News from the Week of April 25, 2016

Our weekly round-up of what we’ve been reading and watching, in the news and around the web:

The governors of Kansas and New Jersey formally withdrew state agencies from the federal refugee resettlement program, a disturbing and misguided action. Meanwhile the city of Rutland, Vermont is making compassion the latest tool in its ongoing revitalization. Mayor Chris Louras announced plans to resettle up to 100 refugees starting this fall, noting, “As our forefathers’ arrival added to the rich cultural melting pot of Rutland County, our newest residents will enrich and expand the tapestry we cherish today.”

The Colonial Park United Church of Christ in Lower Paxton Township, Pennsylvania is also welcoming refugees with open arms and open doors, transforming a parsonage into a temporary home for refugees.

In further promising news, President Obama recently stated that he anticipates that the United States will meet its goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of fiscal year 2016—despite delays and opposition from critics concerned about security implications. Such criticism is misguided, by the way—refugees are thoroughly vetted and resettling them is actually in U.S. national security interests.

On the international front, President Obama gave a speech in Berlin calling for inclusion, tolerance, and the strengthening of transatlantic alliances. He also commended German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her leadership on the Syrian refugee crisis, saying that she is on the right side of history.

We continue to follow a series titled #FiveYearsWeFled, a series of interviews with the lawyer Ayman Jalwan highlighting the difficult choice that Syrians face—dying in the war zone that Syria has become or fleeing the land they love.

Finally, Stars and Stripes featured a story on an Afghan interpreter who, having worked for the U.S. military for more than 10 years, fears he will be killed by the Taliban before his visa arrives. His story is not unique. Thousands of former U.S. interpreters are in the same potentially deadly bureaucratic limbo, putting them and their family members at constant risk for Taliban retribution.

Have reactions to share, or want to learn how you can be involved in our efforts to raise veteran voices in support of refugees? Find us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us at vfai@humanrightsfirst.org.