Press Releases

ECDC Calls for Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for FY 2021

ECDC Calls for Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for FY 2021

ECDC calls for Emergency Action from the Biden Administration to put into force the Presidential Determination for 2021 of 62,500 refugee admissions that he proposed in mid-February. The fate of many refugees remains uncertain unless the president takes bold action to re-establish the program. Biden must act NOW.

Refugee resettlement dwindled to the lowest numbers in history under the previous administration. Despite the lengthy vetting process and years of waiting, thousands of refugees were stranded in mid-stream under the xenophobic measures of the Trump administration. Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., president of ECDC, one of the country’s nine national resettlement agencies, said, “I urge President Biden to make the restoration of the Refugee Resettlement program a reality and honor his campaign promises. The nation needs to see a return to the historic initiatives that characterized its very founding.”

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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at ecdcus.org.


Amnesty International released report on Ethiopia’s conflict in its Tigray region

Today, Amnesty International released its long-awaited report on the massacres that took place in Axum during Ethiopia’s conflict in its Tigray region. The report presents a detailed account of two days of terror that occurred November 28-29, 2020, when Eritrean soldiers massacred hundreds of civilians at the St. Mary of Zion Church and throughout the rest of the city. ECDC is heartbroken by what has taken place in Axum, where it has long conducted cultural and educational projects. ECDC calls on the Biden Administration to demand a full and independent international investigation of the killings in Axum and all possible war crimes committed during the Tigray conflict.


Thank You President Biden

 

Thank You President Biden

What we do and what we say, individually and collectively, matter greatly throughout our lives—for both those who live here in the U.S. and those who live around the world. What we do and say are both bad and good. They are the negatives and the positives of life and our failures and successes. They can also quickly mean the difference between life and death. For 38 years, ECDC has served immigrants and refugees from diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds who live in the Washington, D.C., Metro area, providing direct services, information, and solutions to the issues they face. We have served thousands of people. For 30 years and authorized by the Department of State. ECDC has been resettling refugees via its network of 13 affiliates and branch offices located in 15 communities across the U.S. We and our affiliates are proud to participate in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and to have resettled over 59,000 refugees.

On election day, we held our breath as election returns trickled in. We gave a sigh of relief when the Biden ticket received more than 81 million votes—the most ever in a presidential election. We hailed the news that Biden’s electoral votes totaled 306. We sighed through countless election protests, false claims of fraud, lawsuits filed and dismissed, and voter recounts. On January 6, 2021, while the House and Senate met to ratify the electoral votes, the president called on his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., to reject President-Elect Biden’s victory and incited them to march to the Capitol. What ensued were a riot and breach of the Capitol. Congress reconvened in the evening and in the early hours of November 7 confirmed the outcome of the Electoral College. We then celebrated the endurance of American democracy, and on January 21, we cheered the inauguration of America’s 46th president.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have their work cut out for them—organizing a national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, tuning the economy around, providing assistance to Americans and American businesses in need, implementing new policy priorities, overturning Trump policies, rebuilding bridges with nations around the world, rejoining international organizations, and bringing federal agencies back into being proactive, positive, and doing what improves lives and livelihoods. “Biden’s undoing of many of the former president’s immigration policies on his first day in office and incorporating improvements,” Tsehaye Teferra, ECDC’s president and CEO, said are a reaffirmation of America doing what is right and equitable—a track for legal status for over 11 million undocumented immigrants, reuniting families, striking the word alien from U.S. immigration documents, language to strengthen family-based immigration, and raising the annual refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000. Thank you President Biden. We look forward to working with your Administration in restoring programs that benefit all Americans as well as immigrants and refugees.”

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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at ecdcus.org.


Liberty: Remember its Past. Protect its Future. Thoughts on the January 6, 2021, Assault on the U.S. Capitol

Arlington, VA.—In 1775, the 13 colonies rebelled against British rule. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress proclaimed independence of the colonies. On July 4, 1776, they adopted the Declaration of Independence.

The 2020 election was held November 3rd, but even beforehand, the incumbent and his supporters promoted fake news and lies about its outcome. What followed the election were non-stop cries of fraud and the filing of countless court cases, all of which were promptly dismissed.

On January 6, 2021, Congress met to certify the election of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Shortly before they began, President Trump rallied supporters to march to the Capitol. Once there, they breached security and disrupted the proceedings. The Vice President, Senators and Congressmen/women were quickly moved to safety. Most of America watched in utter disbelief the pillage and destruction of hallowed Statutory Hall, the House and Senate Chambers, and offices. The siege lasted five hours. Yet Congress reconvened—determined to count the electoral votes. The Vice President announced the results at 3:41 a.m. on Wednesday, January 7th.

Bipartisan voices across the country have condemned the rioters. Two cabinet members have resigned as have other administration staff. All have been shaken by what transpired and why it transpired.

We see such happenings take place across the world and think little about them because we have taken so much for granted. Americans can no longer take for granted the liberty that has guided this country for 244 years. We must uphold what is so dear.

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 ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at ecdcus.org.


ECDC Statement on Risch-Cardin Resolution

ECDC welcomes the bipartisan resolution introduced in the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2020, by Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), calling for a cessation of hostilities and a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. This conflict has already killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more—50,000 refugees have fled from Tigray to Sudan, and 100,000 Eritrean refugees living in Tigray are at risk due to the violence and blocking of humanitarian aid.

The Risch-Cardin resolution calls for the protection of refugees in this conflict, unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray, full restoration of communications in the region, and an end to ethnic-based arrests, firings, and violence.

“At a time when the world continues to see unprecedented numbers of people displaced by violence and conflict, we must not stand by as another devastating war threatens to create hundreds of thousands of refugees,” said Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., president, and CEO of ECDC. “I thank Senator Risch and Senator Cardin for this important first step toward peace in Ethiopia.”


ECDC congratulates President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) congratulates President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

After a long and divisive campaign, we look forward to an orderly and peaceful transition of power that is a hallmark of American democracy. ECDC is grateful that President-Elect Biden, a descendant of Irish immigrants, and Vice President-Elect Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, ran on a vision of America as a welcoming country for immigrants and refugees.

ECDC looks forward to policies that will restore our unity and the long-recognized values of this great nation. America has been a refuge for people from around the globe fleeing persecution. Immigrants have come to improve their lives and those of their children. We hope President-Elect Biden will fulfill his promises to restore the asylum system, raise the refugee admissions cap to 125,000, and end the discriminatory travel ban, among many other necessary changes to fix the damage done to our country’s values in the past four years.

ECDC, a national organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, works locally through its branch offices and nationally through a network of 10 agencies that are primarily ethnic community-based organizations to resettle refugees in communities across the country. Since 1983, ECDC has been empowering refugees and immigrants to start new lives in the United States because we believe in the promise of the American dream for all its people, no matter where they come from.                                                                   

ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at ecdcus.org.


DR. TSEHAYE TEFERRA TO RECEIVE THE NICE GENESIS AWARD

Arlington, VA.—Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC), is being honored by the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) with the organization’s Genesis Award at their One World, One Dream banquet, which is being held virtually this year on October 29. The award pays tribute to Dr. Teferra’s work on behalf of African immigrants and refugees.

Dr. Gatluak Thach, President and CEO of NICE, nominated Dr. Teferra for his national role in empowering refugees and African organization leaders across the U.S. Speaking about the Genesis Award, Dr. Gatluak noted “Dr. Teferra is recognized as a leader who has made a long-time, significant impact on the lives of refugees and their being welcomed in the United States, including those in Tennessee. As the leader of ECDC, a national resettlement agency that enables ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs) like NICE to succeed in their efforts to welcome refugees rebuilding their lives in America, Dr. Teferra plays an extraordinary, backbreaking role in national leadership and advocacy efforts to empower ECBOs like NICE to thrive.”

NICE assists refugees succeed in integrating in Nashville through resettlement and social services, workforce development, health education, and community integration.

ECDC, a national organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, works locally through its branch offices and nationally through a network of 10 agencies that are primarily ECBOs, including NICE, to resettle refugees in communities across the country. ECDC has resettled over 58,000 refugees since 1991. Through local and national programs, ECDC helps refugees and immigrants lead lives of dignity, attain self-sufficiency, and integrate successfully into their new communities. ECDC African Community Center branch offices are located in Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Silver Spring, Maryland. The Enterprise Development Group (EDG), an ECDC subsidiary, provides financial services, tax assistance, and business loans to refugee, immigrant, and low-income entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C., metro area and Baltimore suburbs.

 

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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at ecdcus.org.


FY 2021 Presidential Determination of Refugees

On Wednesday, the president notified Congress of his decision to limit the number of refugees who
will be resettled in the U.S. to 15,000 for the 2021 fiscal year. While the number of displaced people
worldwide has significantly increased in recent years, reaching nearly 80 million in 2019, the Trump
Administration has continued to reduce the U.S. Refuge Admissions program by over 80%. The
proposed ceiling is a record low and stark contrast from previous administrations’ proposals.

Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc.
said: The current administration has turned the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which dates to the
passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, from a lifesaving human rights program with bipartisan support
into a political weapon. President Trump has set historic low admissions ceiling each year in office,
and 2021 is no exception; 15,000 refugees barely scratches the surface of the global need for
resettlement and additional restrictions due to unnamed security concerns will further limit refugees’
ability to seek security, join family members already in the U.S., and find a new, permanent home.”

Despite the current administration’s affinity to portray refugees and immigrant as an economic and
cultural burden, as well as a national security threat, research clearly demonstrates that refugees and
immigrants contribute meaningfully within their communities. During the current COVID-19 health
crisis, refugees are serving on the frontlines as essential workers, with 176,000 working in health care
and 175,000 in the food supply chain. Similarly, over 40% of all Fortune 300 companies were founded
by refugees, immigrants, or their children.

The U.S. government must continue to lead the world in advancing humanitarian goals that promote
regional and global stability. To that end, ECDC calls on the Trump Administration to increase its
fiscal year 2021 refugee admissions ceiling from 15,000 to the historical average of 95,000.
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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development
in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and
development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at
ecdcus.org


ECDC is saddened by the loss of a very dear friend of the ECDC community.

 

Lara Kinne, a longtime ECDC volunteer, passed away suddenly on July 31, 2020, at the age of 34. She is survived by her husband Mark and infant daughter Elena. Our deepest sympathies go out to Lara’s family at this time.

Lara was a volunteer with a heart for refugees and immigrants, helping the newly arrived, the marginalized, and the struggling. She participated in our First Friends program through which volunteers are matched with and mentor a refugee family. Lara gave friendship and support to a local family, helping them apply for jobs, learn English, provided tutoring, and much more. Most of all, Lara provided kindness and concern and a willingness to help them in their new community–a familiar face in an unfamiliar place.

Read more about Lara here:

https://obits.syracuse.com/obituaries/syracuse/obituary.aspx?n=lara-kinne&pid=196634472

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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa.

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Congressman John Lewis – A Champion of Change and Justice for All

 

Congressman John Lewis – A Champion of Change and Justice for All

ECDC is saddened by the death of Congressman John Lewis. He was an American icon who repeatedly risked his life in the Civil Rights Movement in order to guarantee the rights of all citizens. Congressman Lewis spent his career as an activist and later in Congress, fighting for the poor and oppressed not just in the United States but also around the world. Among many struggles, he fought apartheid in South Africa, advocated for the rights of Soviet Jewry, and was arrested protesting the genocide in Darfur.

ECDC is particularly grateful for Congressman Lewis’ vocal support of refugees and immigrants, including his joining the 2017 airport protests against the administration’s travel and immigration bans. One of his last public statements was on June 10th when he criticized the administration’s threat to deport international students.

Congressman Lewis spoke with eloquence. He listened and translated what he heard into actions that made a difference in the lives of people across the U.S. At the 2018 March for Our Lives rally in Atlanta following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Congressman Lewis said “I gave a little bit of blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, 53 years ago for the right to vote.”

In 2011, when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. The president addressed Lewis as the “conscience of the United States Congress,” for his courage and unwavering commitment to justice.

ECDC’s President and CEO, Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., said “I know that Congressman Lewis experienced challenges throughout his life yet he never stopped going the extra mile to make sure that America’s promise of equal rights and justice for all would one day be met.”

John Lewis was a fighter for human rights until the end, and he will be missed

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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and development programs in the Horn of Africa.

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Media Contact:

Clare Mountfort

(703) 685-0510 ext. 331

cmountfort@ecdcus.org