USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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USCRI Ensures Services to Refugees Continue in Black Hawk County
March 6, 2014
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La Opinion
December 10, 2013
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Forum One "Here for Good" Campaign Honored with Top Award
September 24, 2013
Our crowd-­sourcing experiment was a hit and allowed us to capture over 30 heart-­warming immigration video stories from more than 20 countries in only two hours. Tourists to our nation’s capital were extremely eager to share their sentimental stories of their recent or distant ancestors’ travels to the United States in search of a better life.
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Syrian Refugees, Not just a Burden, but an Opportunity
Borgen Magazine, September 18, 2013
As the world debates and waits to see if the United States will strike Syria, we cannot forget or ignore the refugees who have fled since the war started almost three years ago. Antonio Guterres, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), called the Syrian refugee situation a “disgraceful humanitarian calamity,” and I couldn’t agree more. Commissioner Guterres is a diplomat; I am an advocate, so I would add, “a shameful episode in human history; a heartbreaking experience for over a million children; an avoidable mistreatment of millions of people.” 
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Primera Dama Recibe Apoyo de Estados Unidos para Fortalecer Ley Contra Trata de Personas
Despacho de la Primera Dama, September 3, 2013 
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U.S. To Begin Resettling Syrian Refugees
MintPress News, August 10, 2013
The Obama administration has announced that it will take in 2,000 Syrian refugees, the first group to be resettled in the U.S. 2 ½ years after the start of the Syrian war. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 and has created 1.6 million refugees according to the latest statistics from the United Nations (U.N.). With no end in sight, there will be an increasing demand for neighboring countries, as well as the U.S., to share the burdens when it comes to absorption and resettlement.
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Visas for Iraqis, Afghans Who Helped U.S. in Jeopardy
Military Times, July 12, 2013
A law providing special visas to Iraqi and Afghan nationals in danger for helping the U.S. military suffered a blow when the House rejected the Senate’s immigration reform bill Wednesday. 
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Who, What, Why: When Can You Legally Travel Without a Passport?
BBC News, June 28, 2013
Fugitive Edward Snowden is hoping to get to Ecuador, despite not having a valid passport. So when can you legally travel without one? The US state department has revoked Snowden's passport and asked other countries to prevent him from travelling.
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World Refugee Day in Burlington: Bright Lights and Dark Stories
Seven Days, June 21, 2013
Outside on the Church Street Marketplace, lights shone from crowded bars and restaurants and amplified bands played as the second longest day of the year gave way to evening. Inside city hall, World Refugee Day was being marked. Survivors of wars in Somalia, Iraq and Burma were telling of their flights to safety in Vermont. All three had lost friends and family members and had experienced extreme violence unimaginable to most Vermonters. Each also mentioned the absence of a convenience — electricity — that was brightly present on the Marketplace.
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The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) Stands with Women and Girls on World Refugee Day
The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2013 
"Despite the risks and challenges that these women and girl refugees face every day, they demonstrate an enormous amount of courage and resilience. Today we recognize their bravery and untapped abilities," said Ms. Limon. 
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U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Marks World Refugee Day, June 20, 2013
On December 4, 2000, the United Nations declared June 20 to be World Refugee Day. World Refugee Day is a global event that aims to raise awareness of the plight of the tens of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons around the globe. Beyond aiming to raise awareness, World Refugee Day is a great opportunity to honor the courage and determination of refugees the world over.
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Warehouses are for Things, Not Humans
Borgen Magazine, June 2013
In the many years that I have worked for refugees, I’ve been fortunate to see great accomplishments as a result of the collaborative effort of governments, organizations and individuals. The United States has provided great leadership when it comes to the international aid of refugees. Last month, the U.S. committed $100 million for those fleeing Syria, which I applaud.  Yet, there is one unfinished task that is pivotal if we are to improve the lives of refugees. We, as human beings, must end the practice of warehousing.
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Obama Administration Willing to Take In Syrian Refugees
The National, June 13, 2013
The Obama administration is ready to consider a request from the United Nations' refugee agency to resettle some Syrian refugees in the US, as countries bordering their embattled homeland strain to cope with the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by the 27-month civil war.
