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  4. Statement from Secretary Mayorkas on World Refugee Day

Statement from Secretary Mayorkas on World Refugee Day

Release Date: June 20, 2024

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released the following statement on World Refugee Day:

“Today is World Refugee Day. It is a day on which we honor people who have been forced to flee.

“At this time in the world, a time of increased repression, conflict, hunger, extreme weather, and other threatening forces, there are more than 100 million people displaced from their homes. The global displacement is unprecedented in scale.

“Our country is steadfast in our commitment to serve as a country of refuge for those who qualify for relief under our laws. The fulfillment of this commitment has particular significance for me. I arrived in this country with my parents and sister as political refugees, having fled the communist takeover of Cuba in 1960. My father lost his business, the ability to remain by his ailing mother’s bedside, and the future he had charted for himself and his young family in the country of his birth. It was the second time my mother had been forced to flee; twenty years earlier, she had fled Eastern Europe to escape the Holocaust. Most of her family had not survived.

“My parents wanted to raise their children in the land of freedom and opportunity – here, in the United States of America. Our country gave us a new future, just as it has done for so many from across the globe. It remains the greatest country in the world. I am immensely proud to serve as a federal employee, especially because I do so alongside the men and women of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

“Our personnel, alongside our federal partners and international and civil society colleagues around the world, make it possible for refugees to build a new future in America. Below I share a letter that a grateful refugee sent to our Department some time ago in appreciation for the new future he was granted. The letter speaks of the plight of the refugee, the meaning of America, and the work that we in DHS do. I have omitted the names in the letter in service of the people’s privacy:

“Dear Mrs. Officer,

“I want to inform you that I received a letter of approval in regards for my application . . . in this great humanitarian country. Madam, I want to thank you and to thank this great nation for giving me a chance to find a refuge for my life and to protect me from being harmed and from death.

“I want to show my endless appreciation and deepest regards to you and your time and consideration to help and save me and protect me in a way that made me feel that am a human with rights to live and have a future.

“May God bless you for being my guarding angel and may God bless America for saving me.

“In addition, I want to express my family's thanks, especially my mom, who wants to tell you that she wouldn't forget you in her prayers, and their appreciation for saving a son and a brother. And I wouldn't forget you as long as I live. And I wish that I will be given a chance to repay the United States of America for its protection.”

Last Updated: 06/20/2024
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