Welcome Home Campaign

Recently there has been so much bad news about new immigration policies and procedures that it is hard to decide what to talk about in this blog. Every day brings new things to be outraged about. While the assault on “illegal” immigration continues to escalate, the assault on legal immigration continues under the radar. I am writing an article on what commentators have called the “invisible wall” – all of the ways, large and small, that legal immigration is being attacked. 

Today, I would like to highlight efforts by TripAdvisor to do their part to help refugees get to know the U.S. A friend forwarded an article about this from the NY Times (7/31/2018). Trip Advisor which is a hospitality company that I use in planning trips is partnering with the International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental organization in a yearlong program being called the Welcome Home Campaign. Trip Advisor will give recently resettled refugees in New York City and parts of Northern California the opportunity to book a tour or activity of their choice from their TripAdvisor Experiences. The International Rescue Committee is responsible for getting the word out to the refugees to tell them about this opportunity to learn about and enjoy their new country.

The President of TripAdvisor was quoted as saying “These tours aren’t going to change the lives of refugees, but they can bring them some enjoyment during a difficult time in their lives” I think he underestimates the impact that this might have. This will help the refugees see that they are welcome and valued which will certainly help them more easily integrate into our country.

In New York City, they can take a four-hour tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty that includes the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. In Northern California, they can take a five hour guided tour of San Francisco that includes a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge and a ferry ride to Sausalito. Another choice is a visit to Muir Woods to see the redwoods followed by a cruise of San Francisco Bay. Both states have many other experiences available including cooking classes with locals. Most of the activities cost between $ 50 and $ 130 each but they are free for refugees who get a promo code from the rescue committee.

With all of the hate and prejudice being directed towards immigrants, it is nice to hear about this Welcome Home Campaign. Hopefully, this will inspire the better angels in us and cause us to reach out in some small way to give our new immigrants an understanding of the goodness of the American people and make them feel welcome in their new home.  

Linda M Kaplan
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