Want to help? View resource guide to assist refugees in San Diego County
By Miriam Raftery
June 26, 2022 (San Diego) – In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released a video announcing expanded help to resettle refugees in the U.S. He also called on nations around the world as well as people and organizations across the U.S. to come together to assist those fleeing violence and oppression.
“The U.N. (United Nations) has found that more than 100 million people around the world have been forced from their homes—the highest figure since the world started tracking such numbers,” Secretary Blinken said. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the situation worse, forcing over 6 million Ukrainians to be displaced.
The theme of this year’s World Refugee Day was “the right to seek safety.”
Secretary Blinken recalled the late Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, who fled “both Nazis and communists” before arriving as a refugee and finding safe refuge in America.
He recalled at a ceremony honoring newly naturalized citizens, one new citizen remarked that he could hardly believe he was meeting the Secretary of State. Albright replied, “Can you believe that a refugee is Secretary of State?”
To help the growing number of refugees, he said, “We are expanding and modernizing our refugee admissions program and urge every government to do the same.”
Blinken said the Biden administration has raised the number of refugees who will be admitted annually to 125,000. In addition, the federal government has increased staffing to assist refugees and is now using video conferencing to interview refugees in hard-to-reach locations.
The U.S. is also piloting a new public-private partnership program for communities to come together to sponsor refugees, Blinken announced.
He praised the success of resettling 75,000 Afghan refugees in the U.S. in just months as an “extraordinary scale” effort. He added that the U.S. hopes to admit 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, noting that nearly 30,000 Ukrainians arrived here since the war begin in late February.
While the U.S. has drawn praise from refugee advocates for its recent efforts on behalf of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, some have criticized the federal government for not showing equal attention to the plight of refugees from Central America, Mexico and Haiti – many of whom have been waiting at the international border for months or even years in hopes of having asylum hearings.
Secretary Blinken said all parts of society should help welcome refugees including nonprofits, local governments, private companies, Facebook and other social media groups, and religious institutions. He indicated a recent survey found one in five Americans have taken action to welcome refugees in the past year and another 14 percent would like to do so, if they knew how. Blinken said investing in refugees is investing in our communities long term, citing the contributions of former refugees such as Albright.
“There is reason for optimism,” he concluded. “There is a lot more we can and must do to meet the current global crisis, including here in the U.S.”
How you can help refugees in San Diego County
The four officially designated refugee resettlement agencies in our region are:
- International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org/united-states/san-diego-ca
- Alliance for African Assistance: https://www.alliance-for-africa.org/
- Jewish Family Service: https://www.jfssd.org/our-services/refugees-immigration/
- Catholic Charities of San Diego: https://www.alliance-for-africa.org/
More organizations helping refugees locally:
San Diego Interfaith Council lists more groups that support refugees locally: