PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are more than 700 refugees living in Philadelphia and Mayor Jim Kenney honored all of them and the millions around the world on Wednesday to celebrate World Refugee Day.
The Philadelphia Regional Refugee Providers Collaborative, a local nonprofit, teamed up with the United Nations to raise awareness and honor refugees with a festival at City Hall’s courtyard.
More than 53,000 refugees resettled in the United States last year.
Now in the celebration’s 17th year, the event recognizes the global refugee crisis, while honoring the strength, courage and resilience of the growing number of people forced to flee their homes each year.
“Actually, in Morocco, it was not safe for the homosexuals, even though there is no intermittent attacks in the city. It was not safe,” said a refugee. “And I understand that here it’s safe for the homosexuals to live their own sexual life the way they like, so I prefer to come here.”
“It is important to acknowledge what’s going on for them and to welcome those in the community to Philadelphia,” said Daniella Scruggs with HIAS Pennsylvania.
With the recent separation at the Mexican border, Scruggs says its important to make sure families are kept together.
“A lot of those people who are coming over the border are asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are refugees and it’s important for those people who are crossing over in fear of their lives,” added Scruggs.
Mayor Kenney issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on family separation:
“For the past week the Trump administration repeatedly made false statements about the President’s inhumane policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Today’s Executive Order acknowledges that this was the President’s choice and history will judge his administration accordingly. While the Administration lied, families and children seeking refuge and hope in America were being torn apart. This reminded many of us of the darkest days of our nation’s history when children and mothers were torn apart to uphold the institution of slavery. We don’t know if the families separated at our border will be ever be reunited, but we know that we will never fully recover from this shame, and this trauma will live with them forever.
“As I’ve said before, our communities are safer and stronger when parents are able to care for their children. Many of these families are fleeing terrible circumstances in their home countries and are seeking safety and security through asylum in the United States. While I’m relieved that children will no longer be separated from their parents, family detention is not the answer. There is still work to be done; Congress needs to come together and fix our broken immigration system.”