For people working to bring Syrian refugees to the United States, President Trump’s executive order is throwing those plans into chaos.
In Hamden, Connecticut, a suburb outside of New Haven, a community group and church had learned last Wednesday they’d been assigned a Syrian family by a local resettlement agency. The grandmother, mother and teen-aged daughter are now in Jordan and have a relative in Connecticut.
“When we found out it was a family of three generations of women I couldn’t believe it. Coming off the weekend Women’s March and the sister marches, [it felt] like this family was destined for this project,” said volunteer Tracy Sheerin, one of the organizers of the Spring Glen Refugee Resettlement Alliance.
Megan Khan, who heads up the Alliance's fundraising, said things unfolded very quickly last week. The group had raised $10,000 in a few days, and “Wednesday night, we had a family, we pulled the trigger, we were in. And then Friday happened.”
Her fellow volunteer Michele O’Connell says news of the ban on Syrian refugees was devastating. “You’re just stunned, and you feel like, we’re so far, how can this be happening so quickly? Our family was scheduled to arrive on February 7th and we were ready to go.”
Over the weekend, the organizers posted a message to their supporters on Facebook, telling them they didn’t know the status of the family or whether the three women would ever be able to make the trip to New Haven. “We know the chances are slim, but not impossible.”