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After Ban, Dayton Refugee Resettlement Agency Shifts Focus

Nearly one week after President Trump's executive order banning refugees from the United States for 120 days, Dayton's refugee resettlement agency has had to shift its priorities.

The agency was slated to resettle more than 60 refugees in the next 4 months, but those plans are now on hold following President Donald Trump’s freeze on refugee resettlement. Trump says the order’s purpose is to give the government time to reassess their vetting system.

The move was disappointing to Laura Roesch, the CEO of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, who has worked in social services for more than 20 years. She says the vetting process for refugees is already extensive.

“It’s very thorough, and it takes years. It is the most difficult way to get into the country.”

Roesch says the agency will spend the next four months focusing on resettling the refugee population that is already in Dayton. But, she says they’re still worried about those whose plans are now on hold.

“On a human level we feel for people who are in unsafe situations where they’re waiting for resettlement they’ve been approved to go, and with this pause of 120 days, they’re still in the same unsafe circumstances so if a person is living in world where they’ve persecuted, or there’s a war, or there’s ethnic cleansing – if they’re still there, they’re living in these fearful conditions. And that’s painful for us to think about.”

This isn’t the first time the United States has suspended refugee resettlement. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, refugees were not permitted to enter the country for three months.