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Leader of Bowling Green refugee resettlement agency doesn't anticipate many, if any, Ukrainian refugees

Lisa Autry

The Warren-County based International Center of Kentucky isn’t expecting to resettle Ukrainian refugees any time soon.

Albert Mbanfu, the center’s executive director, made the announcement on March 30, following President Biden’s recent remarks about allowing 100,000 Ukrainians to enter the United States.

The Kentucky legislature is considering a bill that would provide resettlement agencies funds to help bring in Ukrainian refugees and additional nationalities. Agencies could share around $50 million to help with resettlement.

Mbanfu also said Bowling Green residents are willing to welcome Ukrainian refugees in the community.

“The interest has just been through the roof," he said.

"We have been receiving calls back-to-back here in the Bowling Green office from people who really want to assist the Ukrainian refugees. But right now, we are not seeing the Ukrainians come the way we would like to see them.”

Despite the public support, Mbanfu said he's not expecting to see many Ukrainians refugees resettling in the area this year.

“Many of them do not want to be further away from Ukraine because they believe that they’ll have to go back and that they’ll go back very soon," he explained.

"So, we may not see many of them get into the process to come to the United States. Many will want to settle around Poland and Western Europe and stay there for a while with the hope of going back to their home country.”

Mbanfu said that resettling is usually a family decision.

Men ages 18 to 60 are required to stay Ukraine to fight in the ongoing war against Russia.

Former student intern Alana Watson rejoined WKU Public Radio in August 2020 as the Ohio Valley ReSource economics reporter. She transitioned to the station's All Things Considered Host in July of 2020 and became the student reporting and producing specialist in 2023. Watson has a B.A. in Broadcasting Journalism for Western Kentucky University and a M.A in Communications from Austin Peay State University. She is a Nashville native and has interned at WPLN-FM in Nashville. Watson was also a 2nd Century Fellow for Wisconsin Public Radio before rejoining WKU Public Radio. She has received numerous awards for her reporting.