News from the Week of January 28th

America has always been strongest when its policies and actions align with its ideals. This week in The Hill, VFAI joined Veterans for New Americans in calling on Congress and the White House to come together to pass a permanent solution for DACA recipients. In the op-ed, rear admiral James W Partington, (Ret.), Lt Col. Margaret Stock, (Ret.), and VFAI founder, Scott Cooper, argued that “a solution for Dreamers will not only will keep us strong, it will keep us safe.”  

Tuesday’s State of the Union was the center of much public debate this week. The address also marked exactly one year since then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refused to defend President Trump’s initial executive order barring U.S. admission for people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Yates was fired by President Trump for her refusal to defend what she saw as a religious ban.  A year after this historic Muslim Ban began, a Newsweek op-ed written by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders reflects on the state of religious freedom in our union.

If passed, a bill in the Colorado State Senate would enable refugees and SIV recipients to receive in-state tuitions for higher education, helping them to reach self-sufficiency. “[Refugees] not only bring diversity to our state, they also bring innovation, and most importantly they bring dependability to higher-education institutions and to the companies that employ them in Colorado,” writes Yoselin Martin of Boulder.

As a follow-up to the op-ed he wrote for the Boston Globe last week, VFAI leader and US Army veteran Peter Farley created a petition, “They Stood with Us: Save Iraqi Family Under Immediate Threat for Working with U.S. Troops.” Show your support for Pete’s interpreter Wisam and request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expedite processing of his family’s refugee case that was recently approved on a conditional basis.  

For other inspiring stories of service, take a moment to read this incredible piece from our friends at Task and Purpose. The seven service members that they chronicled, perfectly capture the spirit of military service. They also happen to be immigrants. Here are their stories.

Mark your calendars! Veterans for American Ideals and Human Rights First will host “Monsters to Destroy,” or M2D, a multimedia performance tour by filmmaker and comedian Ben Tumin discussing refugee resettlement in the United States. The event will take place February 28th at the DC Drafthouse Comedy Theater from 6-8pm. Purchase tickets here.

Refugee of the Week: With the Super Bowl right around the corner, we’ve decided to highlight an NFL player as our refugee of the week. Pierre Desir was born in Haiti where he lived in a dilapidated one-bedroom apartment that had no indoor plumbing. He arrived in the United States as a Haitian refugee after his family fled the country during the 1994 coup. Today, Pierre Desir is a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.