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Refugee Empowerment Center Interim Director Responds To President Trump's Immigration Restrictions

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Last week, when Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts expressed support of President Trump’s immigration ban, he encouraged Nebraskans concerned about it to get involved with one of the state’s three resettlement agencies. 

One of these is the Refugee Empowerment Center in Omaha. Interim Executive Director, Kathy Bigsby Moore, says the organization has been helping refugees become self-sufficient through direct services and educational programs for around 20 years. She says last year they received 383 refugees, and she wishes the public was more comfortable with the current vetting process, which she calls “very thorough and exhaustive.”

“Most or all of these refugees have been through three to six interviews, they have had significant background checks and checks of family members and friendships and activities. Many of them have been in camps for up to 10 years. So, these are not people who would be in a situation where they would have access to ISIS or other groups, or ISIS would have access to them."

Bigsby Moore says they have received many offers of help from the Omaha community and that their greatest need right now is for financial support. She says some of their staff  -- many of whom were refugees themselves -- are at risk of losing their jobs if they stop receiving refugees.  However, she says they will try to find meaningful ways to help for everyone who wants to get involved.

For more information, the website is refugeeempowerment.org