How we treat refugees says something about us

refugeesby Aleta Payne,

Scott Phillips can talk about the numbers in his work, but he’d rather tell you about the people.

As director of the North Carolina office of the nonprofit U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, he understands that too many zeros become overwhelming.

Instead, Phillips shares the small, important stories of the child who arrived as a refugee to Wake County less than a year ago but recently excelled in a school play. Or the former client who founded his own nonprofit to help refugees and immigrants with employment services. Or the Committee colleagues who came to this country as refugees and now help others as their life’s work.

But the statistics matter, too, like how every couple of days, worldwide, the number of displaced people approaches the population of Chapel Hill.

New policies have capped how many refugees the U.S. will accept at 45,000 this year, down from 85,000 in 2017, and across North Carolina in 2018, agencies may see one-third of the 2,000 people who were resettled here a year ago, a number that had already dropped significantly from 2016. Most of those who have come to our state as refugees in the last decade have made their homes in Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte.  …read more


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