An Afghan family of six arrived in Ithaca last week to warm food and helpful volunteers.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs / City Editor

An Afghan family of six arrived in Ithaca last week to warm food and helpful volunteers.

January 31, 2017

Refugees Scheduled to Arrive in Ithaca Now in Jeopardy After Trump’s Executive Order

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Three refugee families from Syria and Afghanistan that had been approved to relocate to Ithaca are in limbo after President Donald Trump’s executive order halted all refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely suspended the admission of refugees from Syria, a local charity said Monday.

Renee Spear, executive director of Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga, said the charity had planned to bring up to a dozen refugee families to Ithaca this year and that Trump’s “unconscionable” executive order should be immediately rescinded.

“We are heartbroken for these parents and their children who had come so close to escaping the misery and precariousness of their life situation,” Spear said in a statement.

Sue Chaffee, Director of Immigrant Services Program, told The Sun that the charity had already accepted a vetted family of six from Afghanistan and two families from Syria. The new executive order puts an indefinite hold on the Syrian families, who are currently in refugee settlement camps in Jordan, Chaffee said, and at least a 120-day hold on the family of six in Afghanistan.

“Of course we are worried about the safety and well-being for the families we were hoping to resettle,” Chaffee said. “It’s troubling that this executive order pretty much stops everything that has been put into motion that would have brought them to a safe environment; instead it just creates more upheaval and havoc in their lives.”

The executive order, signed by Trump on Friday afternoon, has sparked protests throughout the country — from Syracuse to Seattle to Miami — after hundreds were detained flying into the U.S.

A Cornell alumnus and lawyer in Seattle, Joe Shaeffer ’92, was part of a team of seven lawyers who successfully petitioned for the release of two men from Sudan and Yemen who had been held at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, The Sun previously reported.

Catholic Charities had planned to bring up to 50 refugees to Ithaca under a U.S. Department of State grant that provides the charity with $2,025 for each refugee it relocates, much of which goes directly to the families to cover costs like rent.

Chaffee told The Sun earlier this month that she was excited to welcome the first family from Afghanistan and the charity was hopeful they would arrive in February at the latest.

Now, the charity’s immediate plans have been scrapped as its directors work to understand the full impact of Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which also bans citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

“We continue to await more specific details on the executive order before we can make any announcements on our program and when we will be receiving refugee families,” Chaffee said. “We do know that we are committed to the mission of bringing refugees to the Ithaca area.”

Spear asked community members to voice their opposition to the travel ban by calling their representatives and advocating “for compassionate welcome for people fleeing war and violence.”

Prof. Stephen Yale-Loehr, law, decried Trump’s order in an interview with CNN on Sunday, saying that although it seems “egregiously unconstitutional,” courts often defer to the president on immigration matters.

16 thoughts on “Refugees Scheduled to Arrive in Ithaca Now in Jeopardy After Trump’s Executive Order

  1. These people sound like their application for adopting a dog from the pound was declined … can’t you find any Americans in need of assistance? Disgusting.

    • Goldberger….hmmm…sounds like your family came from Germany or Poland. Someone allowed them into the U.S. Disgusting, considering your current attitude. I almost wish that the U.S. government had helped real Americans instead of your immigrant ancestors.

      • Jamie that might be so, but was his family given, Welfare, housing, medical and food stamps? If you can’t see the difference in your comparison then I feel sorry for you.

  2. We’ll find a lot more Americans in need of assistance under this administration and we’ll be as glad to assist.

    Leviticus 19:34
    Hebrews 13: 1
    Matthew 25: 35

    • Would have been glad to. I mean, that’s exactly what this program was all about, it was a charity.
      Now anybody who wanted to help, privately, personally, cannot, and those who have already suffered will be punished further.

      • Charity? If you are taking tax payers money it’s not charity it’s welfare. HUGE difference.

        If the Catholic charity wants to house, feed, pay their medical and teach them English then that’s great. More power to them but you and I both know these people will be put on PUBLIC welfare. I pay into that just like you and I do not want my portion of this money used this way until there are ZERO Americans in need.

  3. Gotta love how this “nonprofit” pockets $1k/head only to release 50 unskilled, non-english speakers onto the city of Ithaca. You really think these refugees can survive on $1k total? Guess what’s gonna end up happening, these poor individuals are gonna run through their $1k (wouldn’t be surprised if they net even less than that) and resort to welfare programs for the basics. Shame on this “charity”.

    • If everyone in Ithaca thought as negatively about them as you do, they would undoubtedly have a very hard time. Fortunately there are plenty of people here who will help them get off to a good start and become productive citizens. If they are allowed to enter the country.

      • 1) Do you agree this charity should pocket $1k/head?
        2) Going to assume you’re a student. Do you by chance work and pay taxes thru which these “refugees” will in all likelihood tap into?
        3) I was not criticizing the refugees, I was simply restating that the only “winners” here is the charity that’s stuffing it’s pockets on the backs of these poor individuals and my, tax paying, one.

      • How are they going to help them? How are you going to personally help them? David is 100% correct. They will be just another mouth(s) on the welfare system.

        I’m sorry I’d rather spend that money helping the kids standing in front of Wegman’s strung out on Heroine first.

    • Totally agree. Why fly them 1/2 around the world when rich oil nations that practice Islam and speak their language aren’t taking in ANY of them?

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