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Afghan Resettlement in US Mirrors Earlier Efforts for Refugees

More than 120,000 Afghans are being resettled in the United States. A similar number of Vietnamese were resettled here after the U.S. war in Vietnam. Although many experts are criticizing the chaotic start of the resettlement effort, they see it as an opportunity to make the U.S. more diverse. VOA’s Laurel Bowman has our story.
Camera: Mike Burke

Human Stories From Both Sides of the Border

With tens of thousands of immigrants who want to enter the U.S. waiting for their asylum cases to be heard, thousands more still wait to have that chance. Here are two stories from different parts of the U.S. southern border. VOA’s Celia Mendoza reports from El Paso, Texas.

Migrants Detained at US Border Say Desperation Drives Them

Huge numbers of unaccompanied minors and family units continue trying to cross the U.S. southern border with Mexico where they are detained by the U.S. Border Patrol. VOA reporter Celia Mendoza spoke with some of those detained to learn why they decided to risk their lives on such a dangerous journey.

Small US Border Town Attracting Attention in Immigration Debate

The small town of Donna, near the Texas-Mexico border, is receiving media attention in the recent immigration debate because it’s also where many  migrant children and families are being processed. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee shows how the attention has affected the town’s residents. Camera: Christian von Preysing  Produced by: Elizabeth Lee 

Changes to US Immigration Policy Triggers Migrant Inflow

Since the deactivation of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol Program, also known as the 'Remain in Mexico' policy, thousands of asylum seekers have been able to enter the U.S. to present their cases. Meantime, thousands of others have arrived at the border also hoping to gain entry, as Celia Mendoza reports from El Paso, Texas.

US House Passes Dreamers, Farmworker Legalization

U.S. House lawmakers on Thursday passed two key elements of President Joe Biden's ambitious immigration agenda. But as VOA's congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson reports, the nation’s larger immigration debate remains unresolved.Produced by: Katherine Gypson

Haitians Face Violence, Political Unrest at Home, Deportations in US

It is not just people from Latin America who are making the dangerous journey to the US border. Haitians and asylum-seekers from Africa are also trying to enter the US, oftentimes undergoing an even more treacherous trip. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has the details.
Camera: Roy Kim    Producer: Elizabeth Lee

Biden’s Higher Refugee Cap Will Boost Resettlement in US — Eventually

President Joe Biden’s first month in office has seen a flurry of executive orders reshaping U.S. immigration policy, including a rebooting and expansion of America’s refugee program.But experts and resettlement groups tell VOA it will take time and resources to reverse the Trump administration’s cutbacks in refugee resettlement that pared admissions to their lowest levels in decades.
Starting in October, the United States is set to welcome up to 125,000 refugees a year, up from a 15,000 limit at the end of the Trump administration. The announcement could change the lives of people like Abdirizak Noor Ibrahim.
Originally from Somalia, Ibrahim fled war-torn Mogadishu in 2004 and became a refugee in Nairobi, Kenya. He and his family were approved to travel to the U.S. for resettlement in early 2017, just as Donald Trump launched his presidency and signed proclamations restricting travel from several majority Muslim countries, including Somalia.
“When I heard that people like me and other Muslims were banned from entering the U.S., I felt so bad, and I was heartbroken. But nothing I could do about it,” Ibrahim told VOA. “It was a decision that was beyond me. So, since then, I stayed here. But now, I am so hopeful since there is a change of administrations, I will be accepted and taken to the country.”
While some proponents of Trump’s restrictive immigration policies have expressed wariness over Biden’s announcement expanding refugee resettlements, refugee advocates say his goals cannot be reached by simply raising the admissions cap.
Christopher Boian, senior communications officer at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said another monumental hurdle to helping refugees is the coronavirus.
“There will be a number of challenges, including on the funding level, on the staffing level, on just getting these processes up and going again. But arguably the biggest, or one of the biggest, challenges at the moment to getting that program back to the robust levels that the U.S. administration has said it would like to see is the COVID pandemic,” he said.Time to rebuildFaith-based groups that assist the U.S. government in its refugee resettlement program said rebuilding the program will not happen overnight.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), said LIRS has begun rebuilding at the local level.“So, that is rehiring staff that were lost over the last four years because of firings and furloughs. Part of it is working with local, state and federal governments to renew ...

'Alien': How a Word Can Hurt

Immigrants are referred to as “aliens” in U.S. laws, but the term, seen by many as derogatory, could be replaced soon. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias spoke to those in favor and against the proposed change.

Biden Expect to Change Key Immigration Policies

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to swiftly reverse some of President Donald Trump’s most contentious immigration policies when he takes office.  VOA immigration reporter Aline Barros looks at Biden’s plan to act on policies affecting refugees, asylum seekers, and DACA recipients.
Producers: Mary Cieslak and Henry Hernandez

38 episodes

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