US Ambassador to UN, Thomas-Greenfield, Meets IOM Supported Refugees Resettling to the US
Nairobi – The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has met with refugees from East and Horn of Africa, who are being resettled to the United States, with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), under the United States Refugees Admissions Program (USRAP). The Ambassador met with the refugees at the offices of IOM in Nairobi, Kenya, during a trip to the region, where she also announced the expansion of the US refugee resettlement programme.
The refugees, 12 in total, from South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all been displaced in Kenya for years and have been waiting for the opportunity to be resettled, some for many years. Under the USRAP, refugees have been supported with case processing, medical and health assessments, cultural orientation, and travel arrangements.
24-year-old Peter Kaman is one of the refugees being resettled. He fled violence in his homeland South Sudan in 2015, after his father was killed. He lost contact with his mother and four siblings and is traveling alone.
“I’m very excited. Now I can dare to dream. Life has always been very hard. When I get to the US, I want to study law.”
Yared Amare is being resettled too. He’s been a refugee in Kenya for 9 years, after fleeing persecution in Ethiopia. He applied for resettlement to the US to improve his life, and to help support his family back home, he says. His mother moved to the US some years ago, and he’s looking forward to being reunited with her.
“I am really happy travelling and moving to the US. I hope in the US if I work hard, I will be able to get job opportunities that I have not been able to previously and bring the rest of my family over from Ethiopia.”
IOM in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Church World Services, a faith-based organization, and other resettlement partners have helped to resettle over 132,237 refugees from East and Horn of Africa since 2019. Since 1990 IOM and its partners have supported the resettlement of over 325,000 refugees from across Africa through USRAP.
Following on from the meeting with refugees, the Ambassador made these remarks.
“I met with refugees and had the opportunity to talk to them about their future journeys to the United States. There was a seven-year-old among those who are being processed, with her parents, and I told her that she was going to make a difference. They are all fleeing persecution and violence. And I could hear and see on their faces the relief that they were finally headed to the United States to forge a new life and to find a new home,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also announced the launch of Welcome Corps, a new Department of State program to empower everyday Americans to sponsor and welcome refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This new, innovative program allows private citizens to support the resettlement of refugees as they begin to build their new lives in the United States.
Resettling refugees remains an important component of the work of IOM in its support for displaced people in the region.
“Tens of thousands of families in the resettlement pipeline in Africa have waited many years to depart. We are hopeful that the invigoration of the USRAP program through the Welcome Corps can help to clear this backlog and provide resolution to families that have waited years for resettlement,” noted Justin MacDermott, IOM Deputy Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.
The expansion of resettlement opportunities for the displaced is increasing. There are more than 4.9 million refugees in the region as of June 2022. Increased displacement is being brought on by violence, conflict and instability, and now a worsening drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, leaving many to flee their homes. More than 120,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Dadaab refugee camp in 2023 alone.
For more media enquiries and information, please contact:
Yvonne Ndege, Regional Spokesperson, the International Organization for Migration, East and Horn of Africa Regional Office, Nairobi: Tel +254797735977, Email firstname.lastname@example.org