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We the undersigned strongly support the resettlement of refugees in our communities and around Missouri. We wish to extend a welcoming hand to refugees who are admitted to our country from around the world, especially now when the number of refugees displaced globally is rising to historic levels.

Newcomers expected to arrive through the U.S. Refugee Program in the coming year include vulnerable women and children, members of families torn apart by war and persecution, Christians and other religious minorities, and those who have fought along-side our American troops overseas. Friends and family members of refugees already living in our communities may well be among the population which is eligible for resettlement.

By welcoming such refugees and giving them and their children a chance to grow up in a land of freedom and opportunity, we reinforce the best aspects of our nation’s heritage. Meanwhile, refugees provide our communities and state with new population, raising the tax base and enriching our cultural landscape.

Our neighbors include Ukrainian, Congolese, Tanzanian, and Burmese refugees. Today, they are home owners, successful entrepreneurs, and along with their children have become essential to the very fiber of our communities. They are indisputably a net economic gain.

Economics aside, refugees also personify values which Americans extoll — courage, resiliency, and tenacity. They come to our communities to get on with meaningful lives in a secure setting, not to receive a handout. In this sense, their journey mirrors that of countless Americans and their ancestors. In welcoming refugees, we reinforce the best aspects of our nation’s heritage.

There are presently a record 26 million refugees around the world. The U.S. has traditionally filled a unique role in helping to protect these vulnerable people, through overseas financial support and U.S. resettlement of well-vetted refugees who have successfully completed the world’s most stringent refugee security assessment.

We urge our elected officials, statewide and local, to continue to welcome the stranger by granting your support for continued refugee resettlement in our state and communities.

The resettlement program is a crucial element of our nation’s humanitarian, foreign policy and national security strategies and reflects the very best in American history and values. A thoughtful, well-planned program assures that at least some of those forced to flee their homes in countries around the world have a safe and legal pathway to refuge.

Refugees have historically been welcomed to our great state. Let’s continue that tradition. Welcoming the stranger is the right thing to do.

The following are standing with the International Institute of Southwest Missouri:

Access Family Care
Ozark Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC)
Life 360 International Church
Multipli Credit Union
Springfield Greene County Library District
Vida Abundante Neosho, MO

Dave A. Baxter
Kris Baxter
Taylor Brandt
Cheryl Clay
Saehee Duran
Regina Eckley
Janet Gleason
Carl Gleason
Kari Hoggard
Ruthanne Hoggard
Terry Hoggard
Tara Holcomb
Jason Holcomb
Kennedy Ongaga
Nancy Masner
Don McBride
Rebekah Moran
Benjamin Moranga
Jennifer Morrison
Dacia Reid
Toni Robinson, NAACP President
Lauren Rogers
Carl Rosenkranz
Kimberly Shinn-Brown
Dr. Brian R. Swenson
Jennifer Swenson
Don Underwood

Contact Rebekah Thomas at to request that your name as an organization or individual be added to this statement.