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Local refugee advocates urge Trump administration to refrain from considering shutting down refugee admissions

Posted at 11:25 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 23:25:54-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Trump administration is considering slashing refugee admissions in the next fiscal year down to zero.

This despite the recommendation from some government officials in Washington that the number be between 3,000 and 10,000.

On Monday the administration announced it will move to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants. According to Politico, refugee admissions were cut by a third this year, to 30,000.

Peter Gakuru resettled in the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He's waiting for his family members to join him, and is worried about the future of refugee admissions.

"That would be so difficult. But if they would just make it better, if they allow them to come into America that would be so better," he said.

Gakuru works as an interpreter and a Tim Hortons team member, and is pursuing a degree in computer sciences. He said he was excited about coming to America to learn things he couldn't learn in his home country.

Kham Sanz came to the US from Burma in 2008 for freedom, economic opportunities, school and health care. He said he's upset by possibly decreasing the number of refugees next year.

"It means we are cutting off a tree from the root, so it's like it can never grow," he said.

Buffalo Council member Dave Rivera is worried that the possible actions in Washington could have damaging impacts... not just on individuals... but on the entire fabric of the buffalo community.

"We have seen thousands of refugees and immigrants, new Americans come into our city, start up businesses, create jobs. Our classrooms are full of culture," said Rivera.

"Refugees are a change. They bring new culture, new ideas, they bring diversity. And as we embrace those we become stronger together," said Dr. Molly Carr, President & CEO of Jewish Family Services.

According to a local consortium of refugee advocates, there are more than 35,000 people who are going through the refugee approval process right now.

These advocates are concerned about what the future holds for them.