WA Refugee Families Kept Apart Under Immigration Order
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. – Families resettled in eastern Washington are being kept apart because of an executive order issued by President Trump at the end of last week. The order stops resettlement for refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 120 days.
World Relief Spokane runs a resettlement program in eastern Washington, providing employment services, housing assistance and other social services. Its development director, Johnna Nickoloff, says with the new order banning immigration from war-torn countries, resettled families in Washington will be separated.
"We have many families that were expecting their relatives to arrive this coming week, so of course they were very excited about that happening, and now they are being told that their families will not be coming," she said. "And so, of course, that is heartbreaking, especially since most of their families are in danger where they are."
World Relief Spokane also fears people who were approved in the vetting process, which can take two years or more, but are not in the United States yet will have to go through the entire vetting process again, putting many of them in prolonged danger.
Nickoloff notes vetting has been strict: Less than one-percent of refugees who apply move forward in the process.
Nickoloff says her office relies on federal funds to help resettle refugees, meaning that over the next few months they will have to depend on the help of volunteers, church services and other humanitarian organizations to help fill in the gaps.
"We will try to keep our office open so we can be advocates and help the refugees that are already here and prepare for the borders to open again to refugees so we can continue to resettle people who just want to start a new life here and live the American dream just like we do," she explained. "But, in the meantime, it's going to be a long four months."
While the executive order was promoted as a way to prevent terrorists from entering the country, a study by the Cato Institute found the likelihood of an American being killed by a terrorist entering the country as a refugee to be one in 3.64 billion per year.
get more stories like this via email
Congress has signed off on a bill that preserves federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. A legal expert in Wisconsin says it …
Airport service workers rallied in Washington, D.C., Thursday to demand Congress pass legislation ensuring they receive a livable wage with stronger …
Before the pandemic, one in five people in Los Angeles County lacked consistent access to food - and in 2021, one in four low-income families …
Electric vehicles are an environmentally friendly way to get from one place to another, but the lack of charging stations often limits drivers to …
As Americans make end-of-year donations to their favorite causes, those that help children with cancer and their families say these households need …
A labor union representing agricultural workers in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia says it isn't waiting around for federal immigration reform to …
West Virginia's prison population has ballooned, and formerly incarcerated people face numerous obstacles when they are released. A Charleston-based …
As the year comes to a close, the Sierra Club of Connecticut is looking back on some of its accomplishments and challenges. The group focuses on …