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Refugee Program & Advocacy Updates

Through your support and partnership, refugees admitted to Kentucky continue to receive services from KRM in Lexington and Louisville. In the photo above, co-sponsor team members from St. Thomas Episcopal Church and Calvary Episcopal Church welcome a family of a three from Sudan who were living in Egypt. KRM is working to ensure each new family is welcomed at the airport by either a co-sponsor team or a group of volunteers.

national refugee admissions update

Sunday, March 31st marked the midpoint of fiscal year 2019 for the refugee admissions program. The administration is not on track to meet its 30,000 refugee admissions goal — the lowest goal in the history of the resettlement program. By comparison, the historic average resettlement goal has been 95,000. At the current pace, the administration is on track to bring in even fewer refugees than they did last year, which at the time was already a historic low of 22,491 refugees. All told, the administration has cut refugee resettlement by 75%. With more refugees seeking safety than ever before, now is the time for the U.S. to recommit to showing welcome.

STATE admissions update

Kentucky is currently 8th in the country among states that welcome refugees. Despite the national slowdown, KRM continues welcoming new people through the refugee and Cuban programs. By the time the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2019, KRM expects to have resettled over 540 refugees and over 400 Cubans statewide. In recent months, the people arriving through the refugee program have predominantly been from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; others who have been resettled have been from Burma, Eritrea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

immigration legal services remain in demand

The legal offices in both Louisville and Lexington are serving more people than ever with services for citizenship, permanent residency, employment authorization, family reunification, and asylum, among other cases. In total, KRM’s two legal offices served over 1,600 legal clients last fiscal year and expects to serve over 1,800 legal clients by the end of this fiscal year. The team submitted over 405 citizenship applications last fiscal year and expects to surpass that figure this year, too. Due to extensive wait lists, KRM is establishing more partnerships with attorneys willing and able to offer ongoing pro-bono citizenship representation, with KRM training and support. In 2018, KRM’s immigration office won ten asylum cases that impacted the lives of 19 individuals who fled countries such as Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, and Venezuela. These cases are resource-intensive and life-changing for those who can now safely stay in the United States.

larger immigration landscape: stay informed

KRM’s work in refugee resettlement and immigration legal services are pieces of a vast immigration system. If you are looking for updates on a national scale, consider reading Migratory Notes, a weekly compilation of news from immigration journalists. In their own words: “At a time of rapidly shifting policies, we synthesize exceptional immigration journalism and highlight emerging practices to connect with multiethnic communities.” You can sign up for weekly emails through their subscribe form and visit an archive on Medium.

call to action: advocate now

Now is the time to urge our policy makers to be leaders for refugees. You can urge your federal Senators and Representatives to hold the administration accountable to meeting their 30,000 refugee admissions goal this year, and to setting at least 75,000 as the next year’s goal.

You can join us in telling Congress to protect refugees, asylum seekers, and families seeking protection. Click here to receive a phone call that connects you to your two Senators and one Representative; this resource is provided by KRM’s national office, Church World Service. Wondering how to phrase your message? Here is a sample script from CWS that may help you get started:

Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I am outraged that the administration has set the lowest refugee admissions goal in the history of the resettlement program – at just 30,000 – and is not even on track to meet that goal. Resettlement is a core American legacy that allows refugees to rebuild their lives. I urge you to do everything in your power to see that, at the very least, the administration meets this year’s admissions goal and commits to resettling at least 75,000 refugees in FY 2020. I also urge you to affirm the right of all people to seek asylum and protection, and see that the administration welcomes asylum seekers and respects family unity. To do otherwise violates U.S. and international law. My community welcomes refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”