Lawyers and social workers at the handful of agencies that resettle refugees in the Portland area are still coming to terms with what the partial reinstatement of President Trump’s refugee and travel ban means for the vulnerable people they serve.
Howard Kenyon works with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and helps oversee a program called SOAR — short for Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees. He says refugees who do not meet the new standards for entry will likely be waiting a long time.
“They probably will have their processing time expire,” he said. “Most of these people will be left in refugee camps in whatever third world countries they’re in, until something changes.”
Another challenge for refugees: Even if the Supreme Court rules against the Trump administration, some resettlement processing programs have cut workers. So the uncertainty of 2017 will lead to delays down the line.
“People who do the processing have been laid off by the hundreds in places like Africa and New York City. The people who handle that processing are now no longer there. The workforce in Africa that handles this have been increased by 90 percent,” Kenyon said. “For the next year, the pipeline will have been dismantled.”
Kenyon joined “All Things Considered” host Kate Davidson Monday for a conversation about the state of the refugee program. To hear the entire interview, use the audio player at the top of this article.