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Cap on Refugees From Africa Leading to ‘Hidden Family Separation’ in Kentucky

Becca Schimmel

Refugees from Africa who were hoping to be reunited with their family in Kentucky may have to wait a few more years.

That's becuse the federal cap for resettling people from Africa has already been met.

Once the cap on refugees coming to America from specific parts of the world is met, travel plans are canceled, and it could be years before they get another chance to apply for the program.


The documents needed for resettlement have a short expiration window, and if one document expires, the whole process has to be restarted.  


Albert Mbanfu is the Executive Director of the International Center of Kentucky. 


“Many of the refugees who resettle have families here in Bowling Green. So it is a kind of hidden family separation as I may say because right now the families cannot be together,” he said.  


Maria Koerner. the Assistant Director of the Kentucky Office of Refugees, said a Congolese couple that was resettled recently in Louisville found out their adult children, who were supposed to arrive at the end of September, had their travel plans canceled. 


“There really is no way to explain it, so it was heartbreaking. And it’s hard to go on as normal doing their normal orientation, we’re trying to get your ready to go to work and you need to take English classes when this mother is realizing I might not ever see my child again,” she said.  


The Trump administration recently announced it plans to reduce the cap on all refugee resettlement by 12,000. 

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