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Local organization reacts to refugee cap increase

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - President Joe Biden is raising the refugee cap from the previous administration’s 15,000 to 62,500, and one local organization says it is thrilled that more people will be able to start a new life in America.

Church World Service (CWS) in Harrisonburg helps refugees get resettled.

“Parents are going to be able to raise their children in safety, it means more people are going to be able to escape war, conflict and violence. And it means that more people are going to have the opportunity to work hard to rebuild better lives for themselves in the United States,” Emily Bender with CWS said. “Raising the admissions goal is really a life-saving move.”

Bender says the last four years caused damage to refugees going through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

“Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted individuals allowed in, and once they do arrive, most refugees are working. We see people self-sufficient, people are contributing to the community, that’s within 2 to 5 months after they arrive,” Bender said.

Nasser Alsaadun, who arrived to the U.S. in 2008 and teaches Arabic at James Madison University, says he was happy with President Biden’s decision.

“We are actually thrilled with that news because we think that there are people in need of that opportunity as we had it,” Alsaadun said. “And we made it here, thankfully.”

Alsaadun says refugees have a lot of skills to offer to the U.S.

“U.S. is made of refugees and newcomers, so you see this great nation is getting the best in the world and the leader in the world because of that feature that you can’t find in any other country in the world,” Alsaadun said. “It’s actually a blessing, rather than something negative.”

Bender says CWS expects an increase in arrivals designated to their office. If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved with CWS, click here.

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