Background: We are a country with a proud legacy of refugees and immigrants who helped found this nation, and we recognize the valuable contributions they bring to Virginia’s communities and the economy. Refugees are vital to the continuing prosperity of our communities – they pay taxes, help grow our economy, and bring unique skill sets, experiences, and insights.
Your voice matters. We need bold leadership in Virginia to strengthen our ability to help all refugees integrate and thrive in their new communities. We urge Virginia’s policymakers to take action to support refugees’ integration through workforce development initiatives, to make critical initial investments in the long-term integration and economic success of new Americans, including individuals and families who are rebuilding lives after surviving violence, persecution, and trauma, and to improve access to housing for all community members, new Americans and U.S.-born communities alike.
Tell Your Virginia State Delegates and Senators to Welcome Refugees and Invest in Our Communities’ Capacity to Help Them Integrate and Thrive
Click “Send Email” on the right to contact your Delegates and Senators!
Make sure to insert personalized details in [BRACKETS].
Sample Email: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and [as a person of faith/immigrant/refugee], I urge you to strengthen Virginia’s resettlement program and invest in our capacity to welcome refugees and new Afghan arrivals who were evacuated following the U.S. withdrawal. We are a country with a proud legacy of refugees and immigrants who helped found this nation, and we recognize the valuable contributions they bring to Virginia’s communities and the economy. Refugees are vital to the continuing prosperity of our communities – they pay taxes, help grow our economy, and bring unique skill sets, experiences, and insights. Virginia is an important destination for many refugees and Afghan evacuees, and I am looking to your leadership to help support their long-term integration and economic success.
I urge you to support the following priorities during the 2022 legislative session:
- Support and pass the provisional teacher licensure bill (HB 979 / SB 68), championed by Delegate Kathy Tran and Senator Barbara Favola. Many refugees remain unable to fully contribute their talents to the workforce because of systemic barriers, including the lack of recognition of their international education and experience, outdated occupational and professional re-credentialing processes, and insufficient access to meaningful workforce development and adult education services. Over the last three years, the number of unfilled teaching positions across Virginia has spiked by nearly 62%. Virginia teacher shortages also spiked during the COVID pandemic. This bill addresses the underutilization of refugee talent to strengthen our education system.
- Support the Governor’s budget request for a total of $8 million for the Office of New Americans to invest in our communities to help refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants integrate and thrive. Over the last five years, Virginia’s resettlement program was significantly cut, devastating families awaiting reunification, shutting out many of those most in need, and forcing employers who have relied on refugee workers to face continued labor shortages. With the U.S. commitment to rebuilding the resettlement program and Virginia’s role in welcoming thousands of Afghan evacuees, you have a critical role to play in investing in community wholeness and ensuring new arrivals have their basic needs met.
- Support three budget proposals to help Virginians have access to affordable housing, including (a) $300 million for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund to build new affordable housing units and prevent homelessness, (b) rental assistance for those needing but not receiving federal assistance, and (c) $10 million to create a Restorative Housing Pilot Program to increase homeownership among populations who have been historically excluded from homeownership opportunities.
My community welcomes refugees, and I urge you to uphold our moral imperative to welcome the sojourner and care for the most vulnerable among us. Thank you.”
Amplify on Social Media
Use and share widely the sample social media posts. Here’s a social media graphics folder you can use:
☑️help grow our economy
☑️bring unique skills & insights
- 📢Calling all Virginia policymakers! Refugees are vital to the prosperity of our communities and Virginia is an important destination for many refugees & Afghan evacuees arriving in the U.S. We MUST take action to help them integrate and thrive in their new home.
- America has a proud legacy of welcoming our neighbors, and we need bold leadership to provide the support they need to thrive in their new homes.
We urge policymakers in Virginia to support refugee integration and invest in the U.S.’s capacity for the welcome!
Thank you for taking action!