Trump Considers Eliminating Refugee Program That's Boosted Akron

Sep 9, 2019

President Trump is expected to decide Tuesday whether to effectively eliminate a national refugee program credited with revitalizing Akron and other Midwestern cities. 

The Trump administration may end the decades-old program that has brought hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and persecution to the U.S. That includes thousands of Bhutanese refugees who came to Akron after spending decades in camps in Nepal.

Many settled in Akron’s North Hill, where 600 interfaith volunteers spent Sunday doing construction, landscaping, art and other projects. Josy Jones is overseeing transformation of an abandoned house into a center for women-refugee entrepreneurs. She said Trump’s policy could hurt not only the refugees, but their adopted communities.

“This neighborhood had a lot of homes that were vacant for a long time, and the refugee population coming in actually helped with getting people in those homes, to be living in them, it has revitalized the neighborhood.”

Trump may limit refugees to only special cases, such as Iraqis and Afghans who served with U.S. troops. He’s already reduced refugee numbers by two-thirds, leading to the closing of one of two Akron resettlement agencies, World Relief.