World Refugee Day & Ending Family Separation


In a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees. To do this, the United Nations Refugee Agency launched the #WithRefugees petition in June 2016 to send a message to governments that they must work together and do their fair share for refugees.

On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

At Habitat, we've been honored to share in the journeys of refugee families seeking a safer, more humane existence here in New York's Capital District. We've built alongside moms and dads who fled violence in their homelands, survived in refugee camps and ultimately were granted asylum in our country. In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the separation of families at our nation's borders. Where is home? Home is where your heart is. And right now, hearts are being ripped open and hollowed out at the southern U.S. border. We join Habitat International's CEO Jonathan Reckford and leaders from 13 other major nonprofit organizations in urging the “Trump administration to immediately stop this wrong and immoral policy.”

Statement from 14 of the nation's largest nonprofit CEOs: Administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy harmful to children

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2018) — In a statement from 14 CEOs from some of the nation's largest and most influential human service nonprofits, nonprofit leaders noted:

“Separating immigrant children from their parents when they come to the border should never be a part of American policy. On behalf of the human services sector, representing more than 5 million staff and volunteers, we call on the Trump administration to immediately stop this wrong and immoral policy, that has resulted in more than 2000 children being needlessly separated from their parents while their parents are being processed at our borders. Furthermore, we call on the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to take immediate steps to restore connections between the infants, toddlers and teens who are currently in custody and their family members who are awaiting processing, including regular visitation and communication. The standards of care for these children must be equal to that expected in our current child welfare system, which at a minimum, should include access to a safe environment appropriate for families, age-appropriate services including education, trauma-informed mental and other health services, and family-based legal and immigration counseling. We urge the administration and Congress to immediately put into place the laws, processes and resources that will ensure the health, safety and well-being of children and not be harmful and traumatizing to them, and stand ready to work with them to implement such policies. We must ensure all of our actions are grounded in the humanitarian values we have long held as a nation.”

Signers include: Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO of Alliance for Strong Families and Communities; Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association; Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA; Michael Brown, Chief Executive Officer of City Year; Matthew M. Knott, President of Feeding America; Sylvia Acevedo, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA; Judy Vredenburgh, President and CEO of Girls Incorporated; Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity International; Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America; Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America; James Firman, President and CEO of National Council on Aging; Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide; Michael King, President of Volunteers of America; and Alejandra Castillo, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA USA.