US Refugee Resettlement Program has been nearly dismantled, advocates say

February 7, 2018
Boston Globe
 

"Sura has spent much of her life fleeing wars and waiting to find a place to permanently call home. Her family fled Baghdad in 2007, resettling in Syria. Then they sought refuge in Turkey, where they started the arduous screening process to be resettled in the United States as refugees.

Nearly three years later, Sura and her younger brother received the OK. Then President Trump issued a ban preventing people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, and she was again in limbo, forced to wait two months while her situation was sorted out.

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Lisa Ann Brennan, program director for Ascentria Services for New Americans in Worcester, told the group that her organization faces a situation similar to that of Catholic Charities, saying there is 'a severe reduction in the number of arrivals.'

For example, she said, in 2016 the Worcester office resettled 276 people, the next year 133 people, and as of October, four people.

'As much as we are devastated by the impact on our programing and our staffing, we’re devastated for the families for whom their dreams shattered, essentially,' she said.

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