President Obama has committed the United States to taking in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year. The process for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program is administered by the U.S. Departments of State (State), Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS).
The process includes application, screening, placement and resettlement. In our region, the refugee resettlement service provider is Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington, which will facilitate the refugee’s transition into the United States through financial and medical assistance, case management services, employment services, and other services.
While there is no official role for Arlington County government in resettlement decisions, we have expressed interest in serving as a receiving community for refugees. Read the Arlington County Board Statement on Syrian Refugees.
How you can help
The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) is the best resource for finding up-to-date information on the relief effort and to identify relief and charitable organizations that are working to address this humanitarian crisis.
Financial donations to assist Syrian and other refugees that are resettled in Virginia and locally can be made to:
Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington
P.O. Box 1900
Merrifield, VA 22116-1900
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is coordinating collection of blankets and children’s coats for the refugee families of Syria and Iraq. Items collected are shipped to families in need. Donations can be made until Dec. 4 at locations around the region, including two in Arlington.
Arlington is a welcoming community
In 2007, the Arlington County Board adopted a resolution supporting Arlington newcomers.
“Arlington will be a diverse and inclusive world-class urban community with secure, attractive residential and commercial neighborhoods where people unite to form a caring, learning, participating, sustainable community in which each person is important.”
Arlington government services available
For those refugees that are placed in Arlington County, direct services could be provided through our existing programs .Through the Department of Human Services’ Community Outreach Program (COP), free services are provided at our outreach centers to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community, including:
- Citizenship classes and workshops
- English language classes
- Computer classes
- Job readiness training
- Food and nutrition classes
- Health screenings and services
Services are provided in Arabic, among other languages. In addition to program implementation for education and skill development, staff work on an individual basis with participants, connecting them to appropriate resources and benefits for which they are qualified. The COP will work with the community, and with Catholic Charities, to determine which programs and services would be helpful for those refugees that are placed in Arlington County.
Driven by the Syrian government’s use of force to suppress pro-democracy protests that began in March 2011, Syria has been engulfed in an ongoing civil war. As a result, more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed and a massive humanitarian crisis has ensued. Over half of the Syrian population — over 12 million people — are now refugees. Of this 12 million, over 4 million have fled Syria altogether, many of them women and children. In the beginning, the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey saw the majority of these new arrivals. In the past year, as conditions worsened, hundreds of thousands of refugees have attempted to reach Europe via very hazardous sea or overland routes.
Much of the actual aid work for Syrian refugees is being conducted by the United Nations and other international and non-governmental organizations. Over the course of the last couple of years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been working to increase the commitments of nations in Europe and beyond to accept these refugees. In addition to contributing $1.6 billion in FY15 funds, and $4.5 billion total to date, President Obama has committed the United States to taking in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year.
The process for the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program is administered by the U.S. Departments of State (State), Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS). The process includes application, screening, placement and resettlement. Today, all refugees are subject to the highest level of security screening of any category of traveler to the U.S.