Local agencies react to possible refugee reductions from Trump administration

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Refugee resettlement advocates in Columbus are concerned about reports that President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing that no new refugees be allowed into the United States in 2020.

Angie Plummer, executive director of Community Refugees and Immigration Services (CRIS), said the maximum number set for new arrivals has already been drastically cut from 110,000 in 2017 to 30,000 in 2019.

The president sets the ceiling for refugee admissions each year.

“I think the challenge is that people aren’t shocked anymore by the kind of policy proposals from this administration, so there’s some fatigue,” Plummer said.

Plummer said many refugees who have resettled here are now reluctant to speak out in public.

“With the latest rhetoric, the ‘send her back,’ people are afraid, which is so disturbing to me,” Plummer said.

Jackie Kifuko said she fled Uganda when she became a target for arrest after criticizing the government there. She left her young son behind with a friend, believing she would be able to get him out shortly thereafter. But with the limits on new refugee admissions, that has not happened.

“I’m losing hope every year,” Kifuko said. “If the administration says that there’s zero refugees coming, my son will never be able to get here.”

Columbus City Councilmember Elizabeth Brown said refugees and immigrants in Columbus are part of the city’s story of success.

“The president seems to believe that the more we let refugees and immigrants make homes in our country, the more we are putting up barriers for others in our country and that’s simply false – it’s a lie, it’s a deception I believe he’s purposely perpetrating,” Brown said.

The president is expected to set the ceiling for refugee admissions for 2020 before the first of October.

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