The Warren County-based International Center of Kentucky is hoping to soon be able to resettle more refugees across the Bowling Green region now that President Biden has taken office.
Biden has adjusted the number of refugees allowed to settle in the U.S. this federal fiscal year to 62,000, according to the resettlement agency. That’s more than four-times the amount that were resettled under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
The International Center of Kentucky is expecting to resettle between 300-450 refugees during the fiscal year starting in October. That would be a significant increase from the 162 the agency resettled during the most recent federal fiscal year.
Albert Mbanfu, executive director of the refugee resettlement agency, said during a recent meeting that the agency was only able to recently that small number of refugees because of the damage that the Trump administration did to the infrastructure of the nation’s resettlement efforts.
According to Mbanfu, over 100 refugee resettlement organizations throughout the nation had to close their doors due to lack in funds. He also said that resettlement processing agencies overseas had to cut staff drastically.
“They will have to build up infrastructure back.” Mbanfu said. “There are so many things that will have to get in line to permit us to be able to resettle even the 62,000 that the Biden administration has set out.”
Mbanfu said the increase in refugees coming into the country is aspirational, and he is expecting the number set by the Biden administration to grow.
He hopes the increase will open an opportunity for the center to resettle refugees outside of Warren County.
“Probably when we start doing consultations sometime in May or June, we will be breaking down the numbers based on the counties that we think we may be able to resettle refugees,” Mbanfu said.
The agency would like to open another office in southern Kentucky, but won’t be able to do so until they resettle a significant number of refugees in an area at least 50 miles from Bowling Green.
The International Center of Kentucky is expect a large number of refugees coming to Bowling Green as early as late March.