On the afternoon of December 6, 2015 in the Winchester Public Library’s Large Meeting room, the Winchester Multicultural Network sponsored an information session on the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The session, facilitated by Deirdre Giblin, Esq., an asylum attorney at Community Legal Services and Counseling Center in Cambridge, was well attended by over 60 people. The presentation was informative, outlining the ways various government agencies are helping resettle Syrian refugees in this country.
Attorney Giblin highlighted human rights and immigration law governing the situation and discussed how our community can help refugees and their families. She put the current crisis in perspective in relation to how the U.S. has handled other refugee crises in the recent past. Attorney Giblin pointed out how complicated it is for families who are separated to be reunited. The process is long and take several years.
During the Q & A, audience members asked many thoughtful questions among them the distinction between status of migrant due to economic situation and refugee due to persecution, how to do advocacy work, finding about refugees coming into the area, and how to gather information on what individual and family needs are. Ms. Giblin expanded on their concerns and gave detailed answers. Feedback after the session was positive with some remarking that her talk and accompanying slides clarified this complex and pressing situation.
As faith communities address the refugee crisis, each within their separate congregations, it was suggested that the Multicultural Network follow up on participants’ interest in helping outside of, or in addition to, those venues.
Please contact the Network if you are interested in further dialog on how we as a community might best use our talents and resources to help.