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Columbus Refugee Agency To Close Despite Court Challenges To Trump Immigration Order

Hundreds rallied in Dayton to protest President Donald Trump's executive order, which includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
Jess Mador/WYSO

The World Relief Columbus refugee-resettlement agency is set to close this summer due, agency officials say, to President Trump’s recent executive order in January limiting the number of refugees admitted to the United States.

The immigration order temporarily banned refugee migration to the U.S. and barred travel from seven majority Muslim countries. Those measures have since been halted by court action. But despite the ongoing court challenges, the order has already reduced the number of refugees that would be admitted to the U.S. in 2017 by about half, from 110,000 to 50,000. 

And that reduction, officials say, is behind World Relief Columbus' decision to close its doors in mid-July. It’s one of five World Relief centers closing nationwide. Many of those offices had already laid off employees following Trump’s order.

The Columbus office works to make refugees self-sufficient by providing access to social services, English classes, housing and medical care.  

In a statement, World Relief Columbus officials called the closure “heartbreaking.”

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, the only refugee resettlement agency in the Dayton area, has not announced plans to reduce employees.

However, Catholic Social Services USA has launched a fundraising campaign to help make up for losses. Officials with the national Catholic Social Services organization told the Associated Press that layoffs are possible.