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Dear Editor:
The following press release was submitted by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

"There is a saying: Every job is a good job," says former refugee Tran, a clerk at a 7-Eleven store who, using his corporate profit-sharing account, partially financed the college educations of his children, who also worked part-time while attending school. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and its affiliated agencies across the country invite the media to "visit a refugee at work" on September 8, 2003 to hear first-hand the stories of refugee workers and their employers as a special way to celebrate Labor Day. "This is our second annual National Refugee Labor Day celebration," says LIRS President Ralston H. Deffenbaugh, Jr. "It's a time to celebrate the contributions of refugees to America's workforce and to thank the employers who hire them." "Our goal is for refugees to become self-sufficient within the first six months of resettlement," Deffenbaugh explains. "LIRS and our affiliated agencies have a great track record. On average, about 90 percent of our employable refugees have jobs within six months of arrival in the United States. Employers tell us that refugees have a strong work ethic. Refugees say they are grateful to their employers for the opportunity to work. Some employers provide English training in the workplace and other work-related support. This is the win-win situation we will celebrate on September 8." LIRS is a national agency whose mission is to welcome the stranger, bringing new hope and new life through ministries of service and justice. Based in Baltimore, LIRS resettles refugees through a network of 27 affiliated agencies throughout the United States, provides immigration and children's services, and advocates on behalf of asylum seekers and those in immigration detention.

Meg Arenberg
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service