Governor Gary Herbert of Utah sent the letter below to President Trump, asking him to continue to allow refugees to be resettled in Utah. This is in response to the President’s executive order, which places the onus of accepting refugees on state and local governments. Governor Herbert’s response was swift and clear and a model for other governors to follow.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was himself a refugee from war-torn Eastern Europe during World War II. He has often spoken of his own experience in order to encourage Church members to welcome refugees. Similarly, the early pioneers of our faith were forced out of their homes. The town of Quincy, Illinois, lovingly welcomed those Saints into their community. In light of that history, Elder Uchtdorf said, “Sometimes as Church members we have to see where we are coming from before we say, ‘We cannot help everyone. There are too many. That is too much. You cannot ask for so much.’ Fortunately, Quincy did not say that. They accepted us.”
What has been the climate for refugees in your own state? If you’re unsure please visit the Refugee Council’s website for more information. Governor Herbert’s letter wisely points to the past refugee resettlement success in Utah. If your state has also had success, please express that to your governor. If your state hasn’t been a leader for resettlement in the past, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in the future! Please encourage your governor to strengthen refugee settlement in your state in the future and ask how you and MWEG can support that vision.
Please reach out to your governor’s office. If possible, set up an appointment to discuss why refugees are vital to our communities and why accepting them is also vital to their well-being. We have been asked by leaders of our Church to reach out and love refugees in our communities. How can we do so if we are not allowing refugee resettlement in our communities?
If not possible to meet in person, please mail or email a copy of Governor Herbert’s letter to your own governor with a letter explaining why you support refugees in your state.
If you live in Utah, please take the time to thank Governor Herbert for his stellar example.