News / USA

Refugees Waiting Overseas Are in Limbo as U.S. Shutdown Continues

Refugees Waiting Overseas in Limbo as US Shutdown Continuesi
X
October 12, 2013 4:27 AM
The U.S. government shutdown has temporarily frozen resettlement of refugees in some parts of the United States. Dozens from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who hoped to arrive in the Midwest state of Missouri in October are in limbo abroad. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from St. Louis, family members anxiously awaiting their arrival fear the longer the shutdown goes on, the less likely they will reach their destination.

Refugees Waiting Overseas Are in Limbo as U.S. Shutdown Continues

Kane Farabaugh
— The U.S. government shutdown has temporarily frozen resettlement of refugees in some parts of the United States. Dozens from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who hoped to arrive in the Midwest state of Missouri in October are in limbo abroad. Family members anxiously awaiting their arrival fear the longer the shutdown goes on, the less likely they will reach their destination.

When Man Subba arrived in St. Louis last year, it was the final stop on his flight from Bhutan that began more than a decade earlier.

“It was a hard life,” said Subba.

A life spent mostly in a refugee camp in Nepal, where he lived with his parents and siblings. They belong to an ethnic minority that was politically persecuted in Bhutan.

Now, his family has resettled in the United States - all except his parents. They are currently in a transition center in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

They were scheduled to leave for the United States on October 8, but because money for their travel is mostly funded by the U.S. government, those funds are not available while the government is closed.

“This is having some kind of psychological effect on them. And they are saying this time, 'The flight is cancelled. We won’t be coming to America,'” said Subba.

“This is not healthy for our country," said Suzanne LeLaurin, senior vice president at the International Institute, the non-profit group providing the travel funds for Subba’s parents and 34 more refugees - from Iraq, Somalia, Cuba, Burma, and Eritrea. Now, all are in limbo. "It’s not healthy for our reputation around the world, and I think that all of us would wish that Republicans and Democrats alike would sit down and come to an agreement and get the government back in business.”

“We get most of our funding from the federal government, maybe 60 to 70 percent, mostly because of our refugee resettlement services,” said LeLaurin.

She said more is at stake than just resettlement. The support system that helps refugees once they arrive in the U.S. also depends on federal funds. Everything from rent, utilities, and food to staffing the International Institute is at risk as the shutdown continues.

Subba said, for his parents, time is of the essence. If they don’t leave soon, their medical clearance will expire and they will be sent back to the refugee camp in Nepal, and the prospects of getting to the U.S. will diminish. “It is a problem of the government, but it’s having a kind of effect on ordinary people like us.”

They are ordinary people who have dealt with extraordinary circumstances in the hope they might one day reach U.S. shores. For Subba's parents, it's a prospect so close, but because of the gridlock, now further away.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid