Last Friday, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” This executive order shut down the US Refugee Admissions Program for at least 120 days. During that time, no refugee from any country will be allowed to enter the United States. Syrian refugees are barred from entering the United States indefinitely. After the 120-day period ends, the President ordered the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize refugee claims based on religion when the individual applying belongs to a minority religion in their home country. If the Refugee Program is allowed to continue after 120 days, the order also decreases the number of all refugees that can enter the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
In addition, the Executive Order bans individuals from 7 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days. This ban includes refugees, people seeking to live permanently in the U.S., or even those just trying to visit for vacation or a business trip.
This Executive Order will keep tens of thousands of innocent people from seeking safety in the US. Most are fleeing from violence that has destroyed their home countries. At any time, this administration is likely to add many more countries to the list of those whose citizens are no longer allowed to come to the United States.
TASSC survivors are confused and frightened by this new Executive Order and any new similar measures that would directly affect themselves and their families. As such, this is the time that TASSC supporters and other human rights and pro-immigrant Americans need to tell their elected representatives that this Executive Order is wrong as it totally shuts the door to those who flee torture and persecution. Members of Congress do pay attention to their constituents and to the many emails, phone calls, letters and congressional visits in their districts. Congressional staff keep a record of the number of emails, letters and phone calls they receive on an issue.
TASSC encourages you to take action by contacting your Members of Congress by email or phone. To do so, please follow these simple steps:
Identify your Senators and Representative
Go to this website, then type in your address. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Learn about the views of your Senators and Representative
Visit the website of your Congress Members or other media sources to learn about their position on different issues that affect our survivors and immigrant communities.
Send an Email
You can email both your Senators and your Representative.
-Choose your topic (like immigration) and craft your message. You may have to include your nine-digit zip code which you can find at https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action
-If you are asked whether you want a response, of course say “yes.”
-This is an example of a message you can send your Senator or Representative, but please use your own words and make it personal if possible. You may want to write a sentence about asylum seekers, refugees or immigrants you know personally.
I work/volunteer/support with torture survivors, mostly from Africa, at the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), a non-profit located in Washington DC that has served thousands of survivors since it was founded in 1998. The survivors, almost all professionals, were persecuted because they "dared" to speak out for democracy or human rights, exposed government corruption, refused to join their country's ruling party or because of their sexual orientation. They are confused and frightened by this new Executive Order implementing a ban preventing refugees from entering the country. Please speak out AGAINST this Executive Order and FOR the U.S. values of diversity, openness to the world, tolerance and religious freedom that have made America great. And, please make sure our country continues to be a refuge for asylum-seekers who still believe in its promise of freedom.
1. Visit the website of your Member of Congress to find their Washington DC phone number.
2. Call during business hours. Tell the receptionist your opinion on the issue in just a few words, and say you want the Congress Member to do something.
If you want to have an even bigger impact, you can share your message in person by visiting your congressional office in the district, alone or with other constituents.