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Local Refugee Resettlement Agencies Await Clarification

Since the Supreme Court ruled last week that, with some exceptions, President Trump’s travel ban could take effect, refugee resettlement agencies have been feeling a bit unsettled.  

Todd Reckling, Vice President of Program for Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, says they are awaiting clarification on two aspects of the ruling. Firstly, which family members will be considered acceptable as “bona fide” relationships; and secondly, what organizations are legitimate “entities” to have a connection with in this country. 

Reckling says 90% or more of the refugees LFS Nebraska places have a family member here.  He also says those they place have been extensively screened and have usually been waiting for years. 

“It’s not the people sometimes we see on media that are in the boats or trying to cross borders.  The true refugee resettlement program is a very deliberate and very screened and vetted process. There are five federal agencies involved in that screening process. There are interviews, background criminal checks, records checks and medical checks. Many of the refugees, on average, have spent years and years and years in a refugee camp.”

Reckling says LFS Nebraska is the largest of the three resettlement agencies in the state, and that last year they resettled 1,020 refugees, with around 22% of them  from one of the six countries on the President’s ban.

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