Families fear in shadow of immigration reform

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Executive orders anticipated later this week from President Trump have local immigrants and refugee advocates concerned about their future.

As early as Thursday, Trump is expected to pause the flow of all refugees to the United States and indefinitely bar those fleeing war-torn Syria. Local families and refugee advocates are worried about what’s to come.

“My dad, who is very old, like 85 years old, is in Kenya,” said Columbus-resident Hassan Omar.

Omar is from Somalia and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen. He spent 16 years at the Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya, where his father is now.

“We are now very much hoping, maybe before summer, for my mother-in-law to come here,” he said. “All that hope now is gone.”

Omar has been waiting over a decade to reunite with his family and now is worried that day may never come with President Trump in office.

“They only survive by the will of God and whatever we send on a monthly basis from here,” he said.

“We’re supposed to be unity together forever, now you’re seeing policy coming in and dividing communities,” said Burhan Ahmed, director of the Center for Somali-American Engagement.

It’s a similar story for countless others who trying to escape war abroad.

“The president continues to believe that immigrants, and refugees especially, are a special security risk to this country,” said Romin Iqbal, legal director for CAIR Ohio. “We know that these are people who are vetted in the extreme.”

Iqbal likens today’s refugee crisis to World War II when some Jewish refugees were also turned away by the U.S.

“These refugees are, as I said, one of the most vulnerable populations on the planet and they have nowhere else to go,” he said. “They need our help.”

The President’s upcoming order is expected to suspend issuing visas for people from Muslim countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 30 days.

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