SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – One full week in the oval office, and there have already been a blizzard of executive orders signed. One of the most recent orders President Trump signed this evening has serious implications for an Upstate organization aimed at welcoming refugees into South Carolina.
World Relief in Spartanburg helps settle refugees in the Upstate, but the new order halts that process. It stops refugees from coming into the country for four months. After that, it caps the number coming in at 50,000. Under President Obama, the cap was 110,000 refugees.
“They’ve come to the United States looking for safety and security,” said Kerry Dodson, the Spartanburg Office Director for World Relief.
However, for thousands, refuge in America won’t be possible for a while.
“Many of these families will continue to be separated during a time that has already been traumatic for them,” Dodson said.
The World Relief in Spartanburg is one of 26 offices in the country. Nationally, 30,000 refugees have already settled in the country this year. Seventy-six of those people are in the Upstate. Last year, the office in Spartanburg resettled 128 people. Dodson says the majority of their refugees are from the Ukraine, The Congo, and Burma. The organization helps the people reunite with their families after being torn apart often by war and violence.
“They’re coming from situations where they’ve been driven out from their homes, from everything they’ve known, from their family, friends,” Dodson said.
The non-profit works to get families back together , so the executive order called “Protection of the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” halting and capping resettlement means keeping families apart for even longer.
Trump says there will be stricter vetting procedures. But, it wasn’t clear what those would be.
World Relief says all of the refugees they’ve placed are in the country legally.
7News talked to some refugees who say they’ve been praying for their families still in their violence-riddled home country.
World Relief says they understand security concerns but do want to work with the administration.
“We do not believe that compassion and security are mutually exclusive,” Dodson said.
While the number of people they help will change, they say there’s still work to be done.
“We are committed to continuing to minister to the refugees that are here in our community,” Dodson said.
Dodson says all refugees in refugee camps are vetted heavily before even being assigned to a new country.