Travel Ban Upheld: Now What for Refugees?

The US Supreme Court has narrowly ruled in favor of President Trump’s travel ban, ending more than a year of legal challenges.

The latest version impacts immigrants, refugees, and visitors from five majority-Muslim nations, as well as Venezuela and North Korea. Two of the affected countries, Syria and Yemen, have endured years of brutal civil war, forcing millions to run for their lives.

We’re not here to debate the travel ban or Supreme Court ruling. The question we need to ask right now is this:

If refugees can’t come here, and they can’t go home, what CAN they do?

Even before today’s court ruling, refugees from war-torn countries were effectively locked out of America. From January to April 2018, the US resettled 11 refugees from Syria, 29 from Iraq (which was removed from the original travel ban), and zero from Yemen.

They can’t come here.

But they can’t go home, either. Even in Iraq, where fighting has largely stopped, millions have no homes left to go back to, or no basic services like water and electricity to make their homes livable.

Meanwhile, war is still raging in parts of Syria and in Yemen, with no end in sight. More than half of Syria’s entire population has fled their homes. Many have had to flee from one conflict zone to another.

The travel ban stands, meaning they can’t come here.

War still rages, meaning they can’t go home.

So what can they do? More importantly, what can we—you and us together—do?

We can show up.

We’ve been serving war-torn families here in Iraq for a decade. This year alone, you’ve provided more than half a million liters of water for displaced families and over 210,000 medical consultations. You’ve equipped and maintained community medical centers in and around Mosul.

You’ve been on the ground in Syria for over two years, providing food and shelter for those on the run in Aleppo, Ghouta, and Deir ez-Zor. You’ve helped rebuild bombed-out homes and restore electricity for entire neighborhoods. You’ve helped keep vulnerable families warm through the winter.

RELATED: Why Refugees Can’t Go Home and What to Do About it

You’ve started businesses and created jobs for hundreds of displaced Syrians and Iraqis, equipping them with high-demand skills and putting them back to work, right where they are.

And we are actively pursuing a way into Yemen, where three-quarters of the country is in dire need after more than three years of war.

This is not about rhetoric or talk. This is about real-world, frontline, on-the-ground impact you can have in a refugee’s life.

We can stay.

Despite renewed attention on President Trump’s travel ban, interest in the people impacted by it has faded. The world is paying considerably less attention to the plight of our displaced friends in places like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Most of the cameras are gone. Other charities are leaving, their budgets drying up.

We’re not going anywhere. We are digging in, with you.

Together, we can be the kind of people who stay, even as the rest of the world moves on.

We can refuse the status quo.

Many of our refugee friends have resigned themselves to the impossible situation they find themselves in. This is their future, trapped between two closed doors.

Overcrowded camps are their new normal. Abandoned buildings are their new normal. Misery is their the new normal.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Not if we refuse to give up. We can empower refugees right where they are.

They may be unable to come to the US. They may be unable to return home. But we can help them get back to a place of stability. We can help them start new business and create new jobs. We can provide access to essential services—water, electricity, medical care—right where they are.

We refuse to believe in impossible situations. Because the people of Iraq, Syria, and Yemen deserve more than that. They are capable of achieving so much more for their families than a dead-end future.

They just need someone to believe it with them.

If you don’t want war, travel bans, or Supreme Court rulings to have the last word over their lives, please show up with us.

Join The Frontline, our monthly giving community, and make a lasting difference in the lives of our refugee friends. Help them rebuild their lives, right where they are—providing food, water, and medicine for now, and jobs, income, and hope for a lifetime.

Help provide a future in which they can flourish.

Policies come and go. But your love stands the test of time. Let’s create a new future for our refugee friends, together.