Local Refugee Organizations Wary of New Refugee Ban

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- With President Trump’s latest executive order halting the flow of refugees into the country, many here in Lexington are wondering how that will affect our local refugee population.

Minutes after President trump signed an order to temporarily stop all refugee resettlement to the U.S., staff at Kentucky Refugee Ministries broke the news to their clients.

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“I gave an announcement with interpreters on Friday to let our clients know that you’re not going to be reunited with your family members you’re trying to bring here any time soon but we are supporting you and we are fighting for you,” said Dana Lea with Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

Organizations like Kentucky Refugee Ministries get much of their funding from the federal government but with Trump signing this temporary halt staff are worried they could lose that money which goes towards English language classes and cultural orientations for refugees.

“We’re waiting to find out some more specifics to know how much it will affect us but not only that, it will cut the program in half afterwards which is just disastrous for U.S. refugee arrival numbers,” said Lea.

Supporters of the halt say it is necessary for the safety of our country but those who work with refugees say that argument is unfounded.

“My students are from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Egypt. We’ve even had Libyans and not one of them has ever been an issue in regard to being considered radical or extremist or ISIS,” said Tina Durbin with Central Kentucky Showing Up for Racial Justice.

While the policy is now officially law, those against it are not giving up the fight.

“We are calling on individuals to reach out to their lawmakers, reach out to your senators, your representatives, to Donald trump himself. Tweet him, that seems to be the most effective way to talk to him at the White House and to tell them that you do support refugees. You support immigrants,” said Lea.

Pro-refugee advocates will be hosting a rally on the steps of the State capitol on February 16th.