Our Faith Supports Refugees and Entrants
(The following sign on statement will be distributed to the appropriate members of the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate and the Governor. It will also be shared with press at the appropriate time. Since this issue is a moving target, we intentionally designed this statement of support to be used where needed in the 2017 Legislative Session.)
We, the undersigned, fully support the resettlement partnership that the state of Florida currently has with the federal government. This partnership ensures that resettled refugees and Cuban/Haitian entrants achieve early self-sufficiency and become contributing members of communities throughout our great state. This partnership fulfills our continuing legacy as the nation that provides haven for people fleeing persecution and violence. By it, Floridians demonstrate that our core identity includes welcoming people from around the world to build their home here, and it expresses a profound spiritual value affirmed across many religions to love our neighbor and welcome the immigrant. As Floridians, we know our diverse state population is united in valuing opportunity, freedom, and compassion.
As Floridians, we love our neighbors, welcome newcomers, and help the vulnerable every day. Our congregations and religious communities have long partnered with the local refugee resettlement agencies in our communities. Together with the state's employment and social services programs, we assist recently arrived refugees in achieving self-sufficiency. Like all of us, refugee families want nothing more than to work hard, send their children to school, and establish a home in safety. The refugee program has a limited initial investment done in partnership with the Federal government, the refugee agencies, the broader Florida community, and of course the refugees themselves - and having them resettled in our state pays countless dividends for many years to come.
Our state’s economy is made stronger by being a home for refugees and immigrants. Florida businesses find gifted employees among the strong pool of diverse talent hungry to build a new home. Local economies benefit from apartments rented, homes and cars bought, and spending at local stores. The resiliency of refugees contributes to their success as taxpayers, consumers, business owners, and leaders in a broad range of industries across the state. They enrich our state and represent the values Floridians hold most dear. We celebrate Florida’s support for refugees and entrants, and we are honored to welcome those fleeing from persecution in other countries.
We stand with Florida’s newest residents. As people of faith and goodwill stand united to welcome refugees in the spirit of Leviticus 19:34 (CE), which declares: “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” We honor our own immigrant histories when we welcome refugees today. We affirm the importance of refugee admission and resettlement, and we expect the state of Florida to continue fully implementing this life-saving and community enriching program.
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