refugees

Between the high cost of housing and shrinking federal funding for local organizations, many refugees resettled in Colorado find themselves stuck in chronic poverty. That’s according to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder, which studied refugee communities across the Front Range. 

Xiaoling Chen, a geography doctoral student,wanted to understand why refugees became trapped in low-wage jobs, despite the state and federal resources intended to help them succeed.   

Facing persecution, violence, lack of health care and myriad other barriers to safety, millions of refugees leave home each year seeking a better life in a different country.

As of 2017, more than 2 million Somalis have been displaced, in one of the world's worst refugee crises, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY — Fartun Gelle is a Somalian refugee who lives near the Neighborhood Learning Center in Garden City, where she’s gone for help since she arrived in western Kansas five years ago.

The center is located in a brick apartment building in the northwest part of town, and refugees from Myanmar, Somalia and Ethiopia live within walking distance. Gelle doesn’t drive, and relies on the center’s community health workers to help translate at her sons’ medical appointments.

“I don’t have someone to help me,” Gelle said through Somali interpreter Ifrah Farah.

Early Monday morning, a bus carrying 55 refugees arrived in Denver. The group had traveled several hours from a shelter in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the number of migrant asylum-seekers has overwhelmed local organizations and immigration authorities.

Like many of the refugees who have resettled in Greeley, Colorado, 35-year-old Abul Basar is employed by JBS.

It’s a massive meatpacking plant that processes thousands of cattle per day and employs over 3,000 people. After a year of working on the plant’s processing line, where he disembowel cow carcasses with a large electric knife, Basar injured his right hand.

When it comes to participation in their children’s education, refugee families often face overwhelming barriers. The challenges run from teachers who speak a different language to incomprehensible rules and customs.

In the end, newcomer children often slip further and further behind their peers.

At Kenton Elementary — part of Aurora Public Schools — fifth grade teacher Gracie Binder is about to start her next parent teacher conference. First, there’s something she has to do. She needs to call for a Burmese interpreter.

Once a hub for refugees starting new lives and reuniting with their families, refugee resettlement efforts in Texas are now a shadow of what they once were.

At least one Kansas business says the Trump administration's plan to further limit the number of refugees entering the country could hurt its operations.

Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday a plan to cap the number of refugees entering the country at 30,000 next year. For the current year the cap was lowered to 45,000, though final admissions numbers will be about half that.

Under former President George W. Bush, the highest ceiling on the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. was 80,000. Under Barack Obama, it was 110,000. President Donald Trump set this year's cap at 45,000.

“And based on the numbers so far, we're looking at less than half that many that we were told would be allowed into the country," says Harold Schlechtweg, the advocacy coordinator with the International Rescue Committee in Kansas.

CREATIVE COMMONS

El Salvador’s Tempory Protected Status (or TPS) designation will end on Sept. 9, 2019, following Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen’s decision to terminate TPS for Salvadorans.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that current TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador who want to maintain their status, must re-register before March 19, 2018.

Pu Ying Huang / KUT

The number of refugee families that the State of Texas has helped resettle has dropped drastically this year, reports KUT.

Part of the reason: Despite the fact that President Trump’s travel ban has been repeatedly struck down by Federal courts, the effort has still wreaked havoc on refugee resettlement in Texas.

Aaron Rippenkroeger, president and CEO of Refugee Services of Texas, explains that the Texas resettlement system has a lot of moving parts.

City of Garden City, KS

Two independent film makers are in production on a new documentary film focusing on Garden City.

According to a press release, film makers Bob Hurst and Tess Banion – in collaboration with lifelong Garden City resident and former mayor Nancy Harness - are exploring the history of Garden City, Finney County and the many immigrant groups that have come to call the area home over the last 100 years and beyond. 

City of Garden City, KS

A British national daily newspaper published an in-depth article this week about the foiled mosque and apartment complex bombing plot in Garden City lastt fall, sharing fears that Somali residents still feel even months after three southwest Kansas men were apprehended by FBI agents and charged with domestic terrorism.

Clinic for refugees opens in Garden City

Feb 20, 2017
City of Garden City, KS

There’s a new clinic in Garden City, Kansas that aims to provide the community’s refugee population with healthcare and language services.  

As the Garden City Telegram reports, Dr. John Birky, CEO of the New Hope Together clinic, said the organization is dedicated to improving the physical, spiritual, and socioeconomic well-being of refugees in the community through healthcare services, English language learning and mutually beneficial relationships.

Holly Bailey / Yahoo News

Amarillo saw something of the national spotlight in the wake of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.

A Yahoo News story noted that Amarillo has long been a safe haven for refugees. For the last several years, Texas has led the United States in refugee resettlement and Amarillo accepts more refugees per capita than any other city in the state. Amarillo has, for the most part, provided a welcome home to these settlers fleeing terror in their homelands.

