A childhood photo of SCAN intern and blog author, Rilind Abazi.
Over my time as an intern with Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), I’ve learned that this position is much more than a professional development opportunity. With SCAN I’ve had the opportunity to work on issues that have directly impacted my childhood and my life. I was a refugee and an immigrant, and now I am a proud American citizen.
When the Kosovo war started, I was just six months old. My family had to flee our home in order to survive. I became a refugee in the neighboring country of Northern Macedonia for several months. After returning to Kosovo for a few years my family ended up immigrating to the U.S., and today I am lucky and privileged to have been given my chance to reach the American dream.
Today, more than 70 million people worldwide are fleeing warfare, failed governments and serious situations of human rights violations. Like my family, many see the United States as a beacon of hope. Yet the Trump administration recently announced that they would decrease the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to only 18,000 for next year. It also applied protocols that force asylum seekers arriving at the southern U.S. border to wait in extremely dangerous parts of Mexico until their immigration court hearing date, which can take months.
Asylum seekers at our Southern border are escaping extremely dire situations in their home countries. They seek to spare their children from brutal violence, domestic abuse and desperate conditions of poverty. They see the United States as a chance for a safer and better life for their families. In keeping with the values and principles of this great nation, I believe we must act to stop the inhumane treatment of children at our Southern border. That’s why I contacted my member of Congress and asked them to help pass the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act which would end family separations and ensure that children are housed in humane conditions and treated with dignity.
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to work on issues that I connect with so personally during my time with SCAN. Even though my time here is almost over, my advocacy is not. I will continue to use my voice to ensure that kids everywhere have the same chance that I did – and the same shot at achieving the American dream.