will find a link to the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. Click the Donate button below “For a Specified Use.” Please be sure to note that your gift is for WVIRM. 
  • You can also mail a check to WVIRM at PO Box 5387, Charleston, WV 25361. 

Please put #GivingTuesday, December 1, on your calendar and consider participating in this national day of philanthropy. With your help, West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry will continue to be a place of safety and hope for the least of these. 

NO IMMEDIATE MIRACLES

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People of a certain age remember President Gerald Ford’s economic recovery plan: Whip Inflation Now (WIN). Ford’s press secretary, Ron Nessen, turned the acronym upside down to indicate the public should not expect an immediate miracle.

In the same vein, despite President-elect Joe Biden’s statements that he will reverse President Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, we should not expect immediate miracles. While much of President Trump’s policies were implemented by Executive Orders, which can be reversed immediately, more subtle restrictions have been implemented by changes in rules and regulations to statutes related to immigration. 

For example, over the past year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued notices of public rulemaking related to, among other issues, increasing filing fees for some court petitions, shortening time limits and bases for claiming asylum, requiring persons who arrive at the border with Mexico and claim asylum to make that claim in a third country, and barring entry into this country because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these changes are being litigated in federal courts across the country. However, the litigation process is not swift, and rule changes that have been implemented, unless overturned by a court, must go through another period of notice and comment.

What does that mean to we who advocate on behalf of refugees and others seeking asylum?

Be ever vigilant. 

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV).