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October 2019
Arrival of Hashmatulallah Dost
September 26, 2019
Greeting Hashmatullah Dost (center) were his friend and RAMP family member, Akhtar Muniri (front), and RAMP mentor, Mark Brumbaugh (back). Hashmatullah is 26 and single. RAMP has secured housing for him in Morris County.

RAMP Update

Plight of refugees topic of RAMP's
September 24th meeting 

Left to right: Tom Lewis, RAMP; Megan Johnson, CWS; Alison Millan, IRC; Gerry Gannon, RAMP
Listening to the political commentary on TV and reading print media and online news, the daily crisis of immigrants seeking asylum and the worldwide refugee migration pulled at the heartstrings of a group of humanitarians in the Morris County area. In 2016, they organized and resolved to become a force for resettling as many refugees as possible.
 
RAMP (Refugee Assistance Morris Partners) has chosen to focus on assisting vetted Middle Eastern and other refugee families as they transition to productive lives of dignity, safety, and hope here in the Morris County area.
 
At a recent RAMP meeting (Sep. 24) Allison Millan, resettlement director, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Megan Johnson, associate director/immigration and refugee program, Church World Services (CWS), updated RAMP members on current policies and activities. Unfortunately, the news was not promising for displaced people who look to the US for relief from life-threatening situations and/or poverty.
 
CWS will not be receiving refugees this coming year. IRC will pick up the support for refugees. Instead, CWS will provide support to asylum-seeking families who have been detained. Johnson, who works closely with asylees, noted that due to the increase in their numbers, the over population of US immigration detention centers has resulted.
 
Helping asylees has become more complicated by the US Government’s ban on people who have traveled through another country to get to the US, who now have to apply to that country for asylum.
 
Johnson and Millan talked about the indignities asylees are subjected to. Such as overcrowded dorms, never acknowledging their names but being identified by bed number, being handcuffed, also the use of ankle shackles if the need for medical help in a hospital arises. In addition they suffer terrible food, little contact with the outside world, and shoddy health care. The detention centers have become more like prisons where they are held for months or years until their case is heard.


Johnson and a few staff members and many volunteers provide much-needed services that include temporary housing, clothing, and other necessities. “We also provide help in preparing the necessary paperwork and finding funding to pay a lawyer and the necessary fees,
and cost of a green card, as well as other expenses incurred in launching their journey into their new life. Needless to say, we are continually seeking funds to continue our work.”

According to the Center for Health Progress, the Trump administration has finalized a change to immigration rules that forces families to choose between the things they need and the people they love. It would make accessing public benefit programs that help families thrive - - programs like Medicaid, SNAP food assistance, public housing, among others - - a disqualifier for immigration. The result: a sicker, hungrier, poorer nation, and an enormous step backwards from achieving health equity.

It is important to note that the new rules will not go into effect before October 1, 2019 and may be delayed further due to litigation. No changes will occur before the rules go into effect. Medicaid, SNAP, and housing benefits used before the effective date will not be considered under the new rule.

The “public charge” rule is currently used in a very narrow way to deny entry to the US, a green card, or other legal status.

Since 2016, RAMP has sponsored four families and one single man from Syria and Afghanistan, supporting them as they find lives of safety and prosperity in Morris County. 

President Trump’s administration announced that the number of refugees accepted in the coming year would be slashed to a record low of 18,000. This is drastically lower than the previous all-time low of 27,000 refugees admitted after the 9/11 attack.
 
The United Nations refugee agency says there 70.8 million people are forcibly displaced around the world. Nearly 26 million of these are refugees, with 57% of these coming from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. In the face of this worldwide crisis, Millan said the U.S. for the past 30 years was a world leader in accepting refugees, “but I am disheartened that Canada has surpassed us as a harbor for refugees.”
 
RAMP leader, Gerry Gannon said, “RAMP plans to do what it can to support the refugee/asylee mission in spite of the bleak outlook for significant numbers of new cases.”


Marie Pfeiffer
RAMP Public Relations Committee
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Refugee Assistance Morris Partners · PO Box 1544 · Morristown, NJ 07960 · USA

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