Kentucky Refugee Ministries prepared for temporary refugee ban
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- As President Trump meets with world leaders in Germany today, many here in the states are wondering when parts of his travel ban, approved by the Supreme Court back in June, will go into full effect.
Earlier this week the State Department announced it would be moving the cutoff date for refugee admissions from July 6th to July 12th.
The new deadline has refugee resettlement agencies including Kentucky Refugee Ministries here in Lexington rushing to make sure all their clients are taken care of before the cut-off date.
The State Department says it extended the cutoff date for refugees coming to the US so that the country could meet it’s 50,000 person cap on refugee admissions for this fiscal year.
“They expect arrivals to keep travelling until then. But then the program is halted for 120 days meaning it’ll pick back up in October when the new fiscal year starts,” said Dana Lea with Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
During that 120 day period only refugees who can prove they have a strong connection to the country, such as close relatives already here, will be allowed in.
The State Department says it is taking this pause so officials can analyze the program and make any changes it deems necessary to make it safer for both refugees and Americans.
“We are hopeful that during the pause there will be enough time for them to look at the process and see how it is very secure. See how refugees are the most screened individuals coming into this country,” said Lea.
During the suspension Kentucky Refugee Ministries will still be open offering services to those refugees already in the US but employees say they’re worried they could take a big financial hit because their funding is directly tied to the number of new refugees coming in not to the number of settled refugees using their services.
“There’s some uncertainty about how much money will go into those or if they will be continued in the next fiscal year so there is a lot of uncertainty around the office. We’re not sure what this means for our expansion and our size as a resettlement office,” said Lea.
Some refugee resettlement agencies have actually had to shut down due to lack of funding, Kentucky Refugee Ministries says it isn’t yet at that point.
It says it’s been getting a lot of financial help from local organizations and grants.