Refugee crisis: - LibertiUSA

Refugee crisis:

We need to incentivize companies to create jobs if we are to welcome more refugees in America.

If you think the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe is only an “across-the-pond” problem, think again. The United States has contributed over $4 billion in humanitarian assistance since the Syrian crisis began, and projects to give over $1 billion this year. The US already accepts roughly 70,000 legal refugees a year through our resettlement program. And, just today, President Obama announced we will accept at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year.

“I believe it is a good thing Americans are a generous and compassionate people. After all, our country was largely created from immigrants and those fleeing the persecution of their homelands. But today the discussion only focuses on political posturing and more government spending rather than supporting business initiatives to help refugees rebuild their lives here in America,” said co-founder Pamela Shelpuk.

And, in fact, experts agree with her. In its 2013 report to Congress, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) reported, government policies and programs for refugee resettlement costs are running over $10 billion per year. We cannot continue down this path without a strong “pro-business” plan to support expanding on our current program,” said Shelpuk.

While there will always be those who will argue over the idea of accepting more refugees, the US certainly has the resources and space to take in more. But we need to incentivize startups, small businesses and multinational corporations to hire, train and empower these refugees to become assets in our communities. Refugees not only bring diversity to our neighborhoods, but they provide economic opportunities through their pursuit of the American Dream.

We need to remember why Lady Liberty is one of the world’s most recognized symbols of hope, opportunity and freedom. Our country’s creativity, ingenuity and capitalistic economy have helped create a long list of refugee success stories such as Hungarian refugee and former Intel Chairman Andy Grove, Cuban refugee and former Secretary of Commerce and Kellogg CEO Carlos Gutierrez, and the numerous Asian refugees and now-founders of prominent US high-tech companies. They’re all shining examples of refugees who’ve made the most of opportunities available to them here in the United States, and have contributed to our country’s industrial dominance.

Our goal at Liberti is to create a social movement in this country that supports a unique “for-profit” social business model, embracing all refugees as an asset to our country. Our Liberti Creators are resettled refugees in America who take pride in the style and integrity of each and every piece of jewelry made. Your purchase impacts these women by providing them with a living wage and the opportunity to share in the profits. Many of our refugee women come from war-torn and poverty-stricken regions of Asia such as Nepal, Burma and Bhutan, where they faced unspeakable acts of brutality, persecution and devastating natural disasters.

Liberti’s home state of Colorado embraces thousands of newly resettled refugees every year, and we’re excited to live in a place that actively supports social enterprises. Please help us change the conversation in Washington and around this country to ensure opportunities exist for all newly arrived resettled refugees. They don’t need another handout. They need a hand up. Help us carry the torch to empower these lives with a socially responsible business that not only provides a living wage, but also a chance to share in the profits.

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January 21, 2016

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