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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Syrian refugees to begin arriving in Louisville

    Syrian refugees to begin arriving in Louisville

    Chris Kenning,
    6:42 a.m. EST January 30, 2015

    (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

    Twenty-one Syrian refugees will arrive in Louisville over the next two weeks, a figure expected to increase in Kentucky and beyond as the U.S. begins to take in an expanded number of refugees fleeing Syria's bloody civil war.

    The refugees, from four families who fled to Jordan and Egypt, are part of a larger U.S. resettlement effort expected to bring as many as 10,000 Syrians to cities throughout the nation over the next several years, according to the U.S. State Department.

    One of the Louisville-bound families is from Homs, Syria's third-largest city, a former opposition stronghold that suffered widespread destruction in a brutal three-year siege by the Syrian army, said John Koehlinger, executive director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

    Since the war began, 3.8 million people have been forced to flee to neighboring countries amid the fight among the regime of Bashar al-Assad, rebels seeking to overthrow him and extremists with the Islamic State. The war has sparked one of the world's largest humanitarian crises.

    "The displacement is massive," said Larry Bartlett, director of refugee admissions for the State Department. "For the most part, life as a (Syrian) refugee is pretty horrible."

    Story continues below the video

    Medical supplies are packed and shipped from Louisville to Lebanon to help Syrian refugees. Frankie Steele/Special to The Courier-Journal

    Refugees have strained resources in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, leaving many without adequate housing, food or medicine, according to aid groups. Some have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in smugglers' cargo ships.

    The U.S. has accepted few Syrian refugees in recent years, sparking criticism that it was slow to respond. But Bartlett said the U.N. only recently has sought to resettle larger numbers. The State Department is now reviewing nearly 10,000 referrals from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. By contrast, just 323 Syrians were resettled in the U.S. in 2014.

    The U.N. is asking an array of nations to take in 100,000 refugees through 2016, Bartlett said, and the U.S. will be a "significant player."

    Although private resettlement agencies will determine where they go, last year some arrived in California, Illinois and Texas. Bartlett predicted resettlements would reach 1,000 to 2,000 through this fiscal year and would grow more quickly in the subsequent 12 months. While no ceiling on Syrians has been set, the U.S. has a cap of 70,000 total global refugees a year.
    Kentucky, home to two Louisville resettlement affiliates, has taken in 6,428 refugees since 2011, including 1,113 from Iraq, according to the State Department figures. That has left the area with resources and interpreters that could make it a landing spot for Syrians, Koehlinger said, though exact numbers are unknown.

    "We'll probably have a significant number here in Louisville" by summer, said Darko Mihaylovich, director of Louisville's Catholic Charities Refugee and Migration Services.

    Koehlinger said those arriving in Louisville in the next two weeks include three families currently in Egypt and one family from Jordan. He said their members' occupations include baker, tailor and automotive radiator technician.

    Once they arrive, they'll be provided with temporary federal and state aid, including help with housing, food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance, said Becky Jordan, Kentucky state refugee coordinator. They're provided employment aid and English training.

    In addition, Louisville's Bosniak-American Islamic Center is gearing up to provide new furniture and additional support for the families. Only two Syrian refugees have been admitted to Kentucky since 2011.

    "We decided to jump on board because families coming out of Syria, they don't have a support community on the ground here. It's a struggle to get plugged into the community," said center member Semsudin Haseljic.

    Advocates said the refugees from Syria bring added security concerns, in part because of fears of Islamic extremism among Islamic State followers and others.

    In 2013, two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green, Ky., were sentenced on terrorism charges. They were arrested in 2011 after helping a confidential government informant load cash and weapons that they thought were bound for al-Qaida in Iraq into a tractor-trailer.

    Bartlett said each refugee candidate, referred by UNHCR, undergoes an in-depth U.S. background check, including document reviews and interviews. He said the security reviews are "very intensive."

    Julie Peteet, a University of Louisville professor and Middle East refugee expert, said she spent time last summer in several refugee camps in Jordan, where the military controls entrances and exits. Other refugees live in urban areas, she said, and many are "pretty traumatized."

    The UNHCR has estimated that about 10 percent of refugees in neighboring countries are "acutely vulnerable" and need resettlement elsewhere. Peteet said the accelerating efforts reflect the realization that the war is "going to go on for years" and the prospect of returning home soon isn't likely.

    The war began in 2011 with protests amid the Arab Spring uprisings. A crackdown by Assad led to an armed conflict with rebels that spiraled into war that included bombings of residential areas and, at one point, the use of chemical weapons.
    With ISIS now controlling part of the country, more than 190,000 people have died in the war. U.S. military advisers are being sent to train moderate Syrian rebels who might oppose ISIS.

    Meanwhile, Bartlett stressed that the U.S. continues to help Syrian war refugees where they are, since most hope to return to their homes. The U.S. remains the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the refugee crisis, totaling more than $3 billion since 2011.

    For ways to help Syrians or other refugees being resettled by Kentucky Refugee Ministries, visit them online at
    Top five refugee nationalities by number resettled in Kentucky from Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2015.
    1. Myanmar: 1,530
    2. Bhutan: 1,209
    3. Iraq: 1,113
    4. Somalia: 941
    5. Democratic Republic of Congo: 636
    Source: U.S. Department of State

  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Oh my God, STOP THE MADNESS! Pass a moratorium on all immigration until this travesty is fixed. This is madness! The acts of deranged traitors on the take with the cartels. You can't fix a water pipe while the water is running. SHUT IT OFF. SHUT THIS NONSENSE DOWN TODAY!
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  3. #3
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Gheen, Minnesota, United States
    The people of Kentucky and North Carolina do not want refugees from the Middle East brought here. Europe does not want them either!

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Gheen, Minnesota, United States
    How many millions of Muslim refugees are they going to use taxpayer money to move into America where we have not jobs for them just the socialist state services?

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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