Central Ohio agencies who help refugees relocate close
Agencies who work with local refugees said the president's orders are forcing them to close.
World Relief Columbus is shutting its doors. Now, 10TV has learned another agency, Community Refugee and Immigration Services, or CRIS, is making cuts.
Both said it's fallout from the recent executive order on immigration.
The order will cut the number of refugees coming to America from 110,000 annually to 50,000.
Today, it’s a trip to the Social Security office as CRIS case worker, Sowdo Mohamud helps a refugee on her third day in the U.S.
“That was one of the best phone calls that I’ve ever received, that CRIS offered me a job, and I was like literally crying,” Mohamud said.
Mohamud wanted to help refugees start their lives in Columbus.
“From tomorrow, Friday the 17th, I don’t know what I’ll be doing,” Mohamud said.
That's because Mohamud is one of nine people CRIS had to let go.
“For every refugee we help, we get paid a certain amount of money which then goes to support all of our costs,” CRIS Director Angie Plummer said.
Plummer expects the new executive order will mean they'll only bring in about half the people. Mohamud sees the effect as a worker and a refugee.
“I left it because of what I was doing as a journalist,” Mohamud said. “In 2007, two of my colleagues were killed, on the same day.”
Mohamud was a reporter in Somalia. She felt her family was in danger. She went to Kenya, South Africa, then finally wound up in Columbus through World Relief, the other agency that says the changes are forcing it to close.
“You know, the worst part, it’s not that I’m losing my job. Imagine those people who waited this case for 20 years, told that they cannot have that hope again,” Mohamud said.
CRIS said they have about 500 pending applications. Much of their work is reuniting families.
“There’s nothing that beats going to the airport and seeing a mother and child reunite after seven years apart,” Plummer said.
Plummer said it takes two or more years for refugees to go through the process and many are turned down.
“Refugees are the most highly vetted people ever to come to the United States,” Plummer said.
CRIS and World Relief said no refugee has ever been a part of a fatal terrorist attack in the U.S.
“Refugees are people who are fleeing terror they are the last group of people who are going to come here to do us harm,” Plummer said.
The other CRIS employees have taken pay cuts and taken on more work. The director said it will now have to start seeking donations because it won't be able to maintain its resources with that large of a loss in funds.