Refugees

Figuring out America’s healthcare system can be hard for anyone. It can be especially challenging for refugees, who often face significant language and cultural barriers. But one group is trying to bridge that gap by training refugees as health navigators in their own communities.


Updated 8:38 p.m. ET

President Trump has ordered that the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. in the coming year be cut nearly in half to 18,000, down from the administration's previous refugee ceiling of 30,000.

The limit represents the lowest number of refugees seeking protection from violence or political persecution allowed into the country since the modern refugee program was established in 1980.

Refugees welcome
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

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

Kazito Kalima was 14 at the start of the Rwandan genocide. Over just a few months in 1994, hundreds of thousands of Tutsi people in his country were killed, including most of his family.

At a pediatric clinic in Kirksville, Mo., a young boy is waiting in an exam room to be vaccinated. A nurse explains the shots to his mother, and Lisette Chibanvunya translates.

Distribution Center, Brownsburg, IN
HomeGoods / TJX website

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, April 1: 

Last weekend's mass shooting in Pittsbugh loomed large over a conference about refugee resettlement held in Columbus on Tuesday.

Refugees in church basement in Cleveland
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

Akron is taking its first look at a resolution opposing a citizenship question the Trump administration plans to incorporate into the next Census. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the controversy that arose during today’s City Council committee meetings.

Bhutanese refugee
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Both of Summit County’s resettlement agencies are likely to survive the Trump administration’s latest restructuring of refugee efforts nationwide. But they’re also dealing with major changes in numbers, policy and expectations. 

World Relief’s Anna Beth Walters is conducting orientation with Bhakta Bista and three other Bhutanese refugees who arrived in Akron from Nepal in December.

“’I will take the first job. It’s not my ideal job,'" she says. "It’s the attitude we need everyone to have. Because your first job in America is not going to be your dream job…”

Elaine Woloshyn and Amber Subba
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Elaine Woloshyn, the granddaughter of Ukrainian immigrants who headed the agency that brought thousands of immigrants and refugees from around the world to Akron, died on Christmas morning. 

Woloshyn headed the International Institute of Akron for four years, following nearly three decades with other nonprofits and government organizations.

Refugees in church basement in Cleveland
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

Refugees in Cuyahoga County had an $88 million economic impact in 2016. That's according to a new study that also shows they’re more likely to have jobs and less likely to be on public assistance than the U.S.-born population and than refugees nationally. 

Liz Walters
WKSU

The impact of President Donald Trump’s new executive order regarding immigrants and refugees will be felt in northeast Ohio.  And it appears that will be especially so for local resettlement groups. 

One of the best known and most active refugee resettlement organizations in the region is the International Institute in Akron.

Refugee resettlement agencies around the nation are scrambling for money in the wake of President Trump's executive order halting all refugee resettlement for four months. The order is affecting resettlement in Cleveland. 

Two workers have been laid off from the local office of Catholic Charities, as the agency shifts to manage cuts to its government funding.

photo of Sherrod Brown
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown says some Republican colleagues are telling him they’re worried about the possible economic consequences of President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from anywhere and any traveler from seven Muslim-majority countries.  

Brown says he thinks there are enough concerned Republicans that if they were to vote publicly like they talk privately, there would be no support for the ban. 

Editor's note: This post includes a disturbing image.

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan says he’s had a lot of calls this week from constituents troubled by President Donald Trump’s order temporarily banning all refugees and banning most travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that Ryan says the order fails on both humanitarian and practical levels.

photo of Hopkins protest
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Cleveland passed a resolution yesterday opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning from the U.S. all refugees, as well as immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries.               Could Cleveland now become a sanctuary city?          

Jawid Ahmadzai
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Early reports on the executive order President Donald Trump is expected to sign today do not include specific references to banning Muslim refugees. But it does drastically cut the number of refugees overall and puts special limits on those coming from Muslim countries. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with one recent Muslim refugee now settled in Akron about his experience and Trump’s proposal.

Bhutanese refugee
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

The International Institute of Akron has been resettling refugees for a hundred years and anticipated resettling a record 700 this year. But those plans are likely to change today, when President Donald Trump signs an executive order putting all refugees on hold for at least four months – and keeping out those from Syria indefinitely. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with the Institute’s Liz Walters about the impact of Trump’s act.

photo of Tika Dhimal
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

A new study looks at the impact of Akron’s influx of immigrants since the turn-of-the-millennium.

The report shows that Akron’s population decline has been slowed with the arrival of more than 2,000 immigrants in the city between the year 2000 and 2013.

Photo of Donna Skoda
YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT / WEWS-TV, CLEVELAND

Summit County Public Health and the International Community Health Center are partnering with Akron’s North High School to open a school-based health care clinic.

The school is in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, which is home to a growing number of refugees. Many of the people in that area don’t have access to routine health services, such as check-ups.