Refugee resettlement office closing in Columbus amid Trump’s executive order

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A non-profit that helps resettle refugees and offers humanitarian aid is shutting down after five years in Columbus.

It’s one of five World Relief offices nationwide that is closing its doors.

World Relief Columbus is closing on July 15th. It’s a direct result of President Trump’s executive order, which reduces the amount of refugees allowed into the United States from 110,000 people per fiscal year to 50,000 people.

Director of World Relief Columbus Kay Lipovski said it drastically cuts their funding, forcing them to close.

“This a humanitarian effort that we’re apart of and to see that go by the wayside and see people sent back to dangerous, dangerous conditions or back to a refugee camp because now they can’t travel here and not see families re-unified is very distressing,” she said. “People don’t know when if ever that they will see their other family members again.”

Mustafa Albuzayd works for World Relief Columbus and is sad to see the office close.

“For me it’s more than just a job,” he said. “I wake up happy because it’s another day that you’re going to be able to help people to make their lives better.”

But, time is running out for Albuzayd to help those in need.

“A lot of people are not going to be re-unified with their families and relatives just because of this order that Trump made,” he said.

He’s a case worker and is a refugee himself.

“It is terrifying… when you leave home you’re not sure you’re going to come back alive,” said Albuzayd, recalling his life back in Iraq.

He fled from Baghdad after his life was threatened.

“My parents called me they told me this happened and you have to leave, you can’t just stay here,” said Albuzayd. “I didn’t even go home to say goodbye to my parents. I just left.”

It took him nearly four years to be resettled in the United States. Now, he’s passionate about helping other refugees do the same.

“I know a lot of people are suffering,” said Albuzayd. “They just want some where to go to.”

Lipovski said this is a devastating loss for refugees.

“We have always welcomed refugees. It’s always been a part of the value system of the United States,” she said. “They are fleeing from terrorism and persecution themselves.”

Her full and part-time staff of eight will have to find new jobs.

“God says to love the stranger. He doesn’t define it as your next door neighbor or as people who are here,” she said. “It’s any person who is need, any person who is a stranger and why are we defining this so narrowly now to our own country?”

There are two other refugee resettlement offices in the area: CRIS or Community Refugee & Immigration Services and Us Together.

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