Refugee organizations in Pa. put together to soak up refugees from Ukraine

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Refugee organizations right here in Pennsylvania are getting ready for a flood of immigrants from war-torn Ukraine.

To this point, greater than 4 million refugees have fled the nation, based on the Related Press, and greater than 6.5 million are displaced inside Ukraine itself. Final week President Joe Biden introduced the U.S. would take as much as 100,000 of these refugees, however we spoke with a church in Allentown that works with refugees and mentioned it is not that easy.

A small room on the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, with worldwide flags and toys for the children, is the primary welcoming place many refugees see in the USA.

“We provide English lessons and citizenship lessons. After they arrive at our middle, it is about two weeks after they arrive to the nation, and they’re like a deer within the headlights,” mentioned Program Coordinator Megan Fox.

Fox mentioned that when she heard the President’s announcement final week, it made her nervous.

“It is a bit overwhelming to listen to that 100,000 refugees are coming from Ukraine, as a result of we’re nonetheless actively resettling Afghans,” mentioned Fox.

They’re nonetheless resettling them, as a result of the method takes a very long time.

“It takes months, two years usually. What are these individuals speculated to do whereas they’re ready for that?” mentioned Fox.

However immigration legal professional Ray Lahoud tells us there are methods to hurry it up.

“What the U.S. authorities can do although, and what they did in Afghanistan, when the circumstances actually turned extremely intense, they will create a course of that streamlines refugee functions. I do not foresee that occuring right here proper now as a result of what I see are loads of the European nations which can be surrounding Ukraine have been in a position, as of now, to deal with this inflow,” mentioned Lahoud.

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As soon as refugees get right here, Lahoud mentioned the federal government may put applications in place to help organizations just like the Episcopal Church of the Mediator.

“There are different nations which have opened up precise applications, like work visa applications, like Canada and the like for Ukraine. The U.S. is a bit behind the eight ball on that one, for no matter purpose it’s, whether or not it is safety and the like,” mentioned Lahoud.

Fox mentioned she hopes the U.S. takes steps like that to assist her and different advocates safely resettle households.

“Our authorities actually must step up and, it is one factor to say we’ll take them, we’ll rescue them, however we now have obtained to place techniques in place to really deal with them as soon as they arrive,” mentioned Fox.