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Slaves Among Us
Metroland, June 13, 2013
The young dancer cradles the sheer, white fabric draped across her slender forearm. As she moves across the stage, she rocks and soothes it. Her movements, although subtle, easily convey that this is the timeless dance between mother and baby—a love that nurtures and protects.
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U.S. Considers Taking in Syrian Refugees
LA Times, June 9, 2013
Two years into a civil war that shows no signs of ending, the Obama administration is considering resettling refugees who have fled Syria, part of an international effort that could bring thousands of Syrians to American cities and towns.
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Providing A Voice for the Voiceless - the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, June 7, 2013
The Gang of Eight’s immigration reform legislation had come under further scrutiny earlier this month. 300 amendments to the 844 page bill were proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The most ambitious goals of some of the amendments were to dismember the provisions in the bill for creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 
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College a 'Dream Come True' for Many Refugees
Utica Observer-Dispatch, May 28, 2013
Paw Ser Soe remembers living in a bamboo hut in the jungle with little food and clothing. “Someday I’ll live in a big house with freedom,” the now 23-year-old Burmese refugee used to think. “People always called me dreamer.” On Friday, she graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College with an associate’s degree in International Studies.
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Turkey Looks for International Aid, and Countries to Host Refugees, in Syrian crisis
The Washington Post, May 15, 2013 
Facing one of the world’s largest refugee crises in decades, Turkish officials are urgently appealing for international financial assistance and calling on wealthy nations, particularly the United States and the countries of Europe, to start accepting large numbers of Syrian refugees.
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Refugee Family Builds a New Life in Spokane
The Spokesman Review, May 13, 2013
Samah, 31, pulls back the curtains to reveal a view of neighboring hotel rooms and a busy Spokane street. “It’s beautiful,” she said, breaking into a warm smile as she folds her hands over her heart. Her family isn’t “home” yet, but they are a big step closer since leaving Jordan, their home for the past 10 years, as refugees. 
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Refugees Find Freedom, Fresh Start in Spokane
The Spokesman Review, May 12, 2013 
With midnight approaching, three weary travelers shuffle down the ramp past airport security to the baggage claim. The 5-year-old girl grips her mother’s hand and tries to hide behind her as a Middle Eastern woman greets them – their only link to their new lives in Spokane. As checked bags pass along the conveyor belt, the family searches for a single suitcase stuffed with clothes and knickknacks that made the same two-day journey: Namibia to South Africa to New York to Utah and finally Spokane.
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Solutions for Syria’s Refugees
The New York Times, April 29, 2013  
The most effective way to deliver humanitarian relief to refugees fleeing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is to invest in building the local capacity and infrastructure of Syria’s neighbors. Although the United States has donated significant funds to relief agencies, it should now lead an international coalition of nations dedicated to providing direct financial support to host countries that focuses on a sustainable, long-term response.  
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In Colchester, New American Farmers Raise Meat for the Refugee Community
Seven Days Vermont, April 3, 2013 
As refugees from Burma, Bhutan and Somalia made their homes in Vermont’s New American communities, they began searching for a meat that few supermarkets stock alongside the shrink-wrapped chicken, pork and beef — goat.
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Vermont Bhutanese Graduate From Being Renters to Homeowners — and Landlords
Seven Days Vermont, March 13, 2013 
Five years ago, Megnath Neupane was one of 17,000 Bhutanese living in an overcrowded refugee camp in eastern Nepal. He and his family were holed up in a tiny shack with a leaky plastic roof and no electricity or indoor plumbing. Today, you could say 35-year-old Neupane is living the American dream.
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They Nail the American Dream
The Times Union, March 9, 2013
Steah Htoo carefully aimed a hammer and pounded a nail in a second-floor bedroom of her new Habitat for Humanity home in the South End. The Delaware Street home near Lincoln Park is a world away from the bamboo hut where she lived for 20 years in a refugee camp on the Myanmar-Thailand border.