Bbean32

Many refugees in Greeley, Colorado are Muslims from Somalia or other parts of East Africa, who, like those in Garden City Kansas, work in the meatpacking industry.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Burmese refugee Sultan Ahmed thought he would be seeing his family in less than a year, but President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration halted all that and Ahmed was told it would take two or more years to bring his family to Greeley.

ALAN GOMEZ/USA TODAY

Two University of Kansas professors recently completed a study on Garden City’s ever-changing demographics and the way educators in the southwest Kansas community teach a diverse population of students.   

The Fall Read - Refugees on the High Plains

Oct 4, 2016
www.humanosphere.org

As the Radio Readers move on from this month’s book Enrique’s Journey to October’s read, Dave Eggar’s book on the story Somali immigrants titled What is the What, we continue themes of separation from family, intense dangers in fleeing one’s homeland and eventual settlement and adjustment to life in the U.S. In the past decade, Amarillo has welcomed a large refugee resettlement program placing refugees from the likes of Burma, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and Cuba among other countries.

What Kind of Book is This?

Oct 3, 2016

Since August, Radio Readers have shared stories about borders and becoming. Our stories have been prompted by the books in our Fall read: Cather’s My Antonia and Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey.

The third book in this series is Dave Eggers’ 2006 novel, What is the What : The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng.  Recognized by various organizations as a “best” and “notable” book, What is the What is titled an autobiography, described as a novel, yet frequently classified as social history.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation's refugee resettlement program, reports The Texas Tribune.

Metrocosm / Washington Post

Immigration has been a hot-button issue throughout the 2016 presidential race. But, according to surveys, Americans actually know very little about the issue.

The Washington Post recently noted that it was “remarkable just how much Americans overestimate immigration in their country.” On average, Americans guessed that one-third of people in the U.S. are immigrants. That’s more than double the actual figure.

The Gazette

Colorado and Kansas are two of the most welcoming states toward refugees, according to a new study.

Researchers from the International Rescue Committee combed through tweets from all 50 states looking for positive and negative language regarding refugees. Colorado ranks eighth for having the most positive tweets regarding newcomers fleeing terror and hardship, reports The Gazette. Kansas performed even better, landing at fourth on the list.

Lauren Koski / amarillo.com

Wills Elementary in Amarillo has been harvesting produce alongside the brick buildings of the school. And now those fruits and vegetables are going to a good cause, reports Amarillo.com. The food will help refugee and low-income families feed their families. The program is part of a partnership with the High Plains Food Bank.

AP photo

Amid the refugee crisis last year Texas filed a lawsuit seeking to block Syrians from settling in the Lone Star State. But now a federal judge in Dallas has denied that claim. US District Judge David Godbey ruled that Texas officials failed to make “a plausible claim for relief” from refugee settlement, reports The Austin American-Statesman.

politico.com

This week Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced he’s pulling out of the federal government’s refugee resettlement program. The move comes after Brownback expressed repeated concern about the program for months. The governor said he had failed to get satisfactory answers, so the state is done, reports The Washington Post. The resettlement program has placed more than 2,000 global refugees in Kansas over the past four years.

Sam Hodgson / Reuters

A new study has found that people who back Ted Cruz for president seem less culturally anxious about immigration than those who back Trump. The PRRI / The Atlantic poll suggests the answer to that question is helping to shape the presidential race.

Creative Commons

The U.S. has two long traditions that have recently been battling for the public heart. We are a nation of immigrants, a melting pot, and we have a long history of welcoming refugees with open arms. But we also have another tradition, of locking down our borders from fear of outsiders.

Most High Plains States Oppose Syrian Refugees

Nov 19, 2015
Santi Palacios / AP photo

Opposition to the U.S.’s plan to accept Syrian refugees continues to grow. As of this writing, more than half of U.S. governors say Syrian refugees are not welcome in their states, reports CNN. As might be expected, resistance to Obama’s plan to accept refugees falls almost completely along party lines. All but one of the 31 opposing governors are Republicans.  

Kansas to Take in 777 Refugees

Sep 28, 2015
AP photo

Kansas is expected to take in 777 refugees this year, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Of that number, 90 will settle in southwest Kansas, mostly in Finney, Ford and Seward counties. Various organizations throughout Kansas are working with the refugees, helping them to start over in the heartland.

Texas to Receive Syrian Immigrants

Sep 16, 2015
UNHCR

Texans could soon be greeting some new neighbors from the other side of the world. According to The Texas Tribune, as strife in the Middle East continues to grow, the Lone Star State could see an influx of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-ravaged country. In fact, the resettlement has already begun, as 123 Syrians have come to Texas since last October. But that number is small compared to what’s coming.