Where are the refugees?

Fatuma Amisi, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, speaks during a press conference organized by CWS. Photo credit: Casey Toth

March 31st marked the halfway point of the federal fiscal year, but only 12,151 refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since October 2018. This means that the U.S. is about 3,000 people behind on meeting the already-low refugee admissions ceiling of 30,000.

CWS Durham drew attention to the human impact of these low numbers on Wednesday, March 28th at a press conference held on the steps of Duke Memorial Church in Durham.

Local refugees, clergy, and community members gathered to share their concerns over the limited number of arrivals. Not only do limited arrivals mean that refugees are being left overseas when the U.S. has the capacity to resettle them, but it also means that families separated by conflict are having more difficulty being reunited. Ahmadu Lee, masjid administrator at Jamaat Ibad Ar-Rahman, spoke to the local impact of this reality: “We have many members of our congregation who haven’t seen their children or their family members for years.”

Former refugees also shared their appreciation for the chance to come to the U.S. and their hope for more people to have the chance to build a new life. “Nobody wants to leave their country without reason,” said Safia Mohammad. “I hope that others will receive the same opportunity that I have had, which is why I am asking Congress to let 30,000 refugees into the U.S. this year.” Watch video from the conference here: News & Observer video.

We know that the Triangle community is ready to resettle more refugees – employers are calling our office with job opportunities, community groups are waiting to set up apartments, and our office is ready to help families settle into safety and the opportunities that await them here in Durham.

But #WhereRtheRefugees?