UPDATE: Since this story was posted, the second executive order was halted nationwide by a federal ruling.
With a new executive order suspending the refugee resettlement program for 120 days, among other measures, KRM will welcome no new families during this four-month period.
Still, our work continues.
At KRM, we deliver programs that can serve refugees for up to five years after they arrive in the country. The executive order’s suspension of new families arriving will not stop us from providing high-quality services to refugee and immigrant communities already in Louisville and Lexington.
Here are some of the services we continue to offer:
Family and Youth Services
Families and children resettled through KRM receive ongoing support so they can thrive in school. Whether it’s help with school registration, parent-teacher conferences, or after-school tutoring, KRM is there for families and schools in need. Soon, KRM plans to launch an anti-bullying program to promote inclusion and welcome in schools.
Cooks, teachers, auto mechanics and doctors—these are only some of the skills and professions of refugees resettled through KRM. Our job developers connect refugees to employers in need of dedicated workers. Last year alone, KRM partnered with over 200 businesses in key sectors such as logistics, food processing, healthcare and manufacturing to employ refugees. We will continue providing these connections so families can support themselves, and at the same time, help Kentucky companies meet their workforce development needs.
Immigration Legal Services
The legal teams in Lexington and Louisville assist clients throughout our communities—not only refugees welcomed through our agency. Services include applications for permanent residency, citizenship, and more. Did you know that refugees can become permanent residents after one year in the US and citizens after five years? We can help with the process.
Becoming a United States citizen requires applicants to pass a US history and civics exam. To help people study, KRM offers preparation classes that are open to the community, and many of our former refugee clients attend.
Volunteering and Tutoring Programs
If volunteers aren’t setting up apartments for new families, what will they do? Plenty! We will continue to match volunteers with children and adults in need of extra support and friendship. Our educational access programs serve young adults working on their GED and college applications, and they are eager to receive guidance and help on making the best choices for themselves and their families. Adults in KRM’s employment program may need to practice in-person mock job interviews. Community tutors and mentors can help.
Community Outreach and Cultural Celebration
Refugees and immigrants enrich our communities, and we will continue to lift up their stories for the community to hear. Humanitarian welcome is a hallmark of being an American – and especially of being a Kentuckian.
Join us at outreach events and community celebrations where you can meet KRM clients and hear their stories. In the coming year, we will continue to host events that showcase the musical and artistic gifts of refugees and immigrants.
Advocacy and Accompaniment
Alongside our refugee and immigrant clients, KRM will continue to advocate to preserve the refugee program and to keep families together. Stay connected with us to learn about resources for civic engagement and other ways that you can get involved.
Elder refugee program classes and community support, driver education instruction, language and interpreter services, support with mental health and accessing medical care, and more — KRM provides a wide breadth of services to our refugee and immigrant neighbors.
The US resettlement program may be suspended by executive order, but KRM will continue to make Kentucky home for refugees. Join us on this journey.