by Ruth Kramer
Mission Network News
...You might be wondering how this can be done with the world’s largest ongoing humanitarian refugee crisis underway, or how to measure success. Admittedly, these are questions for which no one has an answer other than to point out: “What choice do we have?”
It’s important to note that since the crisis burst onto the world’s consciousness, more and more people are beginning to respond. Bethany Christian Services says some of those refugees have been brought to Michigan. Kristine Van Noord, the Program Manager for Refugee Adult and Family Services, says, ”Michigan, so far, has resettled 162 Syrian refugees. There are some of those refugees that have family members in the Detroit area. So that’s one reason [they’re coming to Michigan]. The other reason is that here in Grand Rapids, for example, the local community has really said, ‘We want to resettle Syrian refugees.’”
In fact, adds Van Noord, “Here in Grand Rapids, there is a Syrian–American community that really wants to get involved in helping the Syrian refugees, and then a large Christian community that wants to help, as well.” There are other reasons Syrian refugees are coming to Michigan. Some have family in the Detroit area, which is home to a large Arabic community. Michigan isn’t alone in responding, says Van Noord. “So far, in the United States, the largest states resettling refugees have been Texas, Michigan, California, Illinois, and Arizona.”
However, it’s a drop in the bucket, compared to the need. Right now there are over 4 million Syrian refugees and 8 million displaced within Syria. Yet, the U.S. has welcomed less than 1500 this year. Van Noord acknowledges that “the U.S. has committed to taking up to 10,000 refugees, and it’s just not enough out of 4 million.” By comparison, “Germany is taking 835,000. We’re asking the U.S. government to do more. There is a petition...” Click here for that petition.