January 25, 2021 6:09 AM

Refugee Advocates Launch Opportunity for All Campaign on the Eve of Muslim, Refugee and African Ban Anniversary

WASHINGTON – On the tail of President Joe Biden rescinding the Muslim, refugee and African Ban and on the eve of the anniversary of the bans first being announced in 2017, We Are All America and its partners are launching the Opportunity for All campaign. Opportunity for All is a vibrant, national campaign - led by former refugees, asylees and immigrants - designed to shift social, political and economic conditions so that refugees can achieve their full potential and ensure America remains a nation of opportunity for those seeking freedom, safety and refuge in the United States. The campaign will kick off with a virtual panel discussion between refugee community leaders from across the country, which will take place on Jan. 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The Opportunity for All campaign is spearheaded by We Are All America, a refugee organizing alliance housed at the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). In addition to NPNA, We Are All America’s national partners include Alianza Americas, Church World Service, Human Rights First, Refugee Congress, the Refugee Advocacy Lab, Refugee Council USA, and Welcoming America.

"After organizing to push back against anti-Muslim and anti-refugee policies over the past four years, we are buoyed by the rapid rescission of the Muslim, refugee and African bans by the Biden administration on the first day of his Presidency," said Basma Alawee, chair of the campaign and former refugee from Iraq. "While the Administration is poised to increase refugee resettlement numbers to 125,000, we must also ensure that every person who calls America home has the social, economic, and political conditions to reach their full potential."

"Opportunity for All is poised to impact change immediately in at least 10 states through pro-refugee policy initiatives," said Oregon State Senator Kayse Jama, a former refugee from Somalia and the first Muslim in the Oregon legislature. "The very first bill I am drafting this session is for a new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement. Refugees bring resilience, strength, innovation and knowledge that often remain untapped, and this new office would ensure we remove barriers to social and economic advancement and create an environment in our state where immigrants and refugees can truly thrive."

"At the national level, Opportunity for All will focus on economic opportunity and an equitable recovery as well as ensuring we remain a nation of refuge, promise and hope," added Nejra Sumic, We Are All America’s national field manager, who arrived in the United States as a refugee from Bosnia. "Refugees have always been part of the American story. It is time we recognize this. Through Opportunity for All, we will work to create communities in which we are recognized and supported as valued members of the American family."