Global refugee crisis

“The global refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time,” says Chris George, executive director of IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) in New Haven. “Every day desperate refugees risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea,” writes George, noting that nearly 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes, four million Syrians have fled their country, and more than 5,000 Eritreans flee every month. Despite the overwhelming scale of this tragedy, George says that the United States has been slow to respond, “even though we have an active nationwide network of refugee-resettlement agencies that could immediately be mobilized to welcome thousands more refugees desperately in need of help.” IRIS is one of those agencies.


On Friday, April 15, at 1 p.m., George will tell you how IRIS helps refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. As George explains, refugees are invited by the United States government to start a new life in the U.S. as permanent residents. They have all the necessary documents and a legal right to work. He will describe how the resettlement program works and explain why the vetting process takes two years. He will also tell you about the multitude of services IRIS offers. A program of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, IRIS resettles approximately 200 refugees each year, and also provides some services to asylum seekers and other immigrants. Come learn more about refugee resettlement, what George calls, “one of our country’s most noble traditions.”



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