Refugees in need of resettlement are highly vulnerable both before coming to the U.S. and after arrival. Before coming, they are in various levels of danger of persecution and often are trapped in refugee camps with limited food, clothing and health care and no prospects for employment or self-sufficiency. They often face horrible situations in the camps. This includes among other things military or bandit attacks, unsafe water, rape and other abuse. Upon arrival in the U.S., a refugee family is still highly vulnerable. If someone were not there to meet them at the airport, they would start out homeless. This would mean being in a shelter or other difficult living arrangement most likely without interpreters to help. They would not know where to go to get there basic needs met such as housing, food, clothing and medical care. They would be at the mercy of anyone who wanted to take advantage of them.
That's why we work to make sure their basic needs are met when they arrive at the Pasco Airport. This includes making sure they have housing, food and basic furnishings and household items ready and waiting. We also assist them in applying for Social Security cards and DSHS assistance. Cultural orientation is another importat part of our initial help. The families quickly need to learn to shop on their own and get around the Tri-Cities by bus. We also make sure the children get enrolled in school and help the adults enroll in English classes and find their first job. Everyone in the family receives a health screening soon after arrival. This is just some of what we do to help the new families. Please also see our Employment & Immigration pages for more information.
Refugee Resettlement is at the heart of what our office does and an important part of Christian living. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 is one of the many passages that show how important refugee resettlement should be to Christians. “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt." Many other passages echo this heart of God for the poor and the Christian’s responsibility to help those in need. In addition, the Scriptures are clear that we cannot just go through the motions of helping people. We need to love them. Galatians 5:14 is one of many verses that teach this. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." To love someone there is generally some type of relationship with them. There is also the desire to help them succeed. This is the scriptural foundation for our goals to build strong relationships and to empower refugees to go beyond the help we can provide. One of the ways we live out this goal is by pairing volunteer mentors with new refugee families. Please see our Get Involved/Volunteer page for more information about how you can help.