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A Storyteller's Story: Photographer Jean Luc Dushime has Lived Many Lives
Burlington Free Press, January 20, 2013
Jean Luc Dushime is a photographer who has few childhood photographs. In one, he is smiling in his family's garden in Kigali, Rwanda, a boy of 6. In another he is a toddler, laughing and standing by his older brother. In a third photograph, Dushime is wearing a white tank top and sneakers, sitting on a red motorbike. The picture shows Dushime pretend-riding behind a friend, a classmate at an agricultural boarding school. The boys are 13. 
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Young Professionals in Human Rights: An Interview with Kelly Hinde
Global Ethics Network, February 1, 2013 
Kelly Hinde is a Program Officer with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. In this post, she discusses her experience working with refugees and asylum seekers in the context of third country resettlement and provides insights into the refugee resettlement program in the United States.  
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Holiday Fusion: A Lesson from Refugees Around the World
Collaborative Services, December 17, 2012
It’s always wonderful to be home for the holidays. Indeed, holiday songs romanticize how sweet and touching such moments can be. “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree…” But imagine being not just home for the holidays – but being in a strange land as well. In this topsy-turvy world, that’s a reality for many. Famine, war, civil unrest, genocide – all cause people to flee their homelands. Here, an interview with Senior Communications Officer, Jenelle Eli. 
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The Best Small Ideas of 2012
Foreign Policy Magazine, December 2012
For all the laments we heard this year about inequality and calls to Occupy this or that, very little was actually done to close a wealth gap that, in some countries, has reached Gilded Age proportions. In the United States, the economy sputtered along and the presidential horse race soaked up most of the oxygen, while Europe spent most of 2012 peering into the abyss. In short, it was a year sorely in need of big ideas. A look behind the headlines, however, finds an abundance of seemingly small ideas that are quietly changing the world in big ways. 
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USCRI’s President Stresses No Support for the Continuation of Al Za’atari Camp
Al Ghad Newspaper, November 7, 2012 
avinia Limon, President of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), described Jordan as a fantastic model for refugee treatment, citing its current efforts hosting Syrian refugees and its previous efforts hosting Iraqi refugees [outside of refugee camps] and within its local communities. 
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World Refugee Day Picnic in Albany on Saturday
The Times Union, June 15, 2012 
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants 6th annual World Refugee Day picnic and 2nd annual international soccer tournament will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, in Albany’s Lincoln Park. The afternoon of food, soccer and family fun is a chance for Albany residents to learn more about their newest neighbors. Players from around the world will compete in a soccer tournament, as well as games of volleyball and takraw, a sport played in Thailand. The event, sponsored by Albany City Council member Dominick Calsolaro, will also include activities for children.
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Influx of Unaccompanied Migrant Children a Tragedy that Requires Congressional Attention
Texas Observer, June 14, 2012
We are witnessing the slow unfolding of a tragedy on our southern border today. Annually, thousands of immigrant children from Central America and Mexico continue to turn up in search of parents, family, and an escape from violence.
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Lackland Dorm to House Overflow of Detained Kids
San Antonio Express News, April 17, 2012
The surge of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the US border - vulnerable and desperate - continues to worsen as reported in San Antonio media today. Facilities for these children are in such short supply that 100 of them will be placed into Lackland Air Force Base this week.
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Wyclef Jean Kicks Off a Dance-Off at the Refugee Gala

NBC Washington, October 22, 2011
A slideshow highlighting the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ (USCRI) 100th Anniversary black-tie gala.  Grammy Award winning musician Wyclef Jean challenged guests to a dance-off.
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Wyclef Jean Supports USCRI Gala
Billboard Magazine, October 15, 2011
Political activist/musician Wyclef Jean performed at USCRI's 100th Anniversary Gala, Out of Many One.  Jean, an immigrant from Haiti is a strong advocate for refugees and immigrants.
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Their Refuge Includes a Kitchen
Boston Globe, September 27, 2011
Caroline Casey, an intern at the USCRI field office, Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, is compiling a book: “A Mosaic of Flavors: New Americans Adding Spice to Life in Vermont.’ The recipes are from refugees who have been resettled in Vermont.
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Beyond Refugee Camps, a Better Way
The New York Times, September 6, 2011
The refugee warehousing discussion continues in The New York Times.  Lavinia Limón stands up for refugee rights and promotes alternatives to refugee warehousing.
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For Refugees, the Price of Dignity
The New York Times, September 1, 2011
Lavinia Limón, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), discusses alternatives to refugee warehousing.
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The Path Ahead For South Sudan, July 12, 2011
In light of the Republic of South Sudan’s independence, Sudanese refugee-turned-supermodel, Alek Wek, talks about the importance of supporting organizations like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)—an agency she teamed up with during the conflict in her native country.
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Listen to the full interview below:

Viewpoint with James Zogby: Emil Salayta, Lavinia Limón, Aaron Blake
Arab American Institute, July 1, 2011
Lavinia Limón, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), discusses refugee issues in the Middle East. 
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World Refugee Day on Canvas, June 21, 2011
It was World Refugee Day yesterday, when advocacy groups, resettlement programs and survivors of displacement reflected on stories of survival and the challenges ahead for the over 15 million refugees still searching for home.  At the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), staff members reflected on another huge number as well: 100 years of serving refugees and immigrants seeking resettlement in the United States. 
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World Refugee Day Conversation with Voice of America, Georgia Service, June 20, 2011
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Expert Perspective: Lavinia Limón, President of USCRI, discusses refugee resettlement in the U.S., June 16, 2011
In honor of World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20th, Zunia talks to USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) about refugee resettlement in the United States, as well as the USCRI campaign against refugee warehousing. Lavinia Limón, USCRI President, offers solutions for international coordination of refugees’ rights and talks about how recent unrest in the Middle East has caused states to reevaluate the methods they use to accommodate refugees.  (This story was also covered by Humanitarian News blog.)
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USCRI’s TPS Campaign for Syrians, Yemenis, and Libyans
Arab American Institute, June 6, 2011
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, an international refugee advocacy organization and the recipients of a Special Recognition Award at this year’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala, has launched a campaign to grant Temporary Protected Status to Syrians, Libyans, and Yemenis currently in the United States.
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300 African Refugees Now Call Dillon Home, June 2, 2011
DILLON -- Thursday morning, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) held a grand opening ceremony for its office on Lockemy Highway in the city of Dillon.  Since 2007, refugees from the African country of Burundi have been migrating to Dillon. There are about 300 refugees who now live there.
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Collective Courage Fuels Protests Across Arab World, April 26, 2011
Southern Sudan, which is slated for statehood in July, saw one out of every five residents killed by war, famine or disease during decades of civil war. About 80% of the population has been displaced at least once, according to the U.S. Committee for Refugees...
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House Concurrent Resolution Congratulating the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants on Their Respective 30th and 100th Anniversaries
IRSA, now known as the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), was formed a century ago under the auspices of the YWCA, and continued in this joint organizational arrangement until shortly before World War II, and in 2011 USCRI is commemorating 100 years of assisting and comforting refugees in many nations...
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Help save funding for refugees >>

What's Lost in the House Budget Cuts

The Washington Post, February 27, 2011
The budget cuts proposed in the House would essentially shut down the U.S. Refugee Program, sending a clear message to the world that we as Americans are closing our doors. That is not the message we should be sending, wrote Lavinia Limón, USCRI President and CEO.
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Help save funding for refugees >> 

A Risky Trip Leads to Stardom and Sanctuary
The New York Times, February 21, 2011
A Honduran teenager gained fame as the star of a documentary film that shows the dangers faced by children who ride across Mexico atop freight trains to cross illegally to the United States.  The documentary, “Which Way Home,” directed by Rebecca Cammisa, won an Emmy award last year and was nominated for an Oscar.  Working closely with Ms. Cammisa, USCRI’s Children’s Center found a volunteer lawyer for Kevin.  An asylum petition presented for Kevin was granted by USCIS in January.
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Help children like Kevin >> 

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