KTVB | World Relief Boise to close after Trump refugee order

BALTIMORE — World Relief says it is laying off more than 140 staffers after President Donald Trump’s executive order cut the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States.

The Baltimore-based non-profit that helps resettle refugees announced Wednesday that it also will close offices in Boise, Idaho; Glen Burnie, Maryland; Miami, Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee.

Trump’s executive order last month suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions program for 120 days. The number of refugees allowed in will be capped at 50,000 for 2017, down from 110,000.

CEO Tim Breene says World Relief’s efforts will continue and that the organization is redoubling efforts to help displaced people around the world. Officials are urging the Trump administration to “renew and reinvigorate efforts to work together with the global humanitarian community to meet this urgent crisis head on.”

“America is now less able to help those around the world who need our help the most,” Breene said in a statement.

The Boise office and other four to be shuttered have collectively resettled more than 25,000 refugees over the past 40 years, the organization said in a release.

Renee Hage, the divisional director, says the decision was not based off of performance or criteria, but was rather a strategic move.

“Look at narrowing our footprint so that that money had a greater impact in the offices that would remain,” Hage said.

The decision does not mean the office is closing today, but rather later on down the road.

“We’ll offer full services to our clients here for many more months here to come. Obviously, I’m going to be watching that tipping point if we’ve lost that capacity because maybe some of my staff needs to move on to another work. We all know eventually we’re closing this office,” Hage said.

The Boise office will choose a closing date between now and the end of September. However, Hage says their agency will stop resettling refugees here in Boise by the end of February.

“The numbers that comes to World Relief will be distributed to other World Relief offices. Those who have family here, those reunifications would come to Boise, just through the other agency,” Hage said.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in a statement the closures came as a blow to the employees who had worked to help refugees.

“It has been our great privilege to serve both local churches and resilient refugee and immigrant families in each of these communities,” he said.. “Our staff at each of these locations have served diligently and sacrificially—some of them for many years—and we are deeply saddened to have to make this difficult decision. These staff members are also experts whose vast experience has brought an effectiveness and professionalism to their work. This represents a loss of more than 140 jobs—which by itself is deeply troubling—but also decades of organizational expertise and invaluable capacity to serve the world’s most vulnerable people.”

World Relief, which partners with local churches, said in a press release the closures and layoffs came “as a direct result” of Trump’s decision to slash the number of refugees resettled in the U.S.

The organization says that anyone who wishes to contribute to the non-profit’s continued relief efforts in America and abroad can donate here.

Read more at World Relief Boise to close after Trump refugee order.