WHAT IS A REFUGEE?
A refugee is someone who was forced to flee their home country to find safety, and cannot return or are afraid to return because of war, persecution, genocide, violence, or other attrocities. Refugees are not economic immigrants. They have been forced to choose between fleeing their homes or death. Leaving home is never an easy choice to make, but doing what is necessary to protect your family is. In 2018, the number of refugees reached 25.9 million worldwide, 500,000 more than in 2017.
WHAT ARE ASYLUM SEEKERS?
From a legal standpoint, individuals and families who have not yet been granted refugee status are asylum seekers.
WHY ARE FAMILIES SEEKING ASYLUM COMING TO OUR SOUTHERN US BORDER?
Thousands of families have made the perilous journey through Mexico from Guatemala, Hondouras, El Salvador, and Venezuela—countries that rank among the top for murder rates in 2018—seeking the safety of legal asylum in the US. Many are hoping to reunite with family members already living here.
Violence and political upheaval in their home countries has created a humanitarian crisis. Gangs in the region use violence and sexual abuse against women and girls as as means of extortion and control over their families. Forced to face violence and death or flee, many have no choice but to head north. Often, they join with other families making the trek for the minimal safety provided by caravans.
HOW CAN YOU BE SURE LHI AID SHIPMENTS ARE GETTING TO ASYLUM SEEKERS AT THE BORDER? I’VE HEARD AID IS GETTING TURNED AWAY.
When asylum seekers arrive at the border, they are held at detention centers and put through preliminary processing before being dropped off at various different locations along the border. There, generous nonprofit organizations and churches provide varying services, such as a warm meal, a shower, and a place to stay for a short time while they figure out how to get to where they are going. We have teamed up with Church World Service to vet and select six partner shelters to which we send shipments, ensuring that the aid supplies make it into the hands of asylum seekers in need.
COULD FAMILIES SEEKING ASYLUM JUST STAY AT SHELTERS IN MEXICO?
Remaining in Mexico is not a safe alternative. Violence is on the rise there, with more than 33,000 homicide investigations opened in 2018—a 33% increase from the previous year. A survey released in April 2019 by the International Rescue Committee revealed that people residing in Mexican shelters are in danger of being kidnapped, sexually abused, and recruited by gangs. Women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ community are at the greatest risk for violence, and women and children are targets for human traffickers.
ARE REFUGEES SEEKING ASYLUM DANGEROUS?
Refugees are heavily vetted via a long and difficult process. There is no reason to be afraid. No refugee from any country has committed an act of terrorism in the US. Statistically speaking, driving down the road with your seatbelt on is more dangerous than allowing the world’s most trodden people to enter our borders. These are everyday people just like us, who want the same thing we want—the ability to provide for their family and live in peace.
DOES LHI GIVE MONEY TO REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS?
No, all donations of funds to LHI are directed toward our programs and used to purchase aid supplies that meet the most urgent needs of refugees and asylum seekers around the world. Monetary donations also enable LHI to run robust programs that focus on education, health and hygiene,
WHERE DO HUMANITARIAN AID SUPPLIES DONATED TO LHI GO?
LHI has a humanitarian aid warehouse in American Fork, Utah. All aid supplies donated to LHI (either directly collected or purchased through our Amazon Wish List), come to our warehouse to be sorted, packed, and shipped to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, and Bangladesh. LHI recently expanded our humanitarian aid mission to include families who are fleeing violence in Central and South America and seeking asylum in the US.
DOES LHI RUN REFUGEE CAMPS?
LHI does not run refugee camps (but we do run a refugee center just outside of a refugee camp in Serres, Greece). This is a common misconception, but the refugee situation is complicated, so it’s easy to understand why there is confusion. LHI is an impact-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to providing clear and meaningful ways for you, your family, and your community to help refugees at home and abroad. With your help, we meet the most immediate and vital needs of thousands of refugee families. With minimal overhead and a legion of volunteers, we fill gaps and rapidly adapt to conditions on the ground in ways larger organizations often can’t. Click on the button below to learn more about the programs and services we provide.
HOW CAN I HELP?
There are so many ways to get involved and help. Click on the button below to see a complete list of the ways you can help today!