Refugee resettlement agency speaks out on governors' border closure announcement

Refugee resettlement agency speaks out on governors' border closure announcement

(WTOL) - While the White House has announced that it will continue with President Obama's plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year, many political leaders are against resettlement until State Department vetting procedures are modified in light of the recent Paris terror attacks.

Several states, including Ohio and Michigan, have announced plans to close their borders to Syrian refugees.

WTOL has extensively covered the journey of Syrian refugees as they resettle in Toledo with US Together, a local refugee resettlement agency. Program Director Corine Dehabey says that while it's a waiting game to see if the US will change its security guidelines, the refugees are the ones who are paying the price.

"It's going to be a hindrance, not for us, but for the Syrian refugees who are seeking safety. They left the country because of terrorism, and now they are paying the price of somebody who did it," said Dehabey. "We have to trust in our American system, too, because our homeland security, our American resettlement overseas, are doing a really amazing job as far as security screening. Here, the refugees in the US have been in Jordan or Lebanon or any other country for three years, and have to go through a process, like nine security checks before they come to the US, along with three or four interviews."

With Friday's attacks and the spotlight on Syrian refugees, those who have already resettled in Toledo are concerned about their safety.

"They (the refugees) have some concerns that people are going to be looking at them like terrorists, and refugees are not terrorists. They are simple refugees," she said. "And honestly, no Syrian person would like to have a refugee next to his name. But this is what happened, this is the circumstances, and they are kind of concerned."

A Syrian refugee family is scheduled to arrive in the area this week, and while they have long been cleared to enter the US, US Together still needs assistance in securing prospective housing.

To help, or find out more information about US Together, call 419-469-2529 or click here.

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