Central Ohio refugee community: President's plan will impact families


According to a draft of President Trump's immigration plan, his crackdown is a four-month freeze on refugees entering the United States.

A local refugee who is now a legal resident, says that leaves her family in a terrible limbo.

Fatuma Isaac has called Columbus home since 2013. Through an interpreter, Wednesday she shared her story of fleeing her home in Somalia.

"They killed my brother in front of me because of the militia," she said. "A group of militia men."

Her flight from violence took her and her daughter to a refugee camp in Uganda, where she lived for seven years. Today she's safe in Columbus, but in the process separated her from her mother and daughter.

She hasn't seen either since 2007.

"Always my daughter said, 'When I will see you again? When will become one family reunited again?'"

"People have fled, they've had, like Fatuma, family members killed. They left to save their lives," said Angie Plummer with Community Refugee and Immigration Services.

Plummer says over the years, her agency has helped re-settle thousands of refugees like Fatuma.

"It's a strong and proud tradition that we have in the United States to help the vulnerable and to provide safe haven for people fleeing persecution."

Since Fatuma's arrival in 2013, Plummer has been working with her to bring her daughter and mother here.

Plummer said they are deep into the process, which could be halted by President Trump's order.

"I'm devastated," Plummer said. "I sit across the desk from people every day, and my work has been to try and help them reunite with their families. And so see that- people just being whip-sawed- to see that unwound because it hasn't been thought through...This is not protecting our country from terrorists. This is a 12 year-old girl and an elderly woman."

The White House says the President's stop on the refugee program would be temporary until the process can be reviewed.

Plummer said because of the complicated process, a four-month delay could turn into years.

"There is already a very, very arduous vetting process for refugees. More so than anybody else who comes to the U.S."

Fatuma says Americans have nothing to fear from her or her family.

"My family is a refugee family. They are innocent. They are just refugees and they need to save their life."

To view the step-by-step screening process, click here.