Delaware Public Media

Uncertain future for refugees due to arrive in Delaware

Feb 20, 2017

A Pakistani refugee family reached the First State safely on Friday – but they could be the last refugees to settle in Delaware for months, and maybe even this year.

 

The State Department has announced it plans to slow the number of weekly refugees entering the U.S.

Three refugee families – from Ukraine, Syria and Pakistan – have settled in Delaware since January, but there are no travel plans yet for several other families due to resettle in the state this year.

Sarah Green is with Jewish Family Services of Delaware. She says she’s heard from HIAS that the status of those families is still unclear.

“As of right now they’re not booking anyone else until the third quarter because they haven’t found out from PRM what their allotment will be for the third quarter," Green said.

Bill Swersey is with HIAS, the national resettlement agency working to resettle refugees in Delaware.

He says PRM - the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration - has still yet to sign off on travel plans for refugee families due to enter the U.S. now through the end of September.

“We are ready, willing and able to resettle whoever is sent our way, but if they’re not sending anybody, then that’s that," Swersey said.

A state department spokesperson says 35,000 refugees have already been resettled in the U.S. in the current fiscal year. That means no more than 15,000 refugees will be allowed into the U.S. before September 30th.

However, the ACLU is representing HIAS and others in a lawsuit against Trump – alleging Trump’s entire executive order is unlawful and invalid, including his 50,000 cap on refugees.