Appleton panel talks refugee resettlement in the Fox Valley

Local News

This year the United States will see the fewest number of refugees resettle here than it has in years past.

President Trump set the total number of refugees allowed in the country at 18,000 for this year and some cities in our area are concerned.

At the start of 2019, 100 refugees from Congo resettled in Appleton.

But organizations like World Relief Fox Valley say because of the current administration’s cutbacks they haven’t helped resettle one refugee since the start of their fiscal year on October 1 last year.

World Relief says lately they’ve gotten more requests from employers for refugees and they have been vital to the economy.

“We know Wisconsin is a phenomenal state, but we also know our population is aging, we know more people are moving out than moving in,” says Tami McLaughlin, director for World Relief Fox Valley. “And we know that unemployment is very low and employees need workers and refugees are great workers.”

The League of Women Voters was responsible for the refugee resettlement panel Thursday night.

A Congolese refugee shared his story of survival while the Appleton Police Department talked about how they work with newly resettled folks.

The League highlighted the reasons why we should welcome more refugee populations.

“They are here because of war, because of conflict in their home,” says Jeanne Roberts, president of the League of Women Voters. “They don’t want to come here, they’re forced here because of the violence in their homes. They have been through amazing, significant trauma.”

Different from years past, World Relief says most refugees who have come to the Fox Cities since 2017 are joining family members already residing and working in the area.

McLaughlin says their work here is invaluable and shouldn’t be limited.

“They’re developing churches in our area, they’re being employed in our schools and our government,” she says. “And all around we just feel like it’s a great addition, it makes our community richer and better because of them.”

To volunteer with World Relief Fox Valley’s refugee resettlement services or find ways to help click here.

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