While President Trump was preparing to vent fury at the UN General Assembly in New York City, his childhood home across town played host to a unlikely group of guests.
Oxfam invited four refugees from Syria, Somalia and Vietnam to spend the day at the old house in Queens – a property available to rent daily after its current owner put it up on Airbnb for $725 a night.
Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s acting director for humanitarian programs and policy, said the stunt was designed to show “all people…have the right to a safe place to call home.”
“What makes America great is our diversity of experiences, ideas, talents, and the opportunity for anyone to succeed,” she explained.
“What better place to represent that than the former home of the President of the United States in Queens, NY – one of the most diverse communities in the world.”
One of those visited the home, Uyen Nguyen, said she feared “new immigrants aren’t given the same warm welcome” she received when arriving in the US.
Nguyen fled Vietnam when she was 10 years old. “I have never talked much about my journey, but I now feel it’s my responsibility to spread understanding of what it’s like for refugees – and hopefully open the doors for those who need our support the most.”
The US has abandoned its leadership role, leaving a vacuum in its place
Next month the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding Trump’s now infamous travel ban, part of which is designed to keep put vulnerable refugees.
Congress will consider how much funding to provide to critical programs that support refugees.
“Lives are hanging in the balance while we wait to see if President Trump and other world leaders will fulfil their duty to uphold the rights of refugees and other displaced people,” said Scribner.
“The US has abandoned its leadership role, leaving a vacuum in its place